Winamp Logo
Awkward Silences Cover
Awkward Silences Profile

Awkward Silences

English, Technology, 1 season, 151 episodes, 3 days, 22 hours, 55 minutes
About
Welcome to Awkward Silences by User Interviews, where we interview the people who interview people. Listen as we geek out on all things UX research, qualitative data, and the craft of understanding people to build better products and businesses. Hosted by Erin May and JH Forster, VPs of growth/marketing and product at User Interviews.
Episode Artwork

The Future of UX Research with Judd Antin, Dave Hora, and Christiana Lackner

It's our 150th episode! To celebrate, we brought together three thought leaders for a discussion about UX research's future. Erin and Carol are joined by Judd Antin, Dave Hora, and Christiana Lackner, who bring over 40 years of combined experience in UX research, both as practitioners and leaders. This wide-ranging conversation combines our guests' reflections on the trends that brought UX to its current moment with an analysis of what the future holds—and how we can prepare ourselves (and our teams) for it. From strategies on creating more business value for our work to tips for creating stronger cross-functional partnerships, this conversation will equip you with practical steps to future-proof your research practice.Episode Highlights09:28 - The evolution of the UX research industry15:48 - Adapting UX methods for team dynamics21:56 - Balancing our focus between the business and the user30:45 - The role of UX research in fostering shared understanding 41:18 - Planning strategically and anticipating team needs47:27 - The promise of AI for user experience professionalsAbout Our GuestsJudd Antin is an executive coach, consultant, advisor, writer, and teacher, leveraging his 15 years of experience as a research, design, and product executive at top companies (Meta, Airbnb) and his PhD in Social Psychology & Information Systems from UC Berkeley to help individuals and organizations achieve their goals and overcome their challenges.Dave Hora is the founder of Dave's Research Co. where he helps product teams drive critical initiatives with the right mix of data, insight, and common sense. He began professional research work in 2011, eventually starting the practice as the first research hire at six companies, including PlanGrid and Instacart.Christiana Lackner is a UX research leader and dot connector. She's building research maturity within organizations so that teams involve the right people, ask the right questions, and act on the answers.More Resources on the Future of UX ResearchThe role AI will play in the future of UXRConnecting UX research to business revenueThe 2023 State of User Research Report
6/11/202450 minutes, 38 seconds
Episode Artwork

#149 - Research Tactics for Designers & PMs with Tyler Wanlass of CommandBar

In this episode, Erin and Carol sit down with Tyler Wanlass, lead product designer at CommandBar, to explore practical strategies for conducting user research without a dedicated research team. They dig into techniques that designers and product managers can use to gather valuable insights efficiently, especially in resource-constrained environments. Tyler's approach is scrappy, flexible, and creative. Tyler shares some of the tools that create his research toolkit, including efficient note-taking, creative approaches to participant recruitment, and mixed-methods continuous discovery methods. He explains how session recordings and account impersonation can offer deeper insights when primary research isn't possible. Tyler reinforces the value of proactive research, such as social listening and competitive analysis.This is a useful conversation for anyone without "researcher" in their title, but who wants to increase their customer engagement, build more thoughtful products, and do so in a way that respects both budgets and timelines.Episode Highlights03:16 - The scrappy mindset: learning from real-life experiences10:21 - Broadening perspective through cross-industry inspiration16:12 - Proactive user research for connecting and learning24:17 - Streamlining customer feedback with TL;DR summaries36:51 - Tools and tactics for customer insights44:09 - The importance of pricing and packagingAbout Our GuestTyler design interfaces for software products, builds internet businesses, and occasionally writes books. In his off time he's renovating a 100 year old Victorian house in the Pacific Northwest. In a past life he designed video games.More Resources on UX Research for Designers and PMsThe Product Manager's Guide to UX ResearchThe UX Designer's Guide to ResearchUncomplicated Recruitment for Non-Researchers"People Who Do Research," a Discovery Study
6/4/202451 minutes, 26 seconds
Episode Artwork

#148 - Connecting Research to Revenue with Claudia Natasia of Riley AI

In this episode, Erin and Carol tackle one form of research impact growing in importance and necessity: revenue. Their guest is Claudia Natasia, co-founder and CEO of Riley AI. Before starting Riley, Claudia grew product teams at early-stage companies and worked in the financial industry. These experiences showed her the importance of linking user research outputs to the bottom line of a business.During their conversation, Claudia breaks down what revenue typically looks like for a company and where you can find the specific revenue goals for your company. Then she digs into the important processes of weaving those revenue goals into a research strategy from the start, offering examples from her time on product teams.The discussion also explores the importance of triangulation, or combining multiple data types to form a more complete whole. Claudia explains that user researchers should balance conducting primary research with existing information to help clarify how UX is linked with wider business goals. She offers suggestions for teams big and small looking to make impact with the highest level decision makers and company executives.Episode Highlights06:07 - Strategic frameworks for company growth and revenue12:05 - Leveraging competitive analysis for market success22:06 - Creating meaningful insights for your business30:05 - Tracking research impact: Setting expectations and routine updates37:13 - Elevating projects: Moving from junior to senior stakeholders44:39 - Triangulating data: Connecting research to company successAbout Our GuestClaudia is a leader with 10+ years experience leading product, strategy, and data teams across the enterprise and financial technology space. Her work has directly influenced companywide strategies, leading to a $5B total valuation, a successful international acquisition, and multi-million dollar growth fundraising rounds.  She advises and angel invests in early stage startups, in North America and Southeast Asia. Her areas of focus are enterprise, finance, and consumer AI-generated content.Resources on Research Impact and RevenueA guide to showing the value of user researchClaudia's textbook of choice for learning about revenueThe three aspects of high-impact UX researchThe Business of Research Slack Community
5/14/202451 minutes, 25 seconds
Episode Artwork

#147 - UX Research in Healthcare with Nadyne Richmond

Erin and Carol explore the complexities of healthcare research with Nadyne Richmond, a healthcare design advisor with a background in big tech who pivoted to healthcare research a decade ago to tackle the pressing issues she saw in the system.Nadyne underscores the nuances of conducting user experience (UX) research within healthcare settings, unpacking the intersections of patients' lives, their health, financial well-being, and spiritual factors that can come with many diagnoses. She emphasizes the importance of being well-prepared to manage deep conversations, maintain objectivity while being viewed as human, and handle the delicacy of information with privacy and sensitivity.Nadyne shares practical advice on approaching sensitive research topics, providing control to participants, giving space for the research team, and even using diary studies for a more comprehensive understanding of patient experiences. Additionally, she talks about the intricacies involved when working with healthcare players, from insurance providers to medical staff, and how their differing incentives shape patient care.Episode Highlights03:56 - Transitioning from tech to healthcare research13:56 - Challenges when researching with medical professionals21:32 - Navigating Sensitive Topics when recruiting patients28:45 - Planning for legal requirements in user testing35:24 - Data protection in healthcare research41:11 - The unique rewards of healthcare researchAbout Our GuestNadyne Richmond is a user researcher and experience design leader with a track record spanning two decades. She has worked and led teams at places like IBM, Microsoft, Included Health, and Babylon. She started her career as an engineer, giving her a unique window in the challenges of creating products and services that are excel technically and meet the demands of customers and the business alike. Resources From NadyneCrucial Conversations bookAn Arm and a Leg PodcastInterviewing Users bookMore Healthcare Research ResourcesA researcher's guide to data privacy guidelinesDesigning experiences for healthcare companiesUX research strategies for building healthcare apps
4/30/202447 minutes, 19 seconds
Episode Artwork

#146 - Building a UX Research Team From Scratch with Julian Della Mattia of the180

Erin and special co-host Ben Wiedmaier are joined by Julian Della Mattia of the180 for a deep dive into being UX team-of-one. Julian has been the first user researcher at a number of companies and shares his top to-dos, milestones, and things to consider before accepting such a role.The episode digs into the ways a solo UXR can start making an impact, but in a strategic, sustainable way. Julian identifies questions to ask stakeholder teams, processes to consider standing up, and the tools to consider investing in from the start. We also discuss the dual hat-wearing of UXR and Ops on smaller teams/teams-of-one. Julian shares how he balances his time between executing on business-critical work and organizing research workflows so that other teams can start connecting with customers. Even if you're not a solo UXR or a team-of-one, Julian's experience building bridges between/across departments and his suggestions for aligning user research to core business goals from the start will help you and your team be more impactful. Episode Highlights03:49 - Strategies for success as the first researcher in an organization12:52 - Strategies for building bridges as a researcher in a new organization19:16 - Building essential processes for small research teams27:59 - Comparing research repositories and insights hubs30:47 - Triangulating insights from different teams35:11 - Strategies for scaling your research capacityAbout Our GuestJulian is a UX Researcher specialized in Research Operations (ReOps), founder of the180 and based in Barcelona, Spain. Whether in-house or working with clients, he repeatedly found myself building Research teams from scratch as the first Researcher in the team. This experience helped him develop a real knack for infrastructure, so he decided to fully specialize myself in ReOps. He likes to talk about this as his switch "from Finder to Builder".More Resources for Building UX Research TeamsUse this checklist to organize and build your UX teamThe steps to build and lead an impactful UX teamHow to scale yourself while avoiding burnout
4/16/202449 minutes, 10 seconds
Episode Artwork

#145 - Kick-Start Creativity Using Desk Research with Victoria Sakal of Wonder

In this episode, Erin chats with Victoria Sakal, Head of Growth at Wonder, all about desk (or secondary) research—think web searches, checking internal resource libraries (like repositories), or interviewing colleagues. Desk research is a critical step when starting a new project.Victoria shares her framework for thinking about the differences between primary and secondary research, suggesting that instead of distinct categories, they exist on a continuum. She argues that primary research is sharper, more impactful, and has better ROI when it's supported by secondary research.In addition to sharing best practices for desk research, Victoria walks through research her team conducted on how organizations approach research, offering strategies to maximize your efforts based on specific company growth stages and product demands. The episode closes by exploring how desk research is changing in light of emergent technologies such as large-language models and the benefits of reading widely. Episode Highlights06:39 - Integrating desk research into your research strategy12:30 - Desk research techniques and best practices17:41 - Unpacking trends in the kinds of questions asked during desk research23:31 - How desk research is evolving alongside AI technology25:14 - The role of curiosity in desk research and innovation34:20 - How research repositories and agile methods impact desk researchAbout Our GuestWith a passion for turning complex inputs (data, research, behaviors) on customers, market dynamics, and competitors into smart strategies that drive growth, Victoria has spent the last decade helping companies ask better questions to get better data, source more powerful insights, and stay on top of important dynamics that matter. Previously at Morning Consult and Kantar, Victoria now focuses on all things demand gen, product marketing, market research, and growth strategies to deliver more value for Wonder users.More Resources on Desk ResearchHow to conduct (and write) a research literature reviewUX research is better with market research collaborationsThis database showcases AI-powered desk research tools
4/1/202439 minutes, 42 seconds
Episode Artwork

144 - The Craft of Sample Sizes with Lauren Stern of WHOOP

In this episode, Carol and Erin dive into all things research sample sizes with Lauren Stern. No matter your experience with user research, you'll need to recruit folks, making this an evergreen topic. Lauren has coached both new-to-research and junior UXRs on this critical topic and she shares some of her best advice.Lauren shares importance considerations and nuances around different types of studies and even analysis approaches. She also unpacks her approach for international samples, the impact of drop-off rates, and participant compensation strategies.Going beyond sample sizes, we conclude with a discussion of how to better engage with stakeholders when advocating sample sizes, making these conversations about "how many to recruit" more informed. She also shares resources to use when making the case to stakeholders.Episode Highlights05:41 - Crafting research goals and parameters: a collaborative journey13:48 - Flexible research design: navigating sample sizes and methodologies19:57 - Tailoring sample sizes to research objectives: finding the right fit 26:30 - Qualitative confidence and stakeholder expectations34:11 - Diverse methodologies in quantitative research: beyond surveys43:05 - Departing research wisdom on sample sizes generallyAbout Our GuestLauren Stern is a mixed-methods research leader focused on creating the most human-centered technology possible. Over the last ten years her work has explored how perception and social cognition shape our experiences with automated systems from military zones to living rooms. Whether exploring individual experiences in the field or looking at large-scale data collections, she loves the puzzle of study design and coaching new researchers through the process.Resources on Sample SizesThis free calculator gives sample ranges based on your study needs.Need some research-backed sample size help? Bookmark this today.You must pay participants. This calculator helps ensure an fair amount.
3/25/202446 minutes, 46 seconds
Episode Artwork

#143 - Harnessing AI For Better Insights with George Whitfield of MIT and FindOurView

Carol and Erin welcome George Whitfield, an expert in applying AI to the analysis of qualitative data. George discusses the intricate challenges of leveraging language models to interpret expansive open-ended data (like interview transcripts), emphasizing the importance of context and not just keyword or topic identification.They'll dig into the crucial role of human oversight in AI, what preliminary analysis might look like using AI, how to check and refine the work of an AI assistant without derailing your project delivery date, and recommendations for etiquette regarding the reporting of AI-informed results.The episode closes with an exploration of the limits of AI and where user experience researchers can play a larger role in its development. George believes AI can (and should) inspire new directions of research, but not dictate them.Episode Highlights03:48 - Innovating consumer insights using AI12:21 - Importance of human involvement in AI tools20:04 - Enhance discussion sections with  AI tools26:50 - AI-inspired insights provide inspiration, not guidance34:12 - Interpretation beyond analyzing transcripts36:46 - Applying engineering rigor to the process of building a businessAbout Our GuestGeorge Whitfield is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and CEO at FindOurView. As CEO of his most recent company FindOurView, he launched a Gen AI product to help user researchers synthesize insights faster from high volumes of customer interviews. George holds 4 patents and has 3 degrees from MIT including a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a Masters and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering.Resources on Qual Data and AIOur AI in UX Report shares findings from a survey of over 1,000 researchersWhat does it mean to "code" qualitative data? This breakdown explains it all.Interested in trying an AI tool for your analysis? Here are 20 worth considering.
3/18/202440 minutes, 40 seconds
Episode Artwork

#142 - Quantifying Research Impact with Ruby Pryor of Rex

In this episode Carol and Erin are joined by Ruby Pryor, founder of Rex, a consulting firm specializing in UX research and strategic design. They explore the world of measuring the impact of UX research. with Pryor introducing a four-level impact assessment framework. Ruby shares a four-level assessment framework and the conversation moves to prioritization, making "strategic" decisions, and increasing your research influence.This episode also gets into what it means to demonstrate the "business value" of one's work, specifically how researchers can and should quantify their impact in terms that are tangible to the company. Ruby will share ways to score early wins, build momentum, and overcome communication frictions to find shared value.Episode Highlights03:14 - UX researcher impact: insights, optimization, prioritization, strategy09:14 - Understanding organizational structures and strategy development collaboration20:22 - Challenge of quantifying impact and strategic level21:33 - Measuring strategy impact: challenges and indicators30:04 - Prioritizing investments based on strong market indicators38:51 - Stakeholders prioritize growth, revenue, and cost reductionAbout Our GuestRuby Pryor is the founder of Rex, a service design and UX research consulting firm. Her previous roles include UX research at Grab, strategic design at Boston Consulting Group and management consulting at Nous Group. She has taught courses on increasing the impact of UX to learners from 5 continents and has spoken about design and UX at conferences in Asia and Europe.
3/4/202447 minutes, 44 seconds
Episode Artwork

#141 - The Chaos Theory of Event Networking with Bryan Dosono of eBay

In this episode of Awkward Silences, Carol and Erin dive into the world of conference networking and planning with Bryan Dosono, a staff UX research lead at eBay known for his extensive experience curating and organizing conference programs.Bryan share insights on how to prepare for conferences such as using apps to schedule meetings and emphasizing networking over solely focusing on content. He also discusses strategic scheduling to align conference participation with career goals and offers advice on making spontaneous, serendipitous connections.The conversation also covers practical tips for adding value during small talk, how to approach and connect with other researchers, and the importance of being open, vulnerable, and willing to face rejection in the pursuit of meaningful interactions. Bryan provides guidance for both newcomers to the UXR field and seasoned professionals: overcoming imposter syndrome and leveraging transferable skills from related fields.Episode Highlights03:58 - Navigating the Unpredictable: Strategies for Introverts at Networking Events.08:24 - Strategic Networking: Maximizing Opportunities Before and During Conferences.12:33 - Networking strategies for academic and professional growth.22:36 - Balancing Attendance: Prioritizing Conferences with Active Roles.28:03 - Maximizing Remote Networking: Strategies for Engagement in Virtual Conferences.33:07 - Conference Insights: Making the Most of Your Experience through Pre-Planning.About Our GuestBryan Dosono, PhD, is a user experience research leader in the consumer technology space. He applies human-computer interaction research methods with visual storytelling to modernize the design of global marketplaces and online communities. He currently volunteers as a Conference Chair at UXPA International and serves on the User Interviews Research Council.
2/21/202441 minutes, 10 seconds
Episode Artwork

#138 - Designers as Change Agents with Maria Giudice

“I realized that design is about helping people make sense of the world. And I looked at the world differently then… treating everything like a design problem that's solvable [...] [Design leaders today] don't use the power that we have to engage people, to activate people, to help them believe in something bigger than themselves.” Maria Guidice, author of Changemakers: How Leaders Can Design Change in an Insanely Complex World, joins Erin May and Carol Guest in this episode of Awkward Silences. Together, they examine the qualities of effective change agents and discuss how designers, researchers, and passionate folks can hone and apply these qualities to drive change within their organization.  Throughout the episode, Maria draws on her experience leading global teams at Facebook and Autodesk and a decade of research into the interconnectedness of leadership, design, and change to offer practical advice on how to approach change through a designer mindset. In this episode, Maria, Erin and Carol cover: What is a “changemaker”? The qualities of effective leaders and change agents. How designers can employ their skills to drive change at scale. Treating design as a mindset. Building support and working with people who share a creative and open mindset. Why we need to believe in progress and continuous improvement. 00:04:23 – Design is about helping people make sense of the world 00:09:34 – Maria’s research into the connection between leadership, design, and change 00:13:50 – The importance of understanding people’s resistance to change 00:16:28 – What is a changemaker? 00:18:04 – Design as a noun, a verb, a mindset that can lead change at scale  00:24:30 – Qualities of effective change agents 00:33:19 – Why Maria hates the term “change management” 00:36:12 – Embracing failure as a learning opportunity 00:39:46 – The importance of passion, purpose, and a belief in continuous progress About our guest For three decades, creative teams and business leaders have sought the provocative vision and mentorship of Maria Giudice, GEW DEECE. After founding the pioneering experience design firm Hot Studio and leading global teams at Facebook and Autodesk, Maria’s mission today is to build the next generation of creative leaders.  Through one-on-one coaching, group coaching, and team-building workshops, Maria unlocks the potential hidden in executives and the people they lead. A popular speaker at design and business conferences, Maria is also the author of four design books, including Rise of the DEO: Leadership by Design, and most recently Changemakers: How Leaders Can Design Change in an Insanely Complex World.You can find her on LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter). --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
10/18/202343 minutes, 25 seconds
Episode Artwork

#135 - How to Influence Stakeholders with Strategic Research with Andrea Amorós, Associate Principal Researcher at ADP

“I think people really connect when you are just genuine and not transactional. I think it's much more easy to get to those kind of opportunities because they just feel genuine.” According to Andrea Amorós, Associate Principal Research at ADP, giving research a seat at the big table is all about building meaningful connections with the people you’re presenting to. Andrea joins the Awkward Silences podcast to provide insight into how she learned to make research meaningful for stakeholders at higher levels of the organization. Having been hired to conduct discovery but with no plan set up for her, she took the initiative to interview the leaders within the company to understand their needs and identify opportunities for strategic research.  Tune into this episode to hear Andrea’s advice on building relationships with stakeholders, approaching push-back, and creating meaningful change in the current research landscape. Highlights:  [00:00:50] Andrea’s motivation to give research a seat at the big table [00:07:46] What bringing research to the big table really means [00:11:06] Presenting research to bigger audiences versus smaller audiences [00:14:08] Making presentations meaningful to the audience [00:17:47] How Andrea made it to the big table [00:22:26] How product-specific research can be escalated to the big table [00:24:53] The marginalization of research today [00:30:27] How changes in research apply to other fields [00:32:23] Andrea’s advice for building courage [00:36:17] The possibility of getting to the big table without presentations [00:38:46] Navigating push-back Sources mentioned in the episode: 📘 Awkward Silences blog 🔗 Andrea's LinkedIn 📘 Andrea's article: How to Present Research Insights to Executives with Ease 🎁 Get 3 free participants for your next research project with User Interviews ✍️ Take our survey to let us know what you want to see next About Our Guest Andrea M. Amorós is the Associate Principal Researcher at ADP, a payroll solutions provider leader globally. She has always been a really deep thinker, curious about understanding human behavior and the unconscious mind. Her expertise lies in conducting strategic research and discovering patterns at scale to improve people's lives. She has a background in Design Engineering and has worked in various startups, consultancies and large-scale corporations. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
8/30/202345 minutes, 25 seconds
Episode Artwork

#134 - The End of an Era: A Fond Farewell to JH

134 episodes.  That’s how long Awkward Silences has been going with Erin and JH as hosts. But now it’s time for something new. JH says goodbye to Awkward Silences as he kicks off a new chapter in his career. Today, he and Erin reflect on the years. They share a bit of the original background to the podcast, their favorite memories, and even some behind-the-scenes aspects and outtakes that may surprise you.  Tune into this episode to learn all about Awkward Silences and bid a fond farewell to JH 👇 Highlights: [00:02:01] Why did Erin pick JH as co-host? [00:05:03] JH’s favorite part of the podcast [00:06:52] A look back to when the podcast first felt “real” [00:10:07] Favorite episodes, memories, and guests [00:13:26] Secrets of the intro [00:14:50] JH’s podcast future [00:17:01] Where is JH heading? [00:20:25] Funny outtakes and memories Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkwardsilences hybrid workplace experience platform. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
8/23/202322 minutes, 52 seconds
Episode Artwork

#133 - Decision-Driven Research: Driving Action from Insights with Pejman Mirza-Babaei, UX Research Consultant

As a researcher, you know the value of using research to drive business decisions—but other stakeholders might not. In order to drive action from research, you need to create alignment with key decision-makers and the research you do.  Pejman Mirza-Babaei joins the Awkward Silences podcast to discuss how to transform research insights into actionable design decisions by collaborating with stakeholders. With over fifteen years of experience doing UXR and interaction design on various applications, Pejman shares insights on the importance of effective communication and collaboration; the need for actionable and cost-effective research; and the challenges and biases that can arise in decision-driven research. Tune into this episode to learn all about the intricacies of decision-driven research 👇 Highlights: [00:01:53] Pejman’s extensive experience with games and user research [00:04:40] Making good, directed, actionable decisions from research [00:08:53] The inspiration behind The Game Designer’s Playbook [00:13:14] Collaboration with stakeholders to determine research necessity [00:16:53] Ensuring alignment between decision-makers and researchers [00:23:30] When decision-centric research backfires [00:27:31] Avoiding marketing your company to your participants [00:30:07] Specificity in context  [00:32:28] Navigating difficult decisions stemming from research [00:37:03] Successfully seeing research insights through to action [00:43:46] Life motivations mirrored in games Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward About Our Guest Pejman Mirza-Babaei is a UX research consultant, author, and professor. His latest book, The Game Designer's Playbook, was published in September 2022. He also co-edited the Games User Research book (2018), a compendium of insights from over 40 experts on UX research in games. He has over 15 years of experience doing UXR and interaction design on various applications, from mobile apps to VR games and everything in between streaming content, console, PC games, and even delivery robots! He worked as the UX Research Director at Execution Labs (Montréal, Canada) from 2015 to 2017 and was a UX Researcher at Vertical Slice and Player Research (UK) from 2009 to 2013. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
8/16/202347 minutes, 34 seconds
Episode Artwork

#132- Unveiling UX Insights with Competitive Research with Rachel Miles, Research Lead at IBM

Competition can be scary. But in UX, competitive research is insightful. You don’t want to chase your competitors, but you need to know what they are doing to know how you can improve. Rachel Miles joins the Awkward Silences podcast to discuss the value of competitive research in UX and design. As the UX research lead at IBM, Rachel integrated competitive research at IBM to measure their products’ performance and to align their existing internal measures with external measures. She shares insights on selecting benchmark competitors or metrics, communicating competitive insights, and navigating legal challenges.  Tune into this episode to learn how competitive research can inform your product development and strategy 👇 Highlights: [00:00:41] Rachel’s interest in competitive research [00:02:27] What makes up competitive research? [00:05:54] Choosing your competitors to benchmark against  [00:10:08] Determining benchmarking metrics [00:16:33] Rule #1: Avoiding over fixating on the competition [00:21:37] Opportunities for non-researchers to do competitive research [00:23:28] Creating and sharing benchmark assets [00:27:95] Managing participants for competitive methods [00:30:11] Navigating legal challenges [00:34:56] Priming participants for fake scenarios [00:38:05] Teamwork makes the dream work in competitive research Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward About Our Guest Rachel Miles, UX Research Lead at IBM, is a user experience researcher and strategist. A self-proclaimed nerd of all trades, she loves to learn about everything that crosses her path. In her spare time, you might catch her reading, drawing, traveling, or working on her blog where she talks about where technology meets wellness. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
8/2/202341 minutes, 54 seconds
Episode Artwork

#131 - Designing Beyond the Product: Systems Thinking with Sheryl Cababa, Chief Strategy Officer at Substantial

In design and UX research, context is king.  Your work doesn’t exist in a vacuum; it’s a part of a wider ecosystem of stakeholders, beneficiaries, and more. Sheryl Cababa, Chief Strategy Officer at Substantial, recognized a clear gap in design methods that only addressed the individual user and the immediate product benefits: designing beyond the product with a systems thinking approach. As the author of “Closing the Loop: Systems Thinking for Designers”, Sheryl says,  “My goal is not to suddenly become a systems thinking methodology practitioner and leave my job as a designer behind. I need to figure out a way to integrate [systems thinking] into my practice in a way that is actionable and accessible.” She joins Erin and JH today to discuss how systems thinking can address the complexities and interconnectedness of products and their ecosystems, sharing practical strategies for integrating it into your own design practice.  Tune into this episode to learn actionable advice on adopting a systems thinking mindset when designing user experiences 👇 Highlights:  [00:01:18] The appeal of systems thinking [00:08:45] Ethnography as a bridge between traditional UX methods and systems thinking [00:14:29] Understanding when a problem calls for systems thinking versus when it does not [00:22:37] Avoiding “chaos” when integrating systems thinking [00:28:04] Systems thinking as a mindset rather than a set of tools [00:31:30] Recognizing when methods are producing valuable results [00:36:17] Utilizing systems thinking for speculative design [00:41:34] The importance of multi-disciplinary groups in systems thinking Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward Closing the Loop: Systems Thinking for Designers Want a copy of Sheryl Cababa's book? Use discount code: [cababa-awkwardsilences] for 15% off your purchase of Closing the Loop: Systems Thinking for Designers at https://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/systems-thinking-for-designers/. About Our Guest Sheryl Cababa, Chief Strategy Officer at Substantial and Author of “Closing the Loop - Systems Thinking for Designers,” is a multi-disciplinary director with over two decades of experience in product design and consultancy, mainly focusing  on systems thinking and evidence-based design. Her current role at Substantial, a design and software development consultancy, involves conducting research, developing design strategies, and advocating for human-centric outcomes. In her book, “Closing the Loop - Systems Thinking for Designers,” Sheryl introduces readers to a powerful systems thinking mindset. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
7/19/202348 minutes, 23 seconds
Episode Artwork

#130 - The Art of Great Facilitation for Better Collaboration with Marsha Acker, Founder and CEO of TeamCatapult

There are 6 key qualities for great facilitation: Starting with your core beliefs Maintaining neutrality Standing in the storm Honoring the wisdom of the group Upholding the agile mindset Honoring the group’s agenda According to Marsha Acker, Founder, and CEO of TeamCatapult,  “The job of facilitator is not to become the agile process police that says we have to have a daily standup and every day we have to answer these three questions…Facilitation is all about reading what's happening in a group, [and] tapping into the collective intelligence and wisdom of that group." In this episode, Marsha sits down with Erin and JH to discuss the art and importance of facilitation in group settings, focusing on the 6 key principles of great facilitation she wrote about in her book The Art and Science of Facilitation: How to Lead Effective Collaboration with Agile Teams. Tune in to hear her approach to facilitation, including methods, the preparation process, and how to build your facilitation skills. 👇 Highlights:  [00:01:05] Defining facilitation: the art of leading people through a process towards a goal [00:04:50] Reading the room and speaking the language of others [00:06:08] Maintaining neutrality as a leader [00:14:24]Standing in the storm of conflict and handling differences [00:20:43] Honoring the wisdom of the group [00:23:25] Enhancing agile processes with intentionality [00:28:54] Honoring the group’s agenda  [00:33:12] Familiarity versus externality: the pros and cons of different facilitator types [00:35:57] Guidelines for facilitating workshops [00:44:56] The importance of navigating invisible team dynamics Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward userinterviews.com/awkwardsurvey The Art and Science of Facilitation: How to Lead Effective Collaboration with Agile Teams Build Your Model for Leading Change About Our Guest Marsha Acker, CPF, CPCC, PCC, is the author of Build Your Model for Leading Change: A guided workbook to catalyze clarity and confidence in leading yourself and others, available now. She is the founder and CEO of TeamCatapult, a leadership development firm that equips leaders at all levels to facilitate and lead sustainable behavioral change. She is also the author of The Art and Science of Facilitation: How to Lead Effective Collaboration with Agile Teams and the host of the Defining Moments of Leadership podcast. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
7/5/202351 minutes, 54 seconds
Episode Artwork

#129 - How to Upskill Product Teams in UX Research with Helen Devine, UX Research Manager at The Economist

How can UX researchers enable other teams to do research? Show, don’t tell. According to Helen Devine, UX Research Manager at The Economist, upskilling product people to do research means letting them observe, sit in, and be present during each stage of a research project—not just being told what to do. Helen went from doing scrappy research with 0 researchers to supporting 50 product people at The Economist to conduct great research with the help of 2 other UX researchers. Tune into this episode to learn how she established UX research as a valued discipline at The Economist, plus how to balance developing research as a craft while supporting non-researchers at the same time.  👇 Highlights:  [00:04:11] From 0 researchers to 3 UXRs and 50 product people  [00:13:30] The art of observation and note-taking during moderated interviews  [00:18:59] Generative research? Bring in a pro researcher [00:24:34] Helen’s biggest wins in instructing others on how to do research better [0:31:07] Researchers develop the craft, but they don’t own it.  [00:33:54] Actionable tips on setting guardrails for non-researchers’ research Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward userinterviews.com/awkwardsurvey About Our Guest Helen Devine, UX Research Manager at The Economist, is a user-focused research expert with experience in insight, ethnography, design, and user research across commercial, government, and non-profit sectors. Her current role involves telling user stories that uncover opportunities and inspire action across the organization’s portfolio of digital properties. Before joining The Economist, Helen has had an illustrious career involving positions at The Guardian, a housing and homeless charity shelter, Lloyds Banking Group, and Asda. Recently she spoke at the Insight Innovation Exchange 2023. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
6/21/202343 minutes, 45 seconds
Episode Artwork

#128 - The Value of “Scrappy” Research with Varun Murugesan, Co-Founder of Apple and Banana

What does good “scrappy” user research look like? According to Varun Murugesan, Co-founder of Apple and Banana, “You could throw anything at Jason Bourne and he would solve it. Would it be effective? Efficient? No. But would it be effective? That kind of thinking. That's what I think about. I don't need all the fanciest tools or software.” Being good at scrappy user research is like being the Jason Bourne of research: being effective with what you have, even if you’re shot down by a tight research budget or limited in bandwidth. Varun joins Erin and JH to discuss his tips for doing scrappy research, advice for finding and utilizing creative techniques in research, and the potential positive and negative effects of the AI explosion. Highlights:  [00:01:38] The value of “scrappy” research in tough economic times [00:05:50] Being “scrappy” is about speed [00:08:51] Innovating with scarce resources during the pandemic [00:17:33] Enhancing creativity through messiness [00:21:40] Sources of inspo for creative research [00:25:07] Re-evaluating your work and success [00:31:03] Research during the AI explosion [000:35:55] 7 years strong doing research, plus new opportunities for the future Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward fruitful.appleandbanana.org About Our Guest Varun Murugesan is the Co-Founder of Apple and Banana, a UXR training and development company helping to build better products through fruitful research. He is also the author of Fruitful, an online UX research library and toolkit of resources for researchers and UX teams aimed at conducting user experience research that drives impact. He is also the Senior UK Researcher of SeatGeek, a mobile ticketing marketplace. Before these positions, Varun worked in UXR roles at Best Buy and Facebook. An entrepreneur, author, and researcher, Varun has spent his career immersed in psychology, technology, and design, and has been featured on a various media platforms sharing fruitful research and his personal UXR career journey. A gift from Apple & Banana and Awkward Silences Interested in trying Apple & Banana for your next research project? Use our code AWKWARD-FRUITS-35 to save 35% on Fruitful, an advanced UX research repository used by 100s of teams around the world. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
6/7/202340 minutes, 27 seconds
Episode Artwork

#127 - The Power of Failure (for life and research) with Kevin Kelly, Publisher and Founding Editor of Wired

“There’s a certain amount of forgetting that we need to do in order to learn something new.” – Kevin Kelly, Founding Editor of Wired magazine Whether you are designing a research project, prototyping a product, or carving out your career path, unlearning plays an important role in learning new things. But how do we embrace them in a practical way that leads to viable success? For Kevin Kelly, Publisher and Founding Editor of Wired, leaning on failure is a crucial aspect of the creative writing process—and the motions of life in general. From giving advice on embracing mistakes to finding true joy and fulfillment, Kevin Kelly shares a raw perspective on applying important life lessons to both work and life. In this episode we discuss: Understanding “known failures” and “unknown failures” Forgetting and unlearning your bias.  Prototyping and experimentation in research and in life Career advice, tips, and hacks Highlights: [00:01:51] Navigating failure: tractable vs. intractable failures [00:05:37] Understanding other people's beliefs and questioning our own [00:12:25] The value of prototyping and experimentation in life and your career [00:16:47] Redefining success and exploring unique opportunities [00:22:15] Learning what to ignore and discarding unnecessary information [00:33:44] Kevin's current project on a 100-year desirable future! Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward https://kk.org/books/the-inevitable About Our Guest Kevin Kelly is an accomplished author, speaker, and “evergreen optimist,” known for his work on technology, innovation, and the future. As the founding executive editor of Wired, Kevin has been instrumental in shaping discussions around technology and its implications on society. He has authored several influential books, including "The Inevitable," which delves into the technological forces that will impact our future. Currently, Kevin is working on a project envisioning a desirable 100-year future. Awkward Silences Survey Take this survey and let us know what topics you want to hear next! userinterviews.com/awkwardsurvey --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
5/24/202345 minutes, 21 seconds
Episode Artwork

#126- AI Anxiety: The Dangers (and Opportunities) of AI in Research with Mike Adams of Grain

AI has recently become hugely popular with the likes of ChatGPT becoming a staple in day to day life, and it looks like it is here to stay. Could it replace the job of a researcher completely? Mike Adams, CEO and Founder of Grain doesn’t think so. Join the conversation as they discuss the potential perks and limitations of utilizing AI in research and product development, tips for getting started in the world of AI, and an insight into the current shift in the roadmap for research products. In this episode we discuss: [00:02:37] The potential of AI for automating away the monotonous  [00:14:23] Utilizing AI: building versus buying [00:18:05] Tips for getting started with AI applications [00:25:55] A shift in the roadmap of potential research products [00:31:43] How utilizing AI could go wrong for researchers Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward grain.com About Our Guest Mike Adams is the CEO and Co-Founder of Grain, a communication platform for teams that helps capture video snippets with ease. Self-describing as a three-time founder with over ten years of experience building skills for job education software programs, Mike is a pioneer for fully immersive cohort-based education. His current mission with Grain is to help teams to share more understanding with each other and the people they work together to serve, thus creating a more cohesive working environment. Mike has authored several useful articles, including “The Founder’s Guide to Actually Understanding Users”. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
5/10/202339 minutes, 48 seconds
Episode Artwork

#125- What is UX Business Coaching? with Sylvana Rochet of Elan Vital Coaching

Sylvana Rochet, Founder and Principal Coach at Elan Vital Coaching, visits the show to discuss what UX business coaching entails and how to maximize your professional growth opportunities with business coaching. Sylvana shares her past experiences coaching in the world of UX so you can learn what to expect from business coaching, how coaching works, and what the path of building a coaching career looks like. In this episode, we discuss: What does coaching entail? The individual benefits of coaching Finding the right coach When is it a good idea to consult a coach? What qualities do effective coaches have? Advice for aspiring coaches Highlights: [01:48.73] Sylvana defines coaching and shares her career journey [07:05.40] Sylvana explains why most people look for leadership coaches [10:59.60] The difference between mentorship and coaching [19:40.69] When not to call a coach and the duration of a coaching arrangement [21:52.00] Factors to consider when choosing a coach [27:14.36] What you can expect from working with a UX coach [39:51.76] Career tips for aspiring coaches  Sources mentioned in the episode: http://userinterviews.com/awkward https://www.linkedin.com/in/sylvanarochetbelleri https://www.linkedin.com/company/elan-vital-coaching About Our Guest Sylvana Rochet is the Founder and Principal Coach at Elan Vital, a leadership coaching and personal development company that helps founders and executives tap into their full potential and achieve their goals. Before founding Elan Vital, she worked as a Partner and Executive Coach at Evolution, a leading coaching, consulting, and investment firm that specializes in working with high-growth companies. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
4/26/202342 minutes, 39 seconds
Episode Artwork

#124- Defining a Research Strategy with Devin Harold of Capital One

A solid UX research strategy serves as the compass that guides research ops and helps ensure repeatable success. But how do you envision, create, and execute a strategy that helps you achieve your goals in the most effective way possible?  In this episode of Awkward Silences, Devin Harold, Director of Research at Capital One, unpacks how to craft and refine a winning UXR strategy, including tips to help you make team playbooks, winning stakeholder buy-ins, and using maturity models to inform your strategy.  In this episode, we discuss: The significance of a robust UX research strategy The definition of a good and bad strategy  Essential components of an effective research plan Aligning research with stakeholder needs and expectations Metrics and KPIs to evaluate progress and success Highlights [00:01:17] Strategy vs Delivery, prioritizing projects and allocating resources   [00:10:13] The role of flexibility and adaptability [00:15:38] Gaining stakeholder buy-in and tying research to organizational objectives [00:21:05] Establishing KPIs and metrics to measure progress and success [00:33:46] Periodic reviews and updates to maintain relevance and effectiveness Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward Good Strategy/Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt UXR Maturity Models: Move to a more advanced level in your org by Nikki Anderson of Dovetail UX Strategy Components by Nielsen Norman Group The Organizational Appetite for Research by Behzod Sirjani About our guest: Devin Harold is the Director of UX Research at Capital One, where he leads a team dedicated to improving end-to-end experiences and touchpoints for one of the company’s primary business units. With over eleven years of experience in UX design and research, he has a deep understanding of research methodologies, leadership, strategy, frameworks, and interaction design. Devin’s expertise and leadership have been recognized with multiple awards, including the IDEA Award, Verizon Beyond Award, and Verizon Credo Award. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
4/19/202355 minutes, 57 seconds
Episode Artwork

#123 - The Power of Atomic Research with Daniel Pidcock of Glean.ly

Maintaining a huge insights repository can be overwhelming. It’s even more difficult to extract the right insights from research findings. Atomic research is an approach developed concurrently by Tomer Sharon and Daniel Pidcock to manage and break down research knowledge to their smallest modular form.  This week on Awkward Silences, Daniel Pidcock, the co-creator of atomic UX research and founder of Glean.ly, joins Erin and JH to explain this new approach to research knowledge management. Additionally, Daniel shares success stories of companies that have used Glean.ly to integrate data from disparate sources and glean meaningful insights.  In this episode, we discuss: What is atomic UX research? The pillars of atomic research How atomic research can improve your research strategy How does Glean.ly power atomic research? Highlights: [01:38.75] What is atomic research? What is Glean.ly? [08:24.98] Daniel discusses why atomic research works, including how it helps organizations solve crime cases [11:14.58] How Glean.ly enabled Just Eat to grow and expand [14:06.67] One big benefit of atomic research powered by Glean.ly [23:59.45] Applications for atomic research and research strategy tips [38:27.70] The atomic research origin story Sources mentioned in the episode: http://userinterviews.com/awkward https://www.linkedin.com/in/pidcock  Glean.ly https://www.dropbox.com/s/z5zaxi088jsllju/Gleanly%20-%20Atomic%20research%20cheat%20sheet.pdf?dl=0 About Our Guest Daniel Pidcock is the co-creator of atomic UX research and founder at Glean.ly, a UX research repository platform used by some of the world’s largest brands. He has spoken about atomic research at several events, including the UX Brighton Conference and Atomic UX Research for agencies. Before founding Glean.ly, Daniel worked as a UX consultant at Neighbourly, JUST EAT, and ie Marketing Communications. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
4/12/202343 minutes, 35 seconds
Episode Artwork

#122- Exploring UX Research Career Options with Marieke McCloskey of LinkedIn

What are the best UX career options? How do you vet a potential employer to ensure it’s the right fit? Should you join a smaller firm that offers plenty of autonomy and flexibility, or does it make more sense to work for a larger company with a ton of resources? Erin, JH, and Marieke McClosky, Director of UX Research at LinkedIn, address these questions, examining UX research as a career and a practice as they discuss Marieke’s journey as a UX researcher.  In this episode, we discuss: Navigating a career path in UX research Making career moves that align with your goals How to start a career in UX research Pros and cons of different working environments  Vetting potential employers Highlights [01:27] Marieke’s first job was at Nielsen Norman Group [04:42] The benefits of working at a large organization like LinkedIn [7:12] Getting started with– choosing a direction when you are new to UX research [12:57] How to vetMarieke shares valuable advice on vetting employers [19:37] How does the UX research team come up with research questions? [25:29] TJH summarizes the differences between working at a large company vs. a smaller firm [39:24] The best thing about consulting is “the breadth of who you get to work with, the different industries, different teams” Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward About our guest Marieke McCloskey is the Director of UX Research at LinkedIn. For over a decade, she has worked as a UX researcher and consultant with the world’s most innovative companies, including Nielsen Norman Group and the NFL. She completed her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at the University College Utrecht and earned a MA in Cognitive Science at John Hopkins University. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
3/29/202342 minutes, 50 seconds
Episode Artwork

#121 - The UX files: Top Moments from YouX 2023

YouX 2023 is a wrap! No big deal, just us and 3500 other UX-obsessed friends. The half-day virtual event featured breakout sessions and presentations conducted by some of the brightest minds in UX, who covered a number of topics from personal wellness and professional growth to work-life balance and community.   We’d like to thank everyone who attended the event, especially our guest speakers, panelists, and moderators. It was a truly extraordinary YouXperience for everyone. Head over to our blog to get a full recap of the 2023 YouX conference and videos of the sessions—we clipped all the awkward silences parts out, so you don’t have to. You can also download a recording of the entire event at the YouX event page. In this episode, we discuss: Interviewing with confidence Mentorships and coaching Wellness and UX Your unique UX career path Dealing with imposter syndrome Highlights:   [00:02:59] Interviewing with Confidence (Danny Essner) – Awkward silence is your friend and dealing with self-doubt [00:07:38] Will You Be My Mentor? (Paul Derby) – Navigating the mentor-mentee relationship [00:12:36] Reframing the Imposter Syndrome (Panel) – You are not a computer! The panel address imposter syndrome and getting to the root of the problem [00:18:06] Wellness and UX: Going Beyond the User Experience (Dr. Christelle Ngnoumen) – Dealing with stress through mindfulness. The power of language on your perspective [00:24:32] Research for All: Building Healthy Teams Through Democratization (Kate Kalcevich) – for all, How can we democratize research? Democratizing generative and evaluative research Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward YouX 2023 Recap: Learnings, Session Recordings, and Additional Resources YouX 2023 - The Event for You, Researchers About our guests   Danny Essner is VP of Marketing at Chameleon, a SaaS platform that allows startups to create personalized and engaging experiences for their users. Paul Derby is a SR. Manager of UX Research at ServiceNow. Paul is also the founder of Paul Derby Coaching, LLC, where he provides 1:1 coaching to UX researchers who want to establish their personal style of leadership. Devin Harold is Director of UX Research at Capital One, where he leads a team focused on design and research for Capital One's Financial Services in New York. Erika Spear has ten years of experience in qualitative and mixed-method research design and execution. She is currently a Research Manager at AnswerLab. Varun M is a Senior UX Researcher at SeatGeek and the Co-Founder of Apple & Banana. Tiffany Eaton is a talented and creative self-employed graphic designer with expertise in logos, cover art, graphic design, children's illustration, and children's book illustration. Nikki Anderson-Stanier is Founder & Managing Director of User Research Academy, a company that offers coaching, mentoring, and remote courses on UX Research. Fredrick Royster is an accomplished educator and UX/Web/Graphic Designer with over twenty years of experience in web design and front-end development. Dr. Christelle Ngnoumen is Principal User Experience Designer at Headspace Health, where she leads internal and external research programs dedicated to the design of Headspace's evidence-based digital interventions. Kate Kalcevich is Head of Accessibility and Innovation at Fable, a platform for people of all abilities, where she works on democratizing design and accessibility. For our guests' full bios, visit https://www.userinterviews.com/blog/best-highlights-from-youx-2023 --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
3/22/202335 minutes, 5 seconds
Episode Artwork

#120- Building a Healthy Research Culture with Mike Oren of Klaviyo

Whether you are a team of one or one hundred, cultivating a healthy research culture starts with strong leadership. Strong leadership encourages UXR teams to promote better research practices across teams and manage healthy conflict. But what does a healthy company culture look like IRL? And how do you promote best practices throughout the organization to help scale your research? Mike Oren, Head of Design Research at Klaviyo, has built and scaled several thriving research teams from scratch throughout his career. In this episode, he discusses the power of company culture and shares advice on culture building. In this episode, we discuss: The overall impact of research culture on companies’ bottom-line goals The anatomy of a “healthy” company culture Establishing cultural norms in your organization Dealing with challenges and avoiding mistakes Tips and tricks for nurturing and developing a research-focused company culture Highlights: [00:01:11] Planting the seeds of research culture [00:03:18] The importance of psychological safety for UXR teams [00:06:04] Maintaining healthy conflict and avoiding cognitive bias [00:12:21] Attributes of a healthy research culture [00:21:45] How research culture fits in with the rest of the organization [00:28:39] Tips on how to build research awareness and educate stakeholders Sources mentioned in the episode: http://userinterviews.com/awkward https://www.linkedin.com/company/klaviyo About Our Guest Mike Oren, Head of Design Research at Klaviyo, a technology company that provides an automated email marketing and SMS marketing platform. He is also the Founder of Societech, an Adjunct Professor at Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute of Design, and an independent UX Research Consultant. Mike holds a Ph.D. and a Master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction and Sociology from Iowa State University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and English Writing from DePauw University. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
3/15/202341 minutes, 19 seconds
Episode Artwork

#119 - It’s Not Research, It’s You! with Holly Hester-Reilly of H2R Product Science

In this episode of Awkward Silences, Erin May and John-Henry Forster are joined by Holly Hester-Reilly, CEO and Founder of H2R Product Science. They delve into how research can go  wrong, how bad research processes can give research a bad reputation, and how the methodology and timeline of your research can complement each other. Holly also outlines the best way to determine the right research method for your product. Tune in for an engaging conversation on research best practices with industry experts. In this episode, we discuss: How bad research processes can give research a bad reputation Top most common ways that research can go wrong The relationship between research methodologies and project timelines Figuring out the right method for your research Highlights: [00:04:27] Holly’s unique perspective from academic research and into tech [00:07:58] How can research go wrong? [00:10:20] The components of a good research model; what you need to get right [00:14:32] What to do with a research plan once you have it to ensure maximum alignment [00:16:54] How to combat biases in research and questionnaires [00:21:54] The interaction between methodology and the timeline in research [00:24:18] Figuring out the right method for your research [00:31:01] Interacting with stakeholders and organizations for the best research outcome Sources mentioned in the episode: Holly’s LinkedIn H2R Product Science Website H2R Product Science LinkedIn About our guest Holly Hester-Reilly is the Founder and CEO of H2R Product Science, as well as a Product Discovery Coach and Consultant for the company. She also serves as an Adjunct Professor at New York University, a Member of the Board of Advisors at Octane11, and a Product Advisor at Ergatta. Needless to say, Holly is an undisputed expert in her field, and we’re lucky to have her on the show! --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
3/8/202353 minutes, 33 seconds
Episode Artwork

#118- The Product Launch Playbook with Derek Osgood

According to Derek Osgood, it takes a "great product and product marketing collaboration" to get people to adopt products. But with such a small window of opportunity and many moving parts, it's easy to get it wrong. So how do massively successful brands execute a winning product launch? Join Erin and JH as they welcome guest Derek Osgood, CEO of Ignition, to examine the key components of a product launch. Derek shares his perspective on branding at scale as he outlines critical aspects to consider before, during, and after launch. He also provides a step-by-step walkthrough of a successful go-to-market strategy, complete with specific marketing tactics for planning, targeting, collaboration, and research. In this episode, we discuss: What makes a successful product launch? The elements of a winning launch Best research practices, tactics, tips, and tools Common mistakes and oversights Highlights: [00:03:37] The ingredients to a successful launch [00:08:34] Walkthrough of a successful launch (plus a laundry list of important questions to consider) [00:12:11] Internal marketing and the importance of communicating across teams [00:17:17] How teams get it wrong, dos and don'ts [00:20:39] A simplistic way to segment your audience [00:26:25] Message testing tips - the how, when, and why [00:32:02] Specific tactics and tools Derek uses to find pricing and understand features Sources mentioned in the episode: http://userinterviews.com/awkward Ignition LinkedIn About Our Guest Derek Osgood is a product marketing specialist, entrepreneur, and Founder & CEO of Ignition, a platform that helps brands streamline go-to-market strategies. He has launched several products that have collectively generated over $1 billion in revenue. Before Ignition, Derek worked as Director of Product Marketing at Rippling, Director of Marketing and Growth at BBVA, and as a Product Manager at Playstation. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
3/1/202346 minutes, 46 seconds
Episode Artwork

#117 - Understanding Growth Research with Carlos Tellez of Nubank

Erin May, John Henry Forster, and Carlos Tellez, Growth Research Manager at Nubank, get to the bottom of growth research. This episode is focused on two of Erin's favorite things – optimization and research. They discuss how research informs growth teams as Carlos describes the moving parts involved in the research process. Listen to hear what Carlos loves the most about his job, the scope of growth research, research design methods, tools, and tactics. In this episode, we discuss: The value and impact of growth research Key differences between growth research and product research Research workflows and the dynamics of working relationships Research methodologies, tactics, and toolkits Highlights: [00:01:08] What is growth research? What is platform research? [00:06:52] One big difference between growth research and product research [00:12:07] How does growth research "operate within the growth context"? [00:09:39] Support from leadership and the value of research in the context of growth [00:15:18] Carlos shares Nubank's approach to qualitative research [00:18:34] Carlos details his team's creative approach to data collection [00:28:41] Tactics for identifying the impact of research [00:28:41 Triangulation is a requirement of UX research; it's also the trickiest part to get right Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward Nubank website Nubank LinkedIn About our guest Carlos Tellez is a digital strategist, UX researcher, service designer, and education enthusiast. Currently, he is the UX Research Manager at Nubank. Much of his work is focused on creating effective research teams and advancing the field of UX research. Carlos has a Master's degree in Architecture from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He also has a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from Vassar College. a6vl5qrs9Oyq2oKaK1Oa --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
2/15/202341 minutes, 23 seconds
Episode Artwork

#116 - Emerging Trends in UX and CX with Alfonso de la Nuez and Dana Bishop of UserZoom

UX is exploding! It's tremendously exciting. But much of the technology pushing the state-of-the-art has been around for over a decade. What are the key driving factors behind the rapid rise of new tools like Figma? What does this mean for the future of collaboration? How will this affect research practices? Alfonso de la Nuez, Co-Founder, CVO & BoD Member at UserZoom, and Dana Bishop, VP, Strategic Research Partners at UserZoom, drop by to discuss the evolution of the UX and muse on Adobe's recent acquisition of Figma. They take Erin and JH along for a retrospective look at the past 30 years of UX, dig into industry trends, and explore the nuances of user research. In this episode, we discuss: The reasons behind the rise of UX tools like Figma The nature of collaboration in UX design, research, and stakeholders How tools affect the way we approach projects An evolution of UX design and UX research Highlights: [00:01:52] Why is Figma the “darling of the design world”? [00:06:37] Prototyping changing for two reasons: time and necessity [00:13:09] Alfonso puts things into historical perspective with an anecdote [00:17:28] Fundamental differences between UX design and UX research [00:24:38] Dana discusses one dramatic industry change [00:30:06] A CX story about an encounter DoorDash [00:36:46] What's the next big thing in UX research? Sources mentioned in the episode: http://userinterviews.com/awkward https://www.figma.com https://www.linkedin.com/company/userzoom https://www.userzoom.com About Our Guest Alfonso de la Nuez is Co-Founder, CVO & BoD Member at UserZoom. He has over seventeen years of experience in various disciplines, including UX, digital marketing, eCommerce, web design, and user-centered design. He is also the author of The Digital Experience Company, co-founder and former CEO of Xperience Consulting, and former co-founder and CEO of Xperience Consulting. Dana Bishop, VP and Strategic Research Partner at UserZoom, has over twenty years of experience in UX research. After spending nine years at Keynote Systems, Dana worked at Key Lime Interactive until she joined UserZoom in 2017. Her work in UX research is primarily focused on competitive research and benchmarking. Currently, she is co-host of UXpeditious, a weekly podcast exploring the world of UX. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
2/1/202340 minutes, 46 seconds
Episode Artwork

#115 - Optimizing In-Product Research with Ryan Glasgow of Sprig

Episode Description: In this episode of Awkward Silences, hosts Erin May and John Henry Forster welcome Ryan Glasgow, CEO of Sprig, to discuss the importance of in-product research. They dive into Sprig’s generative and evaluative research tools, as well as recruiting current customers and reaching out to prospective users for market research. The conversation concludes with a discussion about best practices for in-product research. In this episode, we discuss: What is in-product research? Why is it important? The power of real-time research post-launch Strategies and best practices for conducting in-product surveys Shortening the feedback loop with Sprig Highlights: [00:01:46] The role of in-product research in the process of product development [00:04:39] How Sprig streamlines gathering feedback for in-product research experiments [00:08:26] Best practices: advice on how to maximize response rate and more [00:14:49] The benefits of hyper-targeted product research [00:17:55] Advanced use cases for Sprig - combining sentiment data with conversion data Sources mentioned in the episode: http://userinterviews.com/awkward Sprig About Our Guest Ryan Glasgow is the Founder and CEO at Sprig (formerly UserLeap), a research platform that provides advanced usability testing and in-product survey capabilities to companies such as Dropbox, Loom, and Shift. He is the author of The Customer‑Obsessed Product Manager's Playbook and current host of the People Driven Products Podcasts. Ryan has a strong background in product management. Prior to founding Sprig, he was the Group Product Manager at Weebly, Product Manager at Vurb, and Product Designer at Extrabux. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
1/18/202332 minutes, 46 seconds
Episode Artwork

#114 - What Does a UX Research Chief of Staff Do?

The rise of UX research was a game changer in software design and development. As UX continues to grow in nearly every industry, research ops experts with strong leadership skills are critical for companies working at scale. In this episode, A'verria Martin, Director, Chief of Staff, Head of Research Operations and Strategy at ServiceNow, provides a high-level overview of the UX Research Chief of Staff role and explains why this position is in high demand. As A'verria shares her journey, she defines the role of UX Research Chief of Staff and outlines her core responsibilities. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
1/5/202335 minutes, 45 seconds
Episode Artwork

#113 - Tacos and Tidepods: A Very Awkward Goodbye with Roberta Dombrowski of User Interviews

Thomas Aquinas once said, “Tacos cannot exist without tide pods”. In this bittersweet edition of Tacos and Tidepods—Erin and JH say their goodbyes to Roberta and reflect back at her time at User Interviews. Roberta talks about her decision to pursue a career in coaching and leadership development training at Design Dept. From career challenges and memories to lessons she’s learned, Roberta shares her journey with User Interviews as Erin and JH do their best to make her cry. In this episode, we discuss: Roberta's career path Roberta's legacy at User Interviews Career development (finding your niche) Coaching for design leaders Highlights: [00:02:54] Roberta shares the most important lessons she's learned from working at User Interviews [00:06:11] They discuss Roberta's contributions [00:14:52] How to grow as a leader through self-care and teamwork [00:16:22] Roberta's tacos: what she's looking forward to the most as [00:18:21] Career tips on networking and finding your niche Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward Design Dept. Leadership Coaching Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans About our guest Roberta Dombrowski is currently VP of User Research at User Interviews. She is also an ICF certified Coach & Mindfulness Teacher, Level II Reiki Practitioner, and Predictive Index (PI) Certified Talent Optimization Leader. Roberta has been instrumental in creating and shaping cultures of learning at User Interviews, edX, Predictive Index, and Year Up. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
12/27/202223 minutes, 9 seconds
Episode Artwork

#112 - Finding Your Best Customers with Andrew Michael, CEO at Avrio

Finding your dream customers can be tricky, and knowing which customers aren’t a good fit is important. That’s where customer profiles come in handy. In this episode of Awkward Silences, Andrew Michael, CEO of Avrio, discusses the importance of ideal customer profiles. Andrew draws upon his experience and shares insights on creating customer profiles, customer research methods, and tips on how to get started. In this episode, we discuss: The role of the ideal customer profile (ICP) in an organization Using thermographic and demographic properties to create an ICP Creating personas and segmenting audiences Conducting studies and collecting data about your customers How teams get ICPs wrong Tips and best practices for developing and using ICPs Highlights: [00:06:03] The benefits of ideal customer profiles (ICPs) and who uses them [00:08:15] Andrew discusses the details of how they developed ICPs at Hotjar [00:11:34] Anti-ICP: Ruling out a large portion of your audience [00:24:08] Andrew details how to discover criteria that reveal insight [00:25:40] Tip: Don’t overcomplicate ICP, three or four defining characteristics are enough [00:29:19] Anti-ICP: How to communicate with customers that you don’t want [00:32:16] An effective ICP contributes to retention, alignment, and customer satisfaction [00:35:44] Andrew's final piece of advice: ICPs “needs to be a company-wide initiative” Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward CHURN.FM Podcast About our guest Andrew Michael is the CEO at Avrio – a software development research platform – host of Churn.FM, and Founding Member of Startup Cyprus. Andrew is also a teacher and speaker featured at the How to Web Conference 2022 and Advancing Research 2022. Before joining Avrio, Andrew worked at Hotjar, where he held leadership roles in marketing, management, and experience design. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
12/21/202235 minutes, 16 seconds
Episode Artwork

#111 - The 2022 UX Research Tools Map with Roberta Dombrowski

If you ask Roberta Dombrowski why it's her favorite time of year, she'll probably mention the UX Research Tools Map. Why? Because it’s one of User Interviews’ most popular projects of the year that features the best UX research tools available across different use cases. Ye one and all are invited to explore the fantastical land of the 2022 UX Research Tools Map! From the Royal Courts of The High Kingdom of Recruiting and Panel Management to the dark waters of Megalodon 365 and G-Dragon, you can explore more about each UX tool and get a comprehensive view of the UXR tool landscape. Informative, fun, and entertaining in its detail—the medieval-themed map is designed to help UX researchers far and wide gain a better understanding of the different UX tools available to them. In this episode, we discuss: Why the UX Research Tools Map is awesome New features we love, updates, and categories The challenges of optimizing your tool stack Tools! UX research tools! And more wonderful tools! Highlights: [00:01:44] Taco: Roberta explains the motivation behind the map [00:06:11] JH and Roberta list some of their favorite UXR tools [00:07:30] Why we created the map and how it informs the tool optimization process [00:10:44] À la carte vs all-in-one, the challenge of choosing the best solution [00:12:24] Exciting new UX research tools and use cases for tools User Interviews relies on [00:15:59] Fun features, funny details, and easter eggs Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward https://sprig.com https://www.userinterviews.com/ux-research-tools-map-2022 About our guest Roberta Dombrowski is the VP of User Research at User Interviews. She is also a Coach & Mindfulness Teacher at Learn Mindfully—her professional and personal development service that helps leaders and individuals reach their full potential. Roberta holds a Master of Science and Organizational Development Workplace Learning from Boise State University, a Level II Reiki Certification, and is a perennial lover of nature. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
12/14/202217 minutes, 18 seconds
Episode Artwork

#110 - Experience Design Research in Healthcare with Tiffany Mura and Erica Devine

Healthcare organizations are responding to the UX design boom by focusing on the patient experience. What is driving this shift? Why did it take so long? How does quantitative research align with qualitative research? In this episode of Awkward Silences, Tiffany Mura, Senior Vice President of Health Practice Lead at Mad*Pow, and Erica Devine, Associate Director, Patient Experience Strategy and Support at Otsuka Pharmaceutical Companies (U.S.), discuss patient-centered design in healthcare research. They explore the complexities of the healthcare ecosystem and share key aspects of their research methodologies to help paint a picture of how research can help improve the overall patient experience. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
12/7/202244 minutes, 9 seconds
Episode Artwork

#109 - The Challenges of Hybrid Work with Eduardo Gomez Ruiz of Miro

What can we learn about collaboration from the widespread blend of hybrid, remote, and in-person meetings? Here’s what Miro’s latest research study says about it. Episode description: As teams look for effective ways to collaborate between in-person and remote work, hybrid meetings are a flexible solution to meet both needs. But how can teams strike a balance of both in-person and remote meetings in a hybrid setting? How can facilitators reimagine collaboration to make meetings more effective and productive? In this episode of Awkward Silences, Lead UX Research Manager at Miro, Eduardo Gomez Ruiz, is back to share his team’s insight from Miro’s latest research study on the advantages and challenges of hybrid meetings. He shares exactly how he secured stakeholder buy-ins, UX research methods, and surprising signals. As hybrid working models take hold, this study serves as a great starting point for understanding new paradigms, trends, and attitudes as we continue to navigate new ways of working. In this episode, we discuss: How UX is affected by the evolving hybrid work environment Effective ways to gather collaborators and stakeholders The various UX research methods Eduardo and his team used for the study, and some surprising results The role of inclusion in facilitating hybrid work environments Best tips and practices from successful hybrid meeting facilitators Highlights: [00:05:17] The project's hypothesis was to uncover the dynamics of the overlap between devices, environment, and culture [00:09:12] How Eduardo gained support from the CEO and the Chief Product Officer [00:13:50] The four-phase plan; observation, interviews, surveys, and a co-creation session [00:18:57] Revealing surprising insights about IRL vs. remote user research and inclusivity [00:21:27] Attending in-office meetings as if they were remote [00:25:29] The biggest challenge: maximizing hybrid meetings for both remote and in-person contributors [00:35:01] J.H. touches on emerging approaches to asynchronous communication in meetings [00:37:33] Helpful tips on inclusion and initiating collaboration during hybrid meetings Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward https://miro.com/ About our guest Eduardo Gomez Ruiz is the Lead UX Research Manager at Miro, which develops cutting-edge collaboration software trusted by over forty million users. He has also served as a Design Thinking Associate Professor at IE Business School for nearly eight years. Since Eduardo joined Miro in 2020, he has been instrumental in the growth and development of the company’s UX research department. Prior to joining Miro, he held positions at Uber and several consulting agencies as a Global UX Researcher and UX Consultant --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
11/30/202240 minutes, 48 seconds
Episode Artwork

#108- Perfecting the UX of UX testing with Nicholas Aramouni of Userlytics

How do you improve the user experience of UX testing for both researchers and participants? Nicholas Aramouni of Userlytics explains how to test the UX of your own testing platform, and how to create simple and intentional user testing experiences. Episode description: The dual nature of research on research is exciting in itself, especially for Senior UX Researcher Nicholas Aramouni. In this episode, things get meta as we address the UX of UX research. Nicholas discusses the importance of testing everything, testing early, and testing often. He elaborates on his approach to UX research from different angles and describes the beauty (and absurdity) of what it’s like when UX researchers become participants. In this episode, we discuss: Best practices for building better UX The UX challenges UX researchers face Important factors that influence UX testing The pros and cons of adopting new research tools A walkthrough of Nicholas’ testing methods Highlights: [00:01:52] The keys to designing a great UX test are flawlessness, simplicity, and making it intentional [00:05:42] Nicholas’ approach: test everything, test early, and test often to create the perfect test [00:06:53] Nicholas talks about staying focused on what matters and that empathy is a powerful research tool [00:10:42] The test is a valuable asset, and how tools affect the outcomes [00:23:17] Do researchers make good participants? [00:27:52] Tips for researchers using a new UX platform [00:31:39] More on researchers as participants. Nicholas shares his experience as a participant [00:33:04] Erin asks Nick how he got into user research Sources mentioned in the episode: userinterviews.com/awkward About our guest Nicholas Aramouni is a Senior Communications Manager and UX Researcher at Userlytics who specializes in global UX practices. Nicholas has experience in various industries, including music, entertainment, media, and e-commerce. He is passionate about humanities, holds a B.Ed. in Social Studies from Mount Royal University, and was the former co-host of Mindspark. A learning podcast focused on K-12 education. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
11/23/202233 minutes, 42 seconds
Episode Artwork

#107 - Making Research Ops Visible with Benson Low of REA Group

Most people have no idea what UX researchers do. Even less known is what Research Ops Specialists do, which is why one of the Research Ops community’s main priorities is to shine a light on the people, mechanisms, and strategies that set research in motion. In this episode of Awkward Silences, Hosts Erin May and John-Henry Forster chat with research design leader Benson Low about why it’s time to bring attention to Research Ops. They discuss the emerging role of Research Ops specialists, and Benson provides several strategies that can help communicate the value of Research Ops to stakeholders. Get the full transcript and links to resources mentioned on the User Interviews blog. In this episode, we discuss: Ways to communicate the value of your work in Research Ops Tactics and strategies to gain support in your organization How to leverage the power of the ReOps community Tips for Research Ops advocates on dealing with roadblocks Highlights: [00:02:32] What is Research Ops? What is the Research Ops community? [00:07:50] How to start advocating for Research Ops [00:14:49] Use ReOps community resources to create awareness [00:17:30] Stress the importance of research in the product development lifecycle [00:19:55] Communicating the impact and value your work to stakeholders [00:32:36 ] Advice on overcoming barriers during advocacy work --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
11/17/202243 minutes, 2 seconds
Episode Artwork

#106 - Navigating gender, religion, and politics in UX research – with Zoë Glas

In this episode, we discuss: Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging Why religion is an overlooked topic in UX research Attitudes and behaviors related to religion Tips for researchers on how to address inclusion from a UX perspective Highlights: [00:01:41] The ‘I’ in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) [00:04:05] Forget about equity, this episode is about diversity and inclusion [00:07:48] Applying inclusion to UX research [00:10:56] How to start difficult conversations around inclusion [00:13:25] Why Zoë is interested in UX research on religion [00:20:38] How to keep your bias in check as a researcher [00:25:09] Zoe shares how she addresses religion from a UX perspective [00:27:11] Why it’s so hard to talk about religion at work About our guest Zoë Glas is a Senior UX Researcher at Google. She specializes in gathering and triangulating qualitative and quantitative data to improve amazing products. She has a Master’s degree in Natural Resource Social Science from Purdue University and a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana. Zoe has been published extensively in several international journals, including Sage journals, Society & Natural Resources, and Human Dimensions of Wildlife. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
10/26/202242 minutes, 9 seconds
Episode Artwork

#105 - Tacos and Tide Pods: Big plans, a product relaunch, and healthy organizational tension

Our VP of User Research, Roberta Dombrowski, talks about the fast-paced work behind the scenes of UX research and the excitement when things fall into place. We also examine how deeper insight drives strategy and informs long-term planning as research matures, and the reality of team collaboration. In this episode, we discuss: Our exciting plans and strategy for the future How we use research to inform planning Product perspectives vs people perspectives The beauty of new insights and their impact on a big relaunch The difference between healthy organizational tension and dysfunction About our guest Roberta Dombrowski is the VP of User Research at User Interviews, as well as a career and life coach at Learn Mindfully. She has spent her career leading research teams and enabling researchers in various industries to better understand their customers. In addition to her work as a UX researcher, she is  known for being an excellent cat mom, gardener, and thought leader. Visit her profile to learn more. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
10/19/202219 minutes, 50 seconds
Episode Artwork

#104 - User Research Incentives with Nick Baum of Tremendous

Incentives do more than just attract quality participants to your study. Ultimately, offering great incentives helps you collect great data. But if logistics aren’t your thing, managing and distributing incentives can be a nightmare. Nick Baum founded Tremendous, the payouts management platform, to take the pain out of that process. He joined us to chat about how Tremendous makes researchers’ lives easier, tips for managing research incentives, and how to choose the right type and amount of incentive. In this episode: How Tremendous helps UX researchers pay incentives simply In-person versus digital incentives How to choose the right amount of incentive Managing incentive budgets Read the episode transcript and discover related content at: https://userintervie.ws/awkward-nick --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
10/6/202230 minutes, 25 seconds
Episode Artwork

#103 - Ethical Design and Respectful UX Research with Kat Zhou of Epidemic Sound

‘Ethical design’ is a term that encompasses a process of designing useful, empowering, and accessible products that do not harm, manipulate, or deceive people. It is, in essence, about treating people you design for with respect and consideration. That’s a deceptively simple goal, and many companies miss the mark. Kat Zhou, Senior Product Designer at Epidemic Sound and the creator of < Design Ethically >, joins us today to talk about the challenges, opportunities, and urgent need for ethical design and research. In this episode: Why is ethical design so critical for both users and companies? How to integrate ethics and respect in your UX research How ethical design empowers inclusive and equitable representation Get the transcript on the User Interviews blog. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
9/22/202242 minutes, 39 seconds
Episode Artwork

#102 - Tacos and Tide Pods: Authenticity, Exciting Milestones, and LinkedIn

Tacos = the great. Tide Pods = the not-so-great. An honest chat about the (mostly really great) state of User Interviews. Roberta Dombrowski, VP of UX Research at User Interviews, is back for our third installment of Tacos and Tide Pods. She joins Erin and JH to talk about the 100th episode of Awkward Silences, the importance of prioritizing authenticity over patterns on LinkedIn, and Roberta's upcoming wedding. In this episode: The 100th episode of Awkward Silences Why you should focus on bigger things Maintaining LinkedIn content format while expressing authenticity --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
9/15/202212 minutes, 3 seconds
Episode Artwork

#101 - Onboarding UX: How to Research and Design a Great First Impression with Pulkit Agrawal of Chameleon

Onboarding is a customer’s first impression of your product. The way you research, design, and implement user onboarding can make or break the overall experience. So how do you refine this important aspect of your product’s UX? Pulkit Agrawal, Co-founder and CEO of Chameleon, joins us to discuss just that: How to optimize the user onboarding experience to get your customers off to a great start. In this episode: What is onboarding? Best practices for onboarding users How to integrate personality into onboarding --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
8/30/202234 minutes, 20 seconds
Episode Artwork

#100 - UXR Productivity Hacks with Michele Ronsen of Curiosity Tank

Work smarter, not harder with the right UXR productivity hacks. Michele Ronsen, founder of Curiosity Tank and our first repeat guest, joins us for our landmark 100th episode to tell us about the best user research hacks she’s learned to increase productivity, reduce cognitive load, and save time. Make your life a little easier with these pro UXR tips on scheduling, archiving, recruiting, screening, and more. In this episode: What is a UXR productivity hack? UXR productivity hacks examples and tips Enhancing productivity --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
8/17/202241 minutes, 38 seconds
Episode Artwork

#99 - Leading UX Research for Healthcare Apps with Wendy Johansson of MiSalud Health

Healthcare in the U.S. is expensive—and as a result, some communities struggle to afford medical services. This inequity has become increasingly apparent as underserved communities are disproportionately affected by things like the pandemic.  So, what can UXers do to help? Wendy Johansson, Co-Founder and Chief Product Experience Officer of MiSalud Health, believes the answer lies in health tech. In this episode, Wendy shares how the MiSalud app works and her approach to using qualitative research to help build a great product. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
8/3/202247 minutes, 54 seconds
Episode Artwork

#98 - Customer-Centricity in Practice with Ferdinand Goetzen of Reveall

Let’s face it… most companies these days say they are customer-centric, but the reality just doesn’t bear that out. Because in order to be truly center-centric (or even “customer-obsessed”), you need to obsessively (i.e. continuously) gather and use customer insights. Ferdinand Goetzen, CEO and Co-Founder of Reveall, joins us to explain how teams can start actually centering their customers by adopting certain practices that will help you collect, analyze, and interpret customer insights on a regular basis. In this episode: How to gather and use customer insights Active vs passive data Making the most of your data Get the transcript --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
7/21/202235 minutes, 35 seconds
Episode Artwork

#97 - Tacos and Tide Pods: House Cats, Research Repositories, and the Economy

Roberta Dombrowski, VP of UX Research at User Interviews, is back for the second instalment of Tacos and Tide Pods with Erin and JH. In this episode, they discuss the importance of an effective personal productivity process, overestimated expectations, and the (very Tide Pod-y) state of the global economy. In this episode: Creating a research repository at User Interviews Setting up an effective personal productivity process Overestimated expectations Meetings vs asynchronous collab Get the transcript and show notes: userinterviews.com/podcast Instructions on how to rate and review Awkward Silences on Apple Podcasts can be found here. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
7/13/202215 minutes, 44 seconds
Episode Artwork

#96 - Your UX Career Is a Product with Sarah Doody

Most people—including product people—don't think of their career as a product. And even the best researchers often neglect to do the research to identify suitable roles and opportunities. The result? They stay in roles for too long, or accept one that simply doesn't align with their career goals, interest, or values. They burn out and feel stuck.  Sarah Doody, Founder and CEO of Career Strategy Lab, joins us to share why you should start thinking of your User Research career as a product and how you can start doing so today. In this episode: How to treat your UX career like a product How to build (and follow) your career roadmap Managing the UX role application process --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
6/30/202250 minutes, 41 seconds
Episode Artwork

#95 - UX Writing and Content Design with Yuval Keshtcher of UX Writing Hub

In the world of product design, wordsmiths go by many names—UX writers, content strategists, product writers, and so on. But whatever you call them, these folks play an important role in developing seamless user experiences. Yuval Keshtcher is the Founder of the UX Writing Hub, an online education platform helping hundreds of people perfect their UX writing. He joins us to explain the difference between UX writing and content design, how the discipline is growing, and his favorite writing resources. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
6/17/202239 minutes, 43 seconds
Episode Artwork

#94 - Tacos and Tide Pods: A New Series from Awkward Silences

We’re changing things up a bit! Introducing a brand new series: Tacos and Tide Pods! Every month or so, Erin and JH will chat with User Interviews’s VP of Research, Roberta Dombrowski. They’ll talk about what’s going on behind the scenes at User Interviews, reflect on recent lessons learned, share their thoughts on the UXR space right now, and discuss what they're hoping to see more of in the future. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
6/2/202221 minutes, 6 seconds
Episode Artwork

#93 - Digital Ethnography and Real-World Context in UXR with Megan McLean of Spotify

Context acts as the bridge between an abstract idea (’a comfortable user experience’) and a tangible design (‘cushioned, breathable running shoes’). Although gaining context through remote research can be tricky, our UXR friends with an anthropological background know the solution: Digital ethnography. This week, we’re joined by Megan McLean, User Researcher at Spotify. Megan shared the who-what-and-how of digital ethnography, what she’s learned about mapping the digital landscape, and how she ensures her ethnography projects succeed. Read the episode transcript and highlights on the User Interviews blog: https://bit.ly/awkward-megan-spotify --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
5/18/202243 minutes, 25 seconds
Episode Artwork

#92 - What Librarians Can Teach UXRs about Insights Repositories with Nada Alnakeeb of DoorDash and Joanna Perez of Netflix

Public libraries have been using insights repositories for decades—and it’s time user research teams catch up. This week, we’re joined by Nada Alnakeeb, Head of Design and Research Operations at DoorDash, and Joanna Perez, Sr. Taxonomy Strategist/Digital Archivist, Studio Production at Netflix. Nada and Joanna shared learnings from their experience building the insights repository at Meta, using familiar organizational patterns to reduce mental load, tips for effective taxonomies, and more. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
5/5/202245 minutes, 34 seconds
Episode Artwork

#91 - Design Psychology with Thomas Watkins of 3Leaf

What is design psychology? Thomas Watkins of 3Leaf compares it to ergonomics—both fields aim to make products feel as comfortable as possible for their users. Where ergonomics is concerned with things like the shape of your office chair’s back or the height of its armrests, design psychology is all about making software experiences more intuitive and reducing cognitive load. This week on the podcast, Thomas chatted with Erin and JH about the similarities and differences between design psychology and UX research, risks and need-to-knows for psychologists transitioning into business research, the power of mental models, and more. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
4/20/202230 minutes, 17 seconds
Episode Artwork

#90 - The State of User Research 2022 with Roberta Dombrowski

The State of User Research 2022 Report unpacks the data from our international survey of UX researchers and people who do research as part of their jobs. This week, we met with Roberta Dombrowski, VP of User Research at User Interviews and one of the creators of the report, to talk about how it was made and what she thinks of the insights. She talked about the rise of buy-in and demand for research, what democratization means for professional researchers, and her predictions for the future of user research. Read the transcript and highlights on the User Interviews blog: https://bit.ly/awkward-roberta-sour --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
4/5/202240 minutes, 11 seconds
Episode Artwork

#89 - UX Agencies: Setting Clients Up for Success with Karen VanHouten

Doing user research in an agency setting comes with its own set of challenges—from context switching to stubborn clients to less-than-optimal tool stacks. Karen VanHouten, Director of Product Strategy at Philosophie by InfoBeans, spent most of her career in enterprise B2B before transitioning to agency life. In this podcast episode, Karen shared some great advice on setting expectations, fostering ongoing client relationships, and why she thinks more researchers should be involved in the sales cycle. Read the transcript on the User Interviews blog: https://bit.ly/karen-vanhouten --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
3/30/202239 minutes, 56 seconds
Episode Artwork

#88 - Research Operations for Democratization at Scale with Garrett Tsukada

The democratization of research continues to grow—and with it, the complexities of research operations. This week, we chatted with Garrett Tsukada, Head of Customer Connect UX Research Operations at Intuit about how research ops supports democratization at scale. He talked about how Intuit approaches research democratization for a 14,000+ team, guardrails and processes to ensure research quality, advice for starting and scaling a research operations function, and more. Head to the User Interviews blog for the transcript and highlights: https://bit.ly/awkward-garrett --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
3/2/202236 minutes, 6 seconds
Episode Artwork

#87 - User Interviews 201: Leveling Up Your Interviews with Therese Fessenden of NN/g

You’ve mastered the basics, but now it’s time to take your interviews to the next level. This week, we chatted with Therese Fessenden, Senior User Experience Specialist at NN/g about how to get even better at interviewing. She talked about how to master the basics, hone your skills, and become an A+ interviewer. Head to the User Interviews blog for the transcript and episode highlights: https://bit.ly/awkward-therese --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
2/15/202241 minutes, 32 seconds
Episode Artwork

#86 - Research is Everyone’s Job: The Democratization of Research with Jonathan Widawski, CEO of Maze

Should everyone do research? It’s a tricky question. Yes, research is a craft that takes years to master. But on the other hand, if we want research to happen all the time, everyone needs to be able to do some of the basics on their own. Today, we talked to Jonathan Widawski, Founder and CEO of Maze about how the democratization of research is actually advancing the craft. He talked about the need for researchers to be good teachers, how research can grow in the same way data and design did, and why the future is user-centric. Head to the User Interviews blog for the transcript and episode highlights: https://bit.ly/awkward-jo --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
2/1/202226 minutes, 42 seconds
Episode Artwork

#85 - So Meta: Doing User Research at UXR Company with Roberta Dombrowski of User Interviews

It’s our most meta episode yet. Today, we chatted with Roberta Dombrowski, VP of User Research at User Interviews, about doing user research about user researchers at a user research company. Listen in to learn about how adding a formal user research practice has benefited the UI team, the challenges of going from an IC to a leadership role, and building a research practice from the ground up. Head to the User Interviews blog for the transcript and episode highlights: https://bit.ly/awkward-roberta --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
1/18/202239 minutes, 36 seconds
Episode Artwork

#84 - B2B Recruiting with Matthew Morrison of Braze

Recruiting participants for user research is hard. Recruiting participants from a pool of your own customers? Somehow even harder. There’s client relationships, privacy concerns, and lots of red tape. This week on the podcast, Matthew Morrison joins Erin and JH to share what he’s learned after a year of B2B recruiting at Braze. Head to the User Interviews blog for the transcript and episode highlights: https://bit.ly/awkward-matthew --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
1/4/202241 minutes, 20 seconds
Episode Artwork

#83 - Being Black in UX Research with Dr. Lisanne Norman of Gusto

What’s it like to be black in UX right now? Are companies sticking by their plans for diversity and inclusion? How do researchers ensure their work is as inclusive as possible? This week on the podcast, Dr. Lisanne Norman joins Erin and JH to talk about all this and more. Lisanne is the UX Research Lead at Gusto, a founder of Black UX Austin, and an advocate for diversity and inclusion in tech. Head to the User Interviews blog for the transcript and episode highlights: https://bit.ly/awkward-lisanne --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
12/20/202143 minutes, 10 seconds
Episode Artwork

#82 - Games User Research — with Steve Bromley

Creating a video game requires more than just development time and coding—to make sure the experience is enjoyable, you have to test it. In this episode, User Researcher Steve Bromley joins us to discuss the nuances of conducting user research in the video game industry. He describes integrating user feedback with the developer's creative vision, recruitment for games research, and the evolution of the gaming industry since he first started. Head to the User Interviews blog for the transcript and episode highlights: https://bit.ly/awkward-steve --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
12/8/202145 minutes, 47 seconds
Episode Artwork

#81 - Establishing Sustainable Research Practices with Gregg Bernstein of Condé Nast

How do you build a long lasting research practice? Aim for a healthy one. Gregg Bernstein, User Research Lead at Condé Nast is here to show you how. He’s led research teams at Vox and Mailchimp. This week on the podcast, Gregg talked to us about how to contribute to a healthy research practice every day and what a healthy practice even means. Head to the User Interviews blog for the transcript and episode highlights: https://bit.ly/awkward-gregg --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
11/23/202144 minutes, 11 seconds
Episode Artwork

#80 - UX Research and Arab Cultures – with Norah Abokhodair of Microsoft

Doing research with users from different cultures is (very, very) important. It can also be complicated. In this episode, we are joined by Norah Abokhodair, Senior Program Manager at Microsoft, who spoke about conducting research in Arab cultures. She explained some of the nuances of Arabic and Arab cultures, how to recruit diverse participants, and how to adjust your research style depending on the context. Head to the User Interviews blog for the transcript and episode highlights: https://bit.ly/awkward-norah --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
11/9/202137 minutes, 17 seconds
Episode Artwork

#79 - Participatory Research – with Alexis McNutt Unis of Better

What is participatory research? And how do you include it in your UXR practice? Alexis McNutt Unis, Lead UX Researcher, Homeowner Experience at Better is here to explain. Alexis shared how she involves stakeholders in engaging workshops, co-creates with participants, and takes research readouts to the next level to drive a participatory research practice that works for everyone. Head to the User Interviews blog for the transcript and episode highlights: https://bit.ly/better-alexis --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
10/27/202141 minutes, 48 seconds
Episode Artwork

#78 - Accessible UXR: Recruiting and Researching Participants with Disabilities – with Samuel Proulx of Fable

We learned so much in this week’s episode of Awkward Silences. Samuel Proulx, Accessibility Evangelist at Fable, joined us to talk to us about accessibility and why it (really, really) matters. He taught us about the assistive technologies that many people with disabilities use to navigate the digital world, why accessibility is more important now than ever, and how designing for accessibility makes everyone’s user experience better. Get the transcript and links to resources mentioned on the User Interviews blog: https://bit.ly/3iYs9a1 --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
10/12/202149 minutes, 53 seconds
Episode Artwork

#77 - Breaking Into User Research – with Eniola Abioye of SVB

Eniola Abioye—Senior UX Design Researcher at Silicon Valley Bank and user research career coach—joined us for a special live episode of Awkward Silences. She answered audience questions and shared some of her best tips for crafting a research portfolio that stands out, transitioning from different fields, and why not everyone needs a bootcamp. Get the transcript and links to resources mentioned on the User Interviews blog: https://bit.ly/eniola-ep77 --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
9/29/202151 minutes, 36 seconds
Episode Artwork

#76 - UXRs Need to Care About the Business, Too – with Zack Naylor of Aurelius

This week we’re joined by Zack Naylor, CEO and co-founder of UX research tool Aurelius. We spoke about what researchers need to know about their company, why tying research outcomes to business impact is so important, and how to navigate the waters when business goals and user research don’t align. Zack talked about… Conducting stakeholder interviews to deeply understand your business. Choosing a company that aligns with your values and personal goals. Using business knowledge to get high level stakeholder buy-in. Get the transcript and episode highlights on the User Interviews blog: https://bit.ly/awkward-aurelius --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
9/21/202135 minutes, 47 seconds
Episode Artwork

#75 - Debunking UX Research Myths with Zach Schendel of DoorDash

As a seasoned researcher who has led teams at Unilever, Netflix, and DoorDash,  Zach Schendel has come up against every type of skeptical stakeholder you can imagine. He joined us to chat about the research myths he runs into most often, how he debunks them, and why he wants to banish “let’s do a qual” from everyone’s vocabulary forever. Zach talked about… The 4 UX research myths he’d like to debunk once and for all. Stories from his time at Unilever, Netflix, and DoorDash. How he gets stubborn stakeholders onboard, even if they’re hesitant about the merits of research. Get the transcript: https://bit.ly/zach-doordash --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
9/8/202147 minutes, 41 seconds
Episode Artwork

#74 - Building a Product Vision with Rajesh Nerlikar of Prodify

Rajesh Nerlikar works with companies to help them build great products. As the CEO of Prodify, he and his team advise startups on how to build impactful, vision-led products that get customers excited. In his experience, the best way to get teams on the same page is with a compelling product vision that’s easy to understand. In this episode, Rajesh joins Erin and JH to chat about why great product visions are like comic strips, the hard work of actually putting those visions into action, and how to get stakeholders on board with it all. Get the transcript on the blog: https://bit.ly/rajesh-pod --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
8/24/202140 minutes, 24 seconds
Episode Artwork

#73 - Getting Stakeholder Buy-In at a Large Organization with Meg Pullis Roebling of BNY Mellon

Meg Pullis Roebling, Head of CX Research, Data & Analytics Solutions at BNY Mellon, talks us through her approach to building relationships with stakeholders, finding people to support her research efforts, and making research visible to the whole organization. Meg discussed... How she convinces relationship managers to get clients involved in research. What metrics she uses to make the case for research. How to know when research is weaving its way into the fabric of your organization. Get the transcript: https://bit.ly/awkward-meg --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
8/10/202133 minutes, 38 seconds
Episode Artwork

#72 - How to Ask Great UX Research Questions with Amy Chess of Amazon

Great user research projects start with great research questions. This week on the podcast, Amy Chess, UX Researcher at Amazon, explains why you can’t do great user research without the asking right research questions. She also talked about the difference between interview and research questions, building trust with stakeholders, and why you definitely can’t choose a methodology before you establish a research question. Get the transcript on the User Interviews blog: https://bit.ly/a-chess --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
7/27/202139 minutes, 59 seconds
Episode Artwork

#71 - Running a Blended Research Team with Dave Chen of Flipp

Insights can come from a lot of different places. Dave Chen, Director of Consumer Insights at Flipp, talks about how he streamlines insights with a blended UX, CX, and market research team. His team takes feedback from CX, large survey studies from market research, and qualitative insights from the UX research team to get a more complete view of their customers and their product. Transcript and episode notes available on the User Interviews Blog: https://bit.ly/ux-cx-mktg  --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
7/13/202128 minutes, 37 seconds
Episode Artwork

#70 - Radical Listening and Practical Empathy with Babz Jewell of Variant

What the heck is empathy, anyway? What does empathetic research really look like in practice? Babz Jewell—an ethnographic sociologist and Principal UX Researcher at Variant—joined Erin and JH to share her practical approach to empathy and active listening and how these skills have transformed her UX research process. Babz talked about… How active listening can help UX researchers improve their entire research process. Building better relationships with stakeholders. Using notetaking to be a better active listener. Visit the blog for the full transcript and links to resources mentioned in this episode: https://bit.ly/babz-jewell --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
6/29/202131 minutes, 15 seconds
Episode Artwork

#69 - Thinking Styles and "Average" Users with Indi Young

Indi Young, independent Qualitative Data Scientist, researcher, author, educator, and thought leader joined our hosts to explain how designing for the “average user” can marginalize and harm real people. Indi shared how she finds patterns in people’s behaviors, thoughts, and needs—and how she uses that data to create thinking styles that inform more inclusive design decisions. Indi talked about… Why researchers should look for patterns, not anecdotes, to understand real user needs. What are thinking styles and how to uncover and use them. Why your “average” user often doesn’t exist in the real world, and how we can do better --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
6/18/202148 minutes, 22 seconds
Episode Artwork

#68 - Actionable Generative Research with Lucy Denton of Dovetail

Lucy Denton, Product Design Lead at Dovetail, spoke with Erin and JH about how she tackled a large-scale opportunity research project with a small team. She talked about how she got the whole team involved, how they turned all that research into actionable insights, and what they’ve built with them so far. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
6/1/202130 minutes, 41 seconds
Episode Artwork

#67 - Growing a UX Research Startup with Basel Fakhoury of User Interviews and Benjamin Humphrey of Dovetail

This week we’re mixing things up a bit. In this special episode, Basel Fakhoury, CEO and cofounder of User Interviews, and Benjamin Humphrey, CEO and cofounder of Dovetail, sat down for a conversation about starting a company in the UX research space, current projects, and what they think the future holds for user research tools. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
5/18/202137 minutes, 22 seconds
Episode Artwork

#66 - Agile Research Ops with Joey Encarnacion of Slack

How do you measure success in a still-evolving field? Joey Encarnacion, Senior Research Operations Lead at Slack, has been working in research ops since 2017. He joined us on the pod to talk about Slack’s Rolling Research program, what success looks like for his team, and how he builds systems that scale. Joey discussed… Ensuring research ops can scale by building the smallest operable system first How he measures the success of his efforts in such a new field Slack’s Rolling Research program --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
5/4/202140 minutes, 18 seconds
Episode Artwork

#65 - The Best of Awkward Silences (So Far)

To celebrate our launch on Product Hunt, we're taking some time to reflect on what Awkward Silences is all about. We'd appreciate your support in our (belated) launch here: https://www.producthunt.com/posts/awkward-silences-podcast Guests featured in this episode, in order: Jon Macdonald, Founder of the Good Cat Noone, CEO of Stark Roy Opata Olende, Research Operations Manager at Zapier Maria Rosala, User Experience Specialist at Nielsen Norman Group Joel Klettke, Founder of Case Study Buddy Erika Hall, Co-Founder and Director of Strategy at Mule Design Harrison Wheeler, Senior Manager, Product Design at LinkedIIn  --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
4/30/20217 minutes, 56 seconds
Episode Artwork

#64 - Civic Tech with Cyd Harrell

Whether you’re paying a parking ticket or getting a divorce, chances are high that you’ll go through some (if not all) of that process online. Chances are also good that the UX of that process will be… not great. Cyd Harrell wants to change that. Cyd—prominent Civic Design Consultant and Service Design Lead at the Judicial Council of California—has been working in civic tech since 2012. She’s passionate about helping governments create digital services that meet people where they are. In this episode, Cyd joins Erin and JH to talk about her past projects, navigating the public sector, what inspired her to get involved in civic tech, and how people can contribute to the field. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
4/20/202142 minutes, 49 seconds
Episode Artwork

#63 - Information Architecture in UX with Page Laubheimer of NN/g

Information architecture is everywhere. Page Laubheimer, Senior User Experience Specialist at Nielsen Norman Group, joins our hosts to shed some light on the complicated topic of IA and how the way we organize data impacts how we interact with products. He explains how and when to do IA work on a UX project, which research methods you’ll need, and how to launch your IA career. See the blog for the transcript and highlights from the episode: http://bit.ly/IA-podcast --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
4/6/202143 minutes, 4 seconds
Episode Artwork

#62 - The State of User Research with Katryna Balboni

Katryna Balboni, the content director at User Interviews, joins our hosts to dive into the data from our State of User Research 2021 report. They chat about the challenges of survey design and distribution, the impact of stakeholder engagement on UX researcher fulfillment, and the changing landscape of UX research. Bonus fun facts about medieval data collection included. See the blog for the transcript, links to resources, and a bonus medieval fun fact: http://bit.ly/sour-podcast --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
3/23/202135 minutes, 42 seconds
Episode Artwork

#61 - The Role of Research in CX Transformation with Kim Salazar of Nielsen Norman Group

Is your company truly customer-centric? Are your systems actually helping you create better experiences for your customers? Last week, Kim Salazar, Senior User Experience Specialist at Nielsen Norman Group, joined us for a live podcast episode to share valuable insights from her own work with teams trying to create truly customer-centric companies through CX transformation. She highlighted the importance of drawing from multiple sources of data and communicating the business benefits of CX work. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
3/9/202148 minutes, 20 seconds
Episode Artwork

#60 - Discovery Research and Interview Skills with Maria Rosala of Nielsen Norman Group

Are your research discoveries really discoveries? Or are you collecting validation for your own assumptions? That’s just one of the big questions Maria Rosala, UX Specialist at Nielsen Norman Group, tackled in our second-ever live “podinar.” Maria shared her expertise on conducting thoughtful discovery research and user interviews. Listen to (or watch!) the episode to learn: Why the discovery process is a non-negotiable part doing quality user research  Maria’s favorite discovery methods How to get stakeholder buy-in Tips for conducting better, more insightful interviews & more... --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
2/18/202147 minutes
Episode Artwork

#59 - Ethical Hacking, Information Security, and UX with Ted Harrington of ISE

Building great products is hard. Building great, secure, products is even harder. This week on Awkward Silences, we talked to Ted Harrington about the intersection between security and UX. He outlined what exactly ethical hackers do, how he challenges stakeholder assumptions about security work, and what teams can do to ensure their systems are secure. Ted talked about… What UX and security work have in common How teams can ensure their work is more secure Some of the common issues and myths he encounters --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
2/1/202128 minutes, 11 seconds
Episode Artwork

#58 - The Lone UXR: Being a UX Research Team of One with Izzy Nichols

Being a research team of one isn’t easy. When you’re the only researcher at a company, you have to do every type of research, recruiting, planning, and analysis by yourself—all without the resources of a large team. But for Imani “Izzy” Nichols, being a UX research team of one is an exciting challenge. She’s been a team of one twice now and has learned a lot from her experience. In this episode of Awkward Silences, Izzy talked about how being a team of one allowed her to focus on championing research, leveling up her career in meaningful ways, and growing her skills. Izzy talked about… How she finds mentors and a sense of community. How to educate your teammates about the differences between market and UX research. How to conquer the inevitable imposter syndrome that comes with being the first and only researcher. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
1/19/202127 minutes, 40 seconds
Episode Artwork

#57 - Research Amid Sudden Change: Working on Google Classroom During COVID with Amanda Rosenburg of Google.

In March 2020, Google Classroom’s user base grew from 30 million to hundreds of millions almost overnight. As schools closed, teachers needed new ways to conduct lessons and manage their work. This meant that Amanda Rosenburg, a Staff UX Researcher & Team Lead working on Google Classroom, had a lot of work to do. Research requests were suddenly piling up, and her team needed to execute quickly to help the product team adapt to new and unexpected challenges. Amanda talked about… How she adjusted her research strategy to cover more ground, faster. Her biggest challenges, and the changes she’s sticking with. How students and teachers are coping with all this change. Read the transcript here:  --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
1/5/202135 minutes, 10 seconds
Episode Artwork

#56 - 2020, UXR Year In Review

The year is wrapping up and it’s finally time to say bye forever to 2020 👋. The hosts of Awkward Silences, Erin May and JH Forster, took this opportunity to reflect on some of the things that happened in research this year, what changes they think are here to stay, and what they see on the horizon in 2021. They also revisited some of the best conversations we’ve had on the podcast so far, like chatting with Vivianne Castillo about self-care, Cat Noone about accessibility, and Randy Duke about diversity and inclusion in UXR. Erin and JH talked about… How work and research changed this year. What changes they think are going to stick. What they expect for 2021. Highlights [2:48] Erin and JH talk about the world going remote and vulnerability at work. [16:08] Dark design patterns and how UXers are working on fixing them. [19:31] UX Collective's 2020 lessons and what we learned. [22:49] Accessibility is a growing focus for researchers and designers. [26:46] How are we going to adjust to life after COVID? --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
12/22/202035 minutes, 43 seconds
Episode Artwork

#55 - So You Want to Be In Research Ops? How Roy Olende of Zapier Made The Switch

There is a growing need for research operations. As more companies embrace the importance of user research and scale their UXR efforts, a dedicated ops function is quickly becoming a necessity. Research ops—which involves things like participant recruitment, research processes, and programs to help non-researchers do better research—can be a career path for many different kinds of people. Roy has worked with ops pros who come from traditional business operations, marketing, UX, and of course, research. He says the key to succeeding in a research ops role isis to being comfortable with blazing a new trail and taking joy in creating processes that work. Roy talked about… How to decide if research ops is a good career for you What he does on a day to day basis How research ops works at Zapier --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
12/8/202039 minutes, 26 seconds
Episode Artwork

#54 - From Start to Finish: End-to-End Experience Teams with Danielle Smith of Express Scripts

Understanding your product from start to finish is easier said than done. The same goes for integrating research into every stage of a project. Danielle Smith found that she would often work on foundational projects for a product team, then move right along to the next thing, losing sight of the end-to-end experience. When she was tasked with building the research team at Express Scripts, she knew she wanted to have a better view of the big picture. So she brought  data scientists, analysts, pro survey designers, and user researchers together to create a superpowered experience team. Danielle talked about… How combining different disciplines has improved her recruitment process. Being able to support more cross-functional career interests. What she’d do differently if she built a team like this from the ground up again. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
11/24/202026 minutes, 47 seconds
Episode Artwork

#53 - Everything in Context: Anthropology and User Research with Vanessa Whatley of Google

User research and anthropology have more in common that you may realize. Both involve studying the way people interact with their surroundings and make critical decisions, though anthropologists focus on the cultures and societies that shape behavior. This week on Awkward Silences, Erin and JH chatted with Vanessa Whatley—a Senior UX Researcher at Google—about what researchers can learn from anthropology. Vanessa talked about… How anthropology can teach user researchers to look more closely at the context of participants’ decisions and behaviors The benefits of a diverse research team, And how she puts insights into perspective for stakeholders. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
11/10/202041 minutes, 22 seconds
Episode Artwork

#52 - The Missing Ingredient: How Storytelling Can Make User Research More Impactful with Harrison Wheeler, UX Design Manager at LinkedIn

People are 22% more likely to remember something when it’s presented as a story, rather than a cut and dry fact. So if you’re struggling to get stakeholders to care about and utilize your research, storytelling can be the key to getting research to stick.  This week on the podcast, Erin and JH chatted with Harrison Wheeler, UX Design Manager at LinkedIn and host of Technically Speaking, about the power of storytelling. Harrison talked about how getting everyone on board with storytelling can make the facts of research stick around for longer, learning if your research presentations are engaging, and reminding everyone that it’s all about the users.  Highlights [4:13] Ideally, research is the base for everything. Your whole team starts with research and learns to use it to tell compelling stories about the product. [8:17] Understanding your audience, their expertise, and how they like to consume data is incredibly important to telling a story that sticks. [13:47] Telling your user story by using quotes is really impactful at the beginning of a project. [19:07] Practicing telling fact-based stories about research helps you reflect on how well you know the information. [23:23] Knowing what kinds of media resonates well with your key stakeholders can help you tell a better story on their terms. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
10/28/202031 minutes, 30 seconds
Episode Artwork

#51 - Uncharted Territory: AI, User Research, and What’s Next with with Hana Nagel Service Designer at Element AI

AI is becoming a part of everything we do. With voice-activated smart homes, ad targeting algorithms, and increasingly smart cars, AI is more and more a part of the fabric of daily life. But how do we make sure AI is built in a way that is user-friendly, unbiased, and ethically sound? That's where user research comes in. Erin and JH chatted with Hana Nagel, a Service Designer at Element AI, about how she researches for AI, why inputs are just as important as outputs, and the ethics around improving AI through your data.  Highlights [2:53] Establishing the ethics around AI is a collaboration between private enterprise, governmental organizations, and the civic sector. [4:53] The difficult part of researching for AI is assessing how people may feel about something they've never interacted with before. [9:25] A big challenge for theAI industry as a whole is how comfortable are we with giving up our data in exchange for optimization? [14:42] How the system as a whole is responsible for AI outputs, not just the individuals who work on the AI. [24:59] It is incredibly important to identify our own biases when building AI systems. This involves a lot of self-reflection to root out biases you may not know you have. [32:42] In Hana's dream world, the work of creating and researching AI would be more widely shared among people with different expertise to create something more reflective of many perspectives. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
10/14/202034 minutes, 35 seconds
Episode Artwork

#50 - To Manage or Not to Manage? Leveling Up Your UX Research Career with Amber Davis, UXR Director at Audible

It's time to take the next step in your research career, but is management right for you? Erin & JH chatted with Amber Davis, UXR Director at Audible, about her journey as a research manager, how to evaluate what you really want from your career, and who to talk to when you're ready to level up.  --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
9/30/202040 minutes, 27 seconds
Episode Artwork

#49 - The Magic of Diary Studies with Tony Turner of Progressive

Looking to add a new research method to your stack? Diary studies are a great way to get to know what your users are thinking in context, plus they can be run remotely! We chatted with Tony Turner, Lead UX Researcher at Progressive Insurance, about how his team uses diary studies to build out better customer experiences.  He offered some tips on scaling up diary studies, which tools he uses to get the job done, and how he uses the data he gathers from diary studies to build out customer journey maps.  Highlights [4:03] Diary studies are all about context. [9:08] Tony talks about how he combines self reported data from diary studies with in-app analytics. [10:27] Using a mixture of open ended questions and closed ones is incredibly important to getting the most useful feedback. [12:32] Recruiting early is key in a dairy study because it gives you time to find the best participants for your work. [14:54] It's ok if every participant doesn't answer every prompt, as long as you're getting the moments that matter. [19:37] If diary studies seem intimidating, start small with just a few participants. You can hone your skills and get lots of great insights. [21:44] After each diary study, Tony and his team make individual journey maps for each participant that help them understand how different people experience the process. [28:05] User research is all about helping people share their stories and experiences.  --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
9/16/202028 minutes, 46 seconds
Episode Artwork

#48 - Rising to the Moment: UXR, Diversity, & Inclusion with Randy Duke of Cantina

This week on the podcast, Erin and JH chatted with Randy Duke, Senior Research & Design Strategist at Cantina. They covered a topic that's on many people's minds right now, systemic racism and inequality, and how UX research can have a positive (or negative) impact on these systems. Randy talked with us about UXR's role in all this, how we can work to change the systems we work in, and how we can create more inclusive research. Highlights [4:58] A good place to start thinking about how to address inequality is to reflect on the system we work in. [6:03] People in UXR help to bring truth to the organization through research, which puts them in a good position to do it in a greater context. [8:46] Now is the time to really dig into the messiness that comes with the details of user research. [10:22] You need to be actively seeking out feedback and information from all of your users and thinking about their unique situations. If you don't, you're opening yourself up for failure. [12:49] We spend a lot of time asking if we can build something, rather than should we built it. [14:57] Don't look at where you can go wrong when solving a new problem, look at what you can do to get it right. That means including people of diverse backgrounds from the start. [18:25] To make more inclusive panels when you recruit, think about the demographics that are actually important to your study. If you're recruiting for a test of a new keyboard on a mobile phone, does the person's income or location really matter? [26:35] Inclusivity is not only the right thing to do morally, it's also the law. [28:25] Randy talks about the difference between how think something will be used vs. how it is actually used and the importance of checking in. [31:35] It's also important to think about how features and products could be abused. [35:08] At the end of the day, systems work because we allow them to work. Taking the time to stand up and say things should be different is the only way to create change. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
9/2/202041 minutes, 46 seconds
Episode Artwork

#47 - Up and to the Right: How User Research Improves Conversion Rates with Jon MacDonald, Founder of The Good 📈

We've been more and more curious about how user research can be used by more than just researchers. This week, Erin and JH chatted with Jon MacDonald, founder of The Good, about how marketers can use research to improve conversion rates. He talked about what conversion rate optimization really is, how to get stakeholders to see the value of research work, and why the key to conversion success is really just giving users what they came to your site for in the first place.  --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
8/4/202040 minutes, 22 seconds
Episode Artwork

#46 - Help! Creating Better Help Content with Andrew Sandler, Director of Innovation and Experience Strategy at Adobe

When Andrew joined Adobe back in November, he faced an interesting design challenge. How do you manage a vast library of help content, spanning tons of different products in different industries, so that users can easily find what they need to know to fix their problems? Andrew has learned a lot about leveraging the power of community to problem solve, experimenting with different formats to make technical explanations more accessible, and proving the value of great help content.  Erin and JH chatted with him about how he positions help content to stakeholders, tackles creating content for products that have evolved from box software to the cloud, and uses research to focus on the right things at the right time.  Highlights [1:43] Great product doesn't need as much help content, but people will always need help, and the more powerful your product is, the more help they will need. [8:53] By connecting customers with the right information through communities, they're 3x less likely to reach out to support for help. [10:59] Early engagement = better retention, so Adobe segments out its customers to focus on what gets them started. [13:35] Adobe has segments and chapters to keep everyone on the same page and communicating well. [25:20] People who get value from help content actually end up having a higher lifetime value. It's all about trust and mutual respect. [27:41] How Adobe creates help content for different languages and cultures. [32:09] How Andrew is thinking about simplifying solutions, and making help content work smarter, not harder [37:58] Help content and product can work together to create even better solutions for users. [39:32] Quantitative information can tell you what some of the issues are, while qualitative can help your team dig deeper into why they're there [43:03] Building out recommendations for other things you may be looking for helps your help content build a story for the user. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
7/15/202044 minutes, 35 seconds
Episode Artwork

#45 - Get Aligned: How Alignment Can Speed Up Your Work with Jonathon Hensley of Emerge Interactive

This week on the pod, Erin and JH chatted with Jonathan Hensley, Co-Founder and CEO of Emerge Interactive, about the power of alignment right now. He talked about what alignment means for teams, how it can help speed up your process, and where research fits into the picture.  --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
7/2/202044 minutes, 27 seconds
Episode Artwork

#44 - Researcher, Take the Wheel: Being Data-Driven vs. Data-Informed with Hannah Shamji, Head of Research at Copyhackers

There's a lot of data out there. Keeping track of Google Analytics, NPS scores, site metrics, usability test results, industry data, and everything else can be downright overwhelming. Which is why Hannah Shamji, Head of Research at Copyhackers, likes to say she's doing data-informed work, not data-driven work. For Hannah, her team, and her clients, working with tons of data can be overwhelming. Since you can usually find at least one graph to support a research point, it's important to put data in context. Hannah outlined how she gets in the zone with large amounts of data, puts things in context while doing her best to stay unbiased, and frames data around her research questions. Highlights [2:12] The difference between being data-informed and data-driven. [6:21] Why it's important to put data in context and pull from many different sources. [9:25] How Hannah approaches data through the lens of her research question. [16:40] How Hannah tries to build data narratives that tell both sides of the story. [23:21] Digging deep into data is a little bit like meditating. [27:07] Hannah, Erin, and JH chat about data and COVID-19. (This episode was recorded on April 24, 2020.) --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
6/12/202031 minutes, 35 seconds
Episode Artwork

#43 - UX Benchmarking: Demonstrate Design ROI with Kate Moran, UX Specialist at Nielsen Norman Group

UX benchmarking can help teams set goals, keep an eye on how their designs are improving, and most importantly, show the ROI value of their work. Kate Moran, a UX Specialist at Nielsen Norman Group, joined Erin and JH yesterday for our very first live podcast and gave us all the details on UX benchmarking. She outlined specific case studies of creative benchmarking, walked through how to demonstrate ROI, and highlighted when and how benchmarking is most useful to UX teams. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
5/29/202050 minutes, 19 seconds
Episode Artwork

#42 - 2 for 1: Combining Customer Research & Sales Demos with Jane Portman, Co-Founder of Userlist and Host of UI Breakfast

Sales demos are a great opportunity to get to know your customers. The person on the other end is interested in your product, looking for a solution to a problem, and likely have some pain points with their current solutions. That's why Jane Portman, co-founder of Userlist, uses demos as an opportunity to connect with potential customers, keep pain points top of mind, and learn how to make her product even better.  She chatted with Erin and JH about why she's doing customer research and sales demos at the same time, how constantly talking to customers helps her develop a better product, and how she came up with the podcast name UI Breakfast.  --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
5/20/202035 minutes, 20 seconds
Episode Artwork

#41 - 10x: User Research for Growth with Aazar Shad of Userpilot

We’ve heard from a lot of designers and user researchers on the show, but we’re always looking for fresh perspectives on how research can help your business. So this week, Erin and JH chatted with Aazar Shad, Head of Growth at Userpilot, about how research methods are essential to his growth strategy. Aazar started using research methods to find our who his users were but continued using them to grow Userpilot’s business. He talked about how secondary research helped him find the best ways to connect with his target audience, continuous interviews help him identify where to go next, and how he honed his research skills over time.  --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
5/7/202033 minutes, 29 seconds
Episode Artwork

#40 - Dream Stack: Create an ROI Driving User Research Toolset with Daniel Loewus-Deitch and Leo Smith

With so many research tools on the market, it can be hard to nail down exactly which ones are right for your team. This week on the pod, Erin and JH chatted with Daniel Loewus-Deitch and Leo Smith, who are the Directors of User Experience and Research, respectively, at a large insurance company. They wanted to learn more about how Daniel and Leo choose the tools with the best ROI for their team. Daniel and Leo have spent a lot of time building out their tool stack. Since they have a lot of experience working for large organizations with many people conducting research and even more consuming it, it was important to them to get it right. In this episode, they talked about how they evaluate the ROI of tools, the summit they assembled to identify the tools their team could and would use, and how important it is to leave your assumptions at the door when tool-hunting. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
4/30/202049 minutes, 20 seconds
Episode Artwork

#39 - A User Interview Every Day for A Year with Jonathan Anderson of Candu

After three failed MVPs, Jonathan Anderson and the team at Candu realized they needed a better strategy for understanding how users interact with their product. So they started doing some user interviews. And they kept doing them. Every day for a year before launching their product. Jonathan chatted with Erin and JH about what he learned from those interviews, how it changed the direction of his company, and how he went from a total newbie to a research pro.  --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
4/17/202031 minutes, 17 seconds
Episode Artwork

#38 - Accessibility, User Research, and Inclusive Design with Cat Noone, CEO of Stark

This week on the pod, Erin and JH talk to Cat Noone, CEO of Stark, a suite of tools designed to help teams ship accessible work. They chatted about how accessibility is constantly evolving, what teams can do to get started, and inclusive design.  --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
4/10/202034 minutes, 47 seconds
Episode Artwork

#37 - Using Research to Write Next Level Copy with Joel Klettke of Business Casual Copywriting

This week on Awkward Silences, Erin and JH chatted with Joel Klettke, who has 6+ years of experience writing killer conversion copy for clients like Hubspot, Scott's Cheap Flights, and WP Engine. His first piece of advice? "All the best copy [is] words you've stolen from the customers themselves." He also stressed the importance of meeting your customers where they are, involving copy from the start of any new project, and structuring your user research so it's easy to pull out the best insights. He walked us through how he used research to make changes at Hubspot that resulted in a 35% increase in demo requests and a 27% increase in inbound call volume. He also outlined how he used chatbot data to help an online divorce startup net an extra 165k in revenue by answering questions their users needed answers to. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
3/25/202047 minutes
Episode Artwork

#36 - User Research as a Growth Engine at Early Stage Startups with Loic Alix-Brown, CEO of Flick

This week on Awkward Silences, Erin and JH chatted with Loic Alix-Brown, CEO of Flick. They talked about how he built his MVP, how his research strategy has changed as his business has grown, how he used research to find the right pricing structure for his customers, and how he's maintained a regular research cadence amidst the chaos of launching a startup.  Read the transcript + highlights here: https://bit.ly/2WpDtBs --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
3/19/202032 minutes, 4 seconds
Episode Artwork

#35 - Democratizing Research in Large Enterprise Companies with Luke Fraser of Paper Ventures

This week on the pod, Erin and JH chatted with Luke Fraser, Founder & Managing Director of Paper Ventures. They work with insurance innovation and product development teams to get products to market faster. Before starting Paper Ventures, Luke worked at IDEO's Design Lab and Liberty Mutual Insurance as a Product Manager. All in all, he's spent a lot of time working with teams at large enterprise companies, with lots of red tape around user research. He chatted with Erin and JH about how he democratizes research in risk adverse environments, works with legal teams instead of against them, and even how he got teammates from legal to start attending daily standups.  --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
3/12/202031 minutes, 31 seconds
Episode Artwork

#34 - Self Care As A UX Researcher with Vivianne Castillo of Salesforce

Vivianne Castillo’s career has always been human-centered. She started off as a counselor, helping people navigate through complex issues, but eventually found her way to UX research, helping companies better understand their users.  Though she loves user research, she’s found it frustrating that it doesn’t adopt the same standards of care for its practitioners that counseling and other human service work does. Since researchers deal with the messy task of human emotion, all those sessions can take a toll on them. Things like compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma occur often, but without a name for what they’re feeling or the tools to do something about it, researchers are left feeling burned out and unsuccessful. Erin and JH chatted with Vivianne about how researchers can take better care of themselves and how they can empower their teams support each other psychologically.  📚 Read the full blog post and transcript here --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
2/14/202039 minutes, 16 seconds
Episode Artwork

#33 - Using Session Replay Tools to Supercharge Your User Research with Elyse Bogacz

This week on the pod, we chatted with Elyse Bogacz, who has worked on product on Drift, Runkeeper, and now NDVR. She walked us through how she uses session replay tools like FullStory to supercharge her user research. She talked about how she shares replays with developers and stakeholders, how she deals with privacy issues, and how other teams can use session replay tools to add to their user research programs.  --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
1/31/202033 minutes, 32 seconds
Episode Artwork

#32 - 7 Reasons Not To Do User Research with Michele Ronsen

Erin and JH chat with Michele Ronsen, founder of Curiosity Tank and General Assembly instructor. Michele talks to a lot of different people about user research, and she's found there are some situations where user research is (😱) not the best move forward. In fact, there are 7. Michele walked us through each one, and what teams should do instead.   --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
1/7/202042 minutes, 33 seconds
Episode Artwork

#31 - Why No One Listens to Your Research Reports with Caitria O’Neill of Google

If you’ve ever presented research to a crowd of glazed over eyes, or sent around a detailed report only to hear back crickets, this episode is for you. After reading Caitria O’Neill’s article UX Research is Boring and No One Reads It, we knew we had to chat with her. Caitria has made sure research is heard, absorbed, and utilized in companies like Airbnb and Facebook before moving on to her current role as a Senior UX Researcher at Google. She shared tips on how to make research reports fun, storing insights so they’re used more often, and how she makes the whole process easier for herself and her team. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
12/6/201946 minutes, 47 seconds
Episode Artwork

#30 - How 3 Mailchimp Researchers Landed Their Dream Jobs with Jud Vaughan, Khalida Allen, and Christianne Elliott

There are many ways to become a UX Researcher. To learn more about the winding career paths many researchers take, Erin and JH talked to Jud Vaughan, Khalida Allen, and Christianne Elliott, who are all UX Researchers at Mailchimp. Though they all hold the same job at the same company, they took very different paths to get there. Jud started at a Support Technician at Mailchimp and worked his way over to the Research department. Khalida wanted to go into medicine and studied Psychology in college. Then she got into the startup scene and began doing freelance design and research and eventually found herself at Mailchimp. Christianne also studied Psychology and wanted to go into medicine, but fell in love with academic research and moved into that after school. She wanted a new challenge and found her way to UX Research at Mailchimp.  --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
11/7/201949 minutes, 15 seconds
Episode Artwork

#29 - Researching Your Own Users with Chad Aldous of Abodo

Researching with your own users means you have to make some special considerations. When was the last time they used your product? Where are they in the funnel? When was the last time they participated in a research session with you? We chatted with Chad Aldous, Head of Design and Co-founder of Abodo, an apartment listing company, about how he and his team handle research with their own users. He chatted with Erin and JH about doing continuous and one-off research projects, how he chooses the right users to talk to, and how he creates great research invites that get results.  --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
10/23/201926 minutes, 43 seconds
Episode Artwork

# 28 - Part 3 - The Three Tiers of Culturalization with Chui Chui Tan of Beyō Global

This is the third episode in our three part series on cross-cultural research. In this episode, Erin and JH chat with Chui Chui Tan, author of  International User Research and Founder of Beyō Global. Chui Chui walked us through her "three tiers of culturalization", which can help international and cross-cultural researchers focus in on what they need to be researching. She also talked about how to prioritize different elements of your research based on the culture you're researching, the product you're working on, and how those two things interact with each other.  --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
10/17/201933 minutes, 2 seconds
Episode Artwork

# 27 - Part 2 - International Markets and Anthropology with Leia Atkinson of Shopify

This is the second episode in our three part series on cross-cultural research. In this episode, Erin and JH chat with Leia Atkinson, Senior Market Researcher at Shopify. Leia chatted with Erin and JH about how her degree in Anthropology helps her learn more about international audiences through research. She shared her technique for recruiting participants through "snowballing", how she deals with culture shock, and how she maximizes her learning each time she takes a research trip abroad.   --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
10/17/201924 minutes, 23 seconds
Episode Artwork

# 26 - Part 1 - Cross Cultural Research in Action with Elsa Ho of Uber

This is the first episode in our three part series on cross-cultural research. In this episode, Erin and JH chat with Elsa Ho, a Senior UX Researcher at Uber who works on airports and events. Elsa is no stranger to international and cross-cultural research though, she's spent most of her career helping companies and teams learn about international audiences. She walked through some of the meaningful cultural differences she's encountered over the years, how she works with translators to ensure she's getting the full message, and how she makes the most of each trip.  --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
10/17/201922 minutes, 44 seconds
Episode Artwork

# 25 - Why Participants Participate in User Research with Brittany Rutherford of User Interviews

We’ve talked a lot about how researchers do research, now it’s time to hear from the participants. We invited our Participant Marketing Lead, Brittany Rutherford, and had some recent participants leave voicemails about their experience. We asked participants, "why do you participate in user research?" to help us understand how participants think about user research and how we can make their experience better.  --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
10/1/201928 minutes, 33 seconds
Episode Artwork

#24 - What's in a Name? Building Custom Research Programs that Stick with Vicki Tollemache of Grubhub

How do you get everyone on board with research? Vicki Tollemache has found that building a branded research practice that's fun, engaging, and impactful is pretty effective. She started Grubhub's Parts Unknown research practice to involve everyone in researching emerging markets and exploring new ideas within their product. Erin and JH talked to Vicki about how she set up Parts Unknown, the effect its had on Grubhub, and her tips for establishing your own standing research day. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
9/23/201939 minutes, 55 seconds
Episode Artwork

#23 - How to Interview Customers Continuously with Teresa Torres of Product Talk

Everyone wants to talk to customers more often, but Teresa Torres of Product Talk wants teams to do it at every opportunity. This week on the pod, Erin and JH chatted with Teresa about continuous interviewing. She shared tips on how to get started with continuous interviewing, be a great active listener, and work customer feedback into more of your product decisions. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
8/20/201942 minutes, 25 seconds
Episode Artwork

#22 - Why the Twitterverse Can Stop Freaking Out About the Evils of Personas with Andy Budd of Clearleft

Personas are polarizing, some love them, but many love to hate them. This week, Erin and JH talk to Andy Budd, CEO and co-founder of Clearleft about why the social mediaverse should stop freaking out about the evils of personas. They're a tool in the toolkit, and come with contextualized nuance all their own. Read our blog post about it here: https://bit.ly/2KA7B5H --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
8/8/201928 minutes, 57 seconds
Episode Artwork

#21 - Why Surveys [Almost Always] Suck with Erika Hall of Mule Design

Surveys are everywhere. They bombard us at every turn, and most of them aren't even helping teams learn what they need to know. We chatted with Erika Hall, co-founder of Mule Design and author of Just Enough Research about why most surveys suck and what we can do about it. Check out our blog post about this episode here 👉 https://bit.ly/2O5oDOg --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
7/23/201943 minutes, 34 seconds
Episode Artwork

#20 - Why Being Wrong is Right with Alec Levin of The UXR Collective

This week on the pod, we talked to Alec Levin, one of the co-founders of UX Research Toronto, a major UXR conference. He chatted with us about something he thinks UX research needs more of—failure. He put it this way in the podcast, "If you’re batting 100% on all your points of view, you’re not trying hard enough. You’re working on stuff that’s too easy." Erin and JH chatted with him about being open to new ideas, challenging yourself, and being transparent about your work.  --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
7/10/201928 minutes, 33 seconds
Episode Artwork

#19 - What UX Researchers Can Learn From Children with Noam Segal of Wealthfront

This week on the podcast, Erin and JH talk to Noam Segal, Director of User Research at Wealthfront. Noam recently gave a talk at the UXR Strive conference in Toronto, and after hearing all the buzz we had to chat with him about it ourselves. He shared some lessons he's learned about research from his four year old daughter, including, keep your eye on the prize, find a method in the madness, tell it like it is, be a good host, and believe in magic.  --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
6/28/201945 minutes, 24 seconds
Episode Artwork

#18 - Juggling Hardware and Software (and Service Design) Research with Susan Rice of Toast

This week on the podcast, Erin and JH talk to Susan Rice, Head of of Product Design and Research, at Toast. As Toast developed their Toast Go, a handheld POS system for restaurants, Susan learned a lot about researching for both hardware and software at the same time. She also talked about her passion for service design, what she loves about working in design and research, and how she juggles design for B2B, B2C, and everything in between. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
5/30/201928 minutes, 26 seconds
Episode Artwork

#17 - Is It Ok To Recline Your Seat On An Airplane? with Bob Saris of User Interviews

This week, we’re doing something a little bit different. We’re talking to the CTO of User Interviews, Bob Saris, and a bunch of random strangers about one of the biggest questions out there—is it ok to recline your seat on an airplane? We got our whole team involved to do some on-the-street research. Read all about it here: https://bit.ly/2w3iUfU --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
5/16/201922 minutes, 1 second
Episode Artwork

#16 - How to Facilitate User Research in Any Team with Nicola Rushton

This week on Awkward Silences, we talked to pro UX designer and researcher Nicola Rushton. She's worked with teams large and small to facilitate fantastic research. She walked us through how she does it and how to think of researchers as facilitators of learning. Read all about it here: https://bit.ly/2VRwqSk --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
5/8/201928 minutes, 12 seconds
Episode Artwork

#15 - Starting a ResearchOps Practice with Kate Towsey of Atlassian

This week on Awkward Silences, we talked to Kate Towsey, who is the Research Operations Manager at Atlassian. You may know her as the person who started the ResearchOps Slack community in March of 2018. In the past year, the ResearchOps community has grown and Kate has left her consulting career to join Atlassian. Erin and JH talked to Kate about how she's started a ResearchOps practice and what she's excited to see as ResearchOps grows. Read more here: https://bit.ly/2XZavWK --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
5/1/201944 minutes, 23 seconds
Episode Artwork

#14 - 3 Ways to Make a Potentially Awkward User Interview Less Awkward with Adam Sigel of Hometap

This week, we're maxing out on awkward. Erin and JH talked to Adam Sigel, Head of Product at Hometap, about the (potentially) awkward and (usually) emotional interviews that make up his research with homeowners. Through his years in product, he's learned some things about making user interviews less awkward. Check out the full blog post here: https://bit.ly/2DyY7Vw --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
4/24/201927 minutes, 1 second
Episode Artwork

#13 - Make Qualitative Research Your Competitive Marketing Advantage with Katelyn Bourgoin of Customer Camp

Talking to customers is pretty powerful stuff. This week Erin & JH talked to Katelyn Bourgoin, 3x startup founder and growth geek, about how qualitative research can become your marketing team's competitive advantage. Learn more about the episode here https://bit.ly/2IHsbSu --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
4/18/201936 minutes, 58 seconds
Episode Artwork

#12 - 3 Essential Times for Qualitative Research With Shipra Kayan of Upwork

This week on the podcast, Erin and JH talk to Shipra Kayan. After 10 years of working in UX design and research at Upwork, she's launched her own consultancy. On the pod, she talked about getting your research started on the right foot, no matter what kind of research you're doing or how big your team is. Read all about it at https://bit.ly/2Z6gyKH --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
4/11/201930 minutes, 36 seconds
Episode Artwork

#11 - Integrating Research Faster with John Cutler of Amplitude

This week on Awkward Silences, we talked to John Cutler, Product Evangelist at Amplitude. He talks about how to integrate research faster, starting together with your whole team, and practicing just-in-time research. Want to learn more about what we talked about in this episode? Check out our blog post here: https://bit.ly/2CEaoaO --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
3/27/201936 minutes, 52 seconds
Episode Artwork

#10 - Give Us Your Feedback and Reviews (Retro #1) - with Erin & JH

In this special edition episode, we're talking about what we think about the podcast so far and where we hope to go. We want your feedback to help us decide what to do next! Let us know what you think here: https://bit.ly/2uoijV9 --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
3/22/201935 minutes, 7 seconds
Episode Artwork

#9 - Running Amazing Remote UX Research Sessions with Sonya Badigian of Marketade

Erin and JH talk to Sonya Badigian, UX and Content Specialist at Marketade. As a researcher at a fully-remote company, Sonya is a big fan of remote research. She walks us through how remote research can be affordable, flexible, and fun.  Want to learn more about remote user research? Check out our blog post! https://bit.ly/2O2O3Iz --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
3/13/201929 minutes, 47 seconds
Episode Artwork

#8 - Continuously Delivering and Discovering with James Aylward of Pluralsight

What does it take to run a team that's constantly researching customers and shipping product? James Aylward of Pluralsight has a framework that keeps his team moving while creating products that are all about the customer. In this episode, he talks about Pluralsight's directed discovery process and how they assemble awesome teams that keep it all moving.  Want to learn more? Check out our blog post: https://bit.ly/2BVI0Rn --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
2/27/201931 minutes, 11 seconds
Episode Artwork

#7 - Making User Testing Fast, Fun, and Accessible with Laura Powell of Appcues

JH and Erin talk to Laura Powell, creator of User Test Fest, an event hosted by Appcues to bring user testing to more companies and users. User testing is fun, informative, and impactful. User Test Fest is here to prove it.  Want to learn more about quick user testing? Check out our blog post: https://bit.ly/2UUzetN --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
2/13/201932 minutes, 38 seconds
Episode Artwork

#6 - Building Products That Don't Cause Emotional Trauma with Laura Klein

This week on the podcast, Erin and JH talked to Laura Klein about building products that consider user's real life situations more thoughtfully. Sometimes, big tech does things that actually end up emotionally harming users. How do we do better? Check out our blog post about this episode 👉 https://bit.ly/2ZrlpFf --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
1/30/201941 minutes, 30 seconds
Episode Artwork

#5 - Collaboration Between UXR and Stakeholders with Holly Hester-Reilly

This week on the pod, Erin and JH talk to Holly Hester-Reilly, CEO of H2R Product Science. They talk about creating org structures that are great for collaborative research, presenting your research in a way that makes it easy to empathize with users, and how research can get left behind as a company grows.  Want to learn more about creating research that works with stakeholders? Check out our blog post here: https://bit.ly/2McVQTh --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
1/16/201930 minutes, 19 seconds
Episode Artwork

#4 - Conversational Research with Maggie Crowley of Drift

This week on the pod, Erin and JH talk to Maggie Crowley, Director of Product Management at Drift, about research as a product manager at a rapidly growing startup. They talk about how to do great research in a conversational way, how Drift's research practice is growing, and how Maggie thinks about research as a PM.  Want to learn more about conversational research? Check out our blog post here: https://bit.ly/2TqA5lk --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
1/2/201930 minutes, 39 seconds
Episode Artwork

#3 - Quant and Qual Flow with Cat Anderson

The best research plans leave room for evolution, to see what the research reveals, and build further testing to drive deeper insights. Cat Anderson, a UX writer at AP Intego, joins us to talk about how methods can inform each other, and lead to better customer understanding to benefit the entire company. Check out our blog post for even more qual and quant talk: https://bit.ly/2QKgYF6 --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
12/12/201829 minutes, 3 seconds
Episode Artwork

#2 - When Research Doesn't Go As Planned with Jaclyn Perrone of Thoughtbot

This week, Erin and JH talk to Jaclyn Perrone, Design Director at thoughtbot, about how to handle research that doesn't quite go as planned. They dive into preparing for your research sessions, making participants feel comfortable, and staying calm when things go wrong. Want more info on how to prepare for awesome research? Check out our blog post here https://bit.ly/2B2q7yX --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
12/4/201827 minutes, 34 seconds
Episode Artwork

#1 - Why are we here? with your co-hosts, JH and Erin

Listen as JH and Erin wrestle with the biggest question there is: why are we here anyway? We'll dive into what we think the podcast should (and should not) be and pave the way for our first guest. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
11/28/201818 minutes, 24 seconds
Episode Artwork

#0 - Trailer

What's this Awkward Silences podcast all about anyway? As a place to start, it's about embracing the awkward beauty of talking to people to learn and build better stuff. Get a sneak peek in this pre-episode and meet our hosts, JH Forster and Erin May of User Interviews. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/awkwardsilences/message
11/26/20186 minutes, 27 seconds