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UsabilityGeek

3 Podcasts I can’t live without, as a UX Design Team Lead

Lately I’ve been becoming a bit of a podcast fiend. I listen to them when I get ready in the morning, on my commute to and from work, whenever I walk anywhere and when I cook on the weekend. They keep me up to date, they keep me entertained and they also help me develop my skills and give me ideas. I’m a UX Design Team Lead by trade, but a “doer” by nature, and am always looking for ways to learn or be better at what I do. For me, podcasts are brilliant in that they allow me to learn and think, while I’m busy doing something else.

I really enjoy asking other people what podcasts they’ve been enjoying lately (and books, TV shows! — more on this later). Maybe I’m a bit nosy, but it’s a really great (albeit old fashioned!) way of discovering new content and new ideas. And it’s fascinating to see how broad of a response I get whenever I ask!

So, in the hope that it might start a conversation with more people, and compel you to share *your own* current top three, here are three podcasts that have been on regular rotation for me recently. Ask me again in a couple of months and they may well have changed ;)

STARTUP
by Gimlet Media

Startup is a podcast about… yes, startups. Not just the successful ones, but the stories of those that fail and the journeys of those whose fate are still being borne out. These are conversations with founders, often recorded in the moment, as those chapters are being written. It’s not only enlightening and informative, it’s also moving, inspiring and deflating from one moment to the next. I binge listened to season 1 in a couple of days.

If you’re thinking of jumping in, definitely start from the very first episode from 2014. The first couple of seasons document the inception of the Gimlet Media Podcast company through a series of audio recordings that became the podcast you’re listening to (yes, very meta!). Founder Alex Blumberg records a number of his often raw, candid and sometimes emotional conversations and it makes for such addictive listening. You’ll hear his pitch to secure funding (spoiler alert: his nerves and lack of preparation really show). But that’s what makes it so captivating and relatable: It’s the train wreck that we’ve all experienced personally at one time or another.

The format of the most recent episodes has changed, for reasons that will become clear (if not already), but the early seasons are riveting and inspiring for anyone thinking about starting a new business, and creating something they are passionate about! Highly, highly recommend!

BEHIND THE NUMBERS
by eMarketer

Behind the Numbers is a daily (week-daily?) podcast covering digital media and marketing. It features host (and fellow Brit!), Marcus Johnson having an informal conversation with two or three of his colleagues about breaking news and shifts in digital media and marketing. They discuss consumer trends and attitudes to brands and new technologies, across different demographics.

Why do I listen to this? I work in User Experience (UX). I don’t work in Marketing. But in UX, being obsessed with human beings — their the goals, aspirations and psychological make up — is exactly what we are all about! In my field, it’s good to keep on top of latest breaking news connected to these products and trends and that’s what I find useful about this show.

CODENEWBIE
by Saron Yitbarek

CodeNewbie started by Saron Yitbarek as a TwitterChat to bring together people who are learning to code. Since then it has become an international community. Saron hosts this podcast (which goes by the same name) about technologies, tech concepts and the hot topics that are in current rotation in the tech world. Each week is a conversation with one or two different guests discussing specific topic.

CodeNewbie is a great way to increase your exposure to technical concepts and new (or sometimes old) technologies. As I grow in my career, I’m finding it’s not enough to just be an expert in my discipline and domain. I need to know how to reach across the aisle, talk the same language as my Engineering and Marketing counterparts and be aware of opportunities we can collectively take advantage of. Being familiar with, if not totally fluent with the latest technologies and their capabilities will help all designers, and this is such a great way to keep up to date!

Saron does a wonderful job of asking some of the entry level questions you always wondered but never thought to ask or were too afraid to. Even though I’m certain she knows the answers to many of the questions she asks, she does so in a very authentic way that helps make the concepts much more digestible to newbies. She also likes to end an interview with “What’s the worst advice you’ve ever been given?” which tends to be very revealing! I also love that many of her guests are women and people of diverse backgrounds.

So those were my three. I’ve included links to these podcasts, but they are widely available wherever you like to listen. But I’d love to start a conversation. Tell me… if you had to pick just three, which podcasts are on current rotation for you? And what makes them a repeater?

Want to learn more?

If you’d like to become an expert in UX Design, Design Thinking, UI Design, or another related design topic, then consider to take an online UX course from the Interaction Design Foundation. For example, Design Thinking, Become a UX Designer from Scratch, Conducting Usability Testing or User Research — Methods and Best Practices. Good luck on your learning journey!

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