Photo by Tyler Nix

If you’re just getting starting in UX research, it can be difficult to get a bearing on who’s out there to give you guidance or inspiration. Here’s a short list of ten people I follow and keep up to date with because of their contributions to the field of UX or human-centered research.

Of course there are many, many more (please share!), but these are the people I’ve been following over the years, in my own very nerdy way 🤓:


Graffiti artist, book author, pizzeria co-owner, and brand extraordinaire, Andy talks about his big move to Switzerland and what it means to be a designer

Photo by Maree De Francesco

How did you get into design? Were you the kind of kid who scribbled in class all the time?

Yes, scribbling was my outlet — on desks, in notebooks, everywhere. But bikes were really my thing, I used to ride mountain and motocross bikes, and that was what I was mainly into. My tutors at the time told me I should consider designing bikes. …


Remembering what matters in product design

Photo by Jordan Rowland

What does it mean for a digital product to be nurturing? Can such a thing exist? While I don’t think the concept of “nurture” is a feature one can include in a list of product requirements, I do think a person’s experience can be designed for in a way that makes them feel like the product cares about them.

At a time when consumers’ mistrust in technology companies is at an all time high, it’s easy to think that many businesses have some nefarious intention with how they’ll use personal data, or that they don’t truly care about peoples’ well-being…


And the courage to find it

Photo by nrd

Adult life can be difficult. So many responsibilities thrown our way, so much to do day to day. But how do you still manage to carve out your own play space? But more than that, what is your playground in the first place?

I used to think a “playground” would be a particular room, a desk space, or even a cafe. Stephen King had his laundry room, Dani Shapiro has her library.

What I’ve discovered is that as an adult, my playground is not exactly a room, but rather an activity that helps my heart to grow. …


5 tips to discover your creative tribe

Photo by Jezael Melgoza

“You’re never gonna find out where you belong if you keep on walk’in away.” — Blanca, Pose

When is the right time to share work? I’ve struggled with this concept in the past, both as a designer and writer. Many blog posts and books have probably been written about this, I am sure. But nothing has resonated with me until I began asking myself: how present am I?

I’ve found the more work I show, the more present I feel. It’s like telling my small tribe of makers: “hey — I’m here!” And then following up with: “And where are…


Photo by Andy Kelly

What qualities does it take to be a good user researcher? Empathy, curiosity, active listening, (re)framing, persuasion, patience, experimental-mindset, neutrality, and tenacity. The ability to be comfortable both when the data are unclear and when one must make solid recommendations. The ability to suspend judgment, and to courageously serve as the voice of the user.

But aren’t these just qualities of being a good human? I think so.

A friend doesn’t call on your birthday? Wait to judge, perhaps they‘re having a crappy day. Your manager doesn’t agree with your argument? Reframe the problem, taking in account what she cares…


In research, in design, in life

Photo by Jared Sluyter

“Take your pleasure seriously.” — Charles Eames

Research is a serious thing. Design is a serious thing. Life is a serious thing. But what good is any of it if you don’t love doing it? If you don’t enjoy practicing or living it? If you don’t show the fun in any of it?

It can be so easy to get bogged down in the details, the seriousness of the task. Kids to feed. Pixels to push. Stakeholders to please. But when activities feel like a slog, ask yourself: “where’s the fun? Where’s the enjoyment?”

Fun has a strong connection to…


Photo by Katerina Radvanska

I’m no Jan Chipchase, traveling to the far reaches of earth to discover unknown user behaviors. But over the years I’ve worked with midwives in Uganda, HIV/AIDS rights activists in Seattle, humanities scholars in Holland, oncologists in Basel, and Finnish kids wanting to travel to learn a language — so I know a bit about interviewing different types of people with vastly different life experiences from mine.

As digital product makers, it’s important that we know how to parachute into situations in which we’re unfamiliar. At the research institute of Novartis I’d interview scientists with deep expertise, and I’d have…

Matti Hicks

UX Researcher living in Zürich. Find me @mattihicks or mattihicks.com

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