Conversations with people who share our passion
for understanding what makes people tick
The Mule Design co-founder and Just Enough Research author on why doing good research scares us, experience design is a misnomer, and real creativity requires logging off.
Want to widen your UXR impact? Make friends with folks in new departments. (And we don’t just mean product and design).
Use these tactics to analyze for findings that “fit”—even when your timeline doesn’t suit the study.
Cordelia Hyland on what “research democratization” really means—and where it can fall short.
T-Mobile’s Andrea Lindeman takes us through two transformative use cases for longitudinal, in-context research.
Users switch between desktop and mobile seamlessly—so why do we study them in a silo? Here are a few qual research tactics that’ll help you uncover the complete digital picture.
Michelle Carney (MLUX meetup, Google) talks us through tactics for building more human, more helpful, and more ethical AI + ML systems.
Salesforce’s Vivianne Castillo on avoiding burnout and re-evaluating UX’s favorite buzzword: empathy.
We asked industry leaders and top UXR teams about their best tactics for getting “unstuck” throughout the research process.
[OPINION] You’re not “falling behind”—you’re doing too much. It’s time we set the expectations straight.
Journey maps are often linear. Your customer’s experiences almost never are. Here’s a new spin on an old research tactic that’ll engage and energize your stakeholders.
Exploratory, discovery, problem-space, foundational…generative research goes by many names. But its objective is always the same: know your users better, so you can to design for them well. Here’s a comprehensive framework to get you started.
The UX field is changing, and we’re changing with it. Take a second to check in on your career direction—and to find a research specialty that inspires you and inspires growth.
Jutta Treviranus, director of the Inclusive Design Research Centre, on how to bring inclusive design to the masses.
Teaching your team to do tactical research can be time-saving and career-changing. Here’s an outline for an interactive workshop you can run today.
Remote-mobile research can get you some powerful data—but to gather it effectively, you’ll need to shift your study design. Here’s how to set yourself up for success.
Jeanette Fuccella from LexisNexis on the power of video ethnography to break down stereotypes and inspire understanding.
IDEO alum Ovetta Sampson on the future of data science, UX, and bringing forth the individual behind every data point.
Some logistical headaches are inevitable. Many can be relieved with a well-structured, well-written, research plan. Here’s a go-to reference for crafting one effectively.
If you want see your participants up close and in-context—diary studies should be a part of your methodological toolkit. Here’s how to run one with fewer hiccups and more impact.
Patreon’s Thaniya Keereepart on the right way to ask “why” and the moments that reframe the way we think about our impact.
Is negativity in the comments section as contagious as it feels? Director of dscout’s research consultancy Stefani Bachetti analyzed the YouTube data to find out.
PetSafe’s Hannah Ferguson and Katie Taylor on faster, broader, more engaging ways to surface the “why.”
EA’s Veronica Zammitto on designing for the most passionate (and demanding) users in tech.
Motivating your stakeholders. Unearthing new insights. Building trust. Reducing bias. There are countless reasons to host workshops as a UXR. Here’s how to execute one with confidence.
Too many customer journey maps focus entirely on what your users are doing. Let’s take a moment to talk about why they’re doing it and how you can pave the way to make their path-to-decision smoother.
Research Ops Manager at Atlassian Kate Towsey talks to us about clearing the way for great research with an organizational machete.
How this popular framework can guide your user interviews.
When a form prompts you to choose your gender, you’re usually given two options: male or female. Not infrequently, this is mandatory. Not surprisingly, this is excluding people. Here’s how we can do better.
Author of Practical Empathy Indi Young breaks down why so many of us look for research patterns in the wrong places.
Matthew Doty breaks down the inspiration and execution of Best Buy’s future-forward vision for experience design.
We asked leading researchers at Target, Google, and Even how they go from “distilling great insights” to “getting something done about them.” Here are their top tips.
The role of a user researcher goes beyond just running research. With effective project management skills, researchers can ensure that stakeholders regularly include research in their work.
Here’s why generative research matters, when you should be doing it, and an action plan for starting at your company.
Clinical psychologist and former Intel research scientist Margaret Morris on how individual technology hacks shine a light on what users really crave.
Here’s a succinct, back-to-basics primer on how to maximize the impact and efficiency of your next remote study
If your insights are shared in a report, but no one is there to read it, does it even make a sound? Use these tactics to guarantee your findings are met with “wows” and action instead of “huhs?” and “mehs.”
Vanessa Dillof’s strategies for engaging hard-to-reach populations, democratizing research and building deliverables for key stakeholders.
A member of dscout’s Customer Success team shares pro tips on how to make screeners work for you and your research.
Use these 10 tips to keep your research reports actionable, informative, and fun.
Headspace’s Design Research Lead on building qualitative research on the expertise of behavioral science and 6,000 years of meditation theory.
Here are a few easy ways to validate your qualitative data, or dig deeper into the “why” behind your quantitative metrics.
Top researchers from Google, Lyft, Uber, and LinkedIn give us their take on where UR is moving and the challenges we’re set to face as the field grows.
Too reductive, or needlessly complicated. Slow to adapt to user needs, or adjusted too fast to be adopted. Personas have become a loaded term. We distilled some of the noise.
On May 1st we got 250+ user researchers together for a day of insight-sharing, question-raising, and curiosity-building. Here’s what we learned.
What’s new to the dscout platform for remote qual—source qualified participants easier, share across your team and create video playlists in the platform
Expert user researcher Steve Portigal breaks down why thinking about bias and mistakes is the key to joyful discovery.
Here are a few tricks for energizing your research synthesis—even if you’re not excited about your qualitative data.
Hopelab President Margaret Laws delves into the company’s teen-centric, tech-enabled design process.
On a small research team with big ideas? Learn how to prioritize the big-picture goals while juggling the day-to-day challenges—all in a day’s work.
David Keegan of investment app Acorns on the high-value ROI of feedback from users.
Make the most of your research session with these tactics meant to improve prep, flow, and evaluation.
The most useful resources for UR and UX pros…bookmark now, thank us later.
Do you have a process in place if you’re asked to do a whiteboard challenge as part of your next interview? Learn how an experienced UX researcher thinks about and does it.
Working with the agile methodology or at a company where stakeholders use sprints? Learn how to make your research faster with pro tips from Carrie Yury and Kirsten Lewis. Plus, a look at remote agile research in the dscout platform.
Former UXPA International president Jen Romano-Bergstrom on the industry’s rapid growth, biggest challenges, and where researchers should be doing even more to break down boundaries.
Serial host Sarah Koenig on compelling, empathetic storytelling in the age of audio.
Sonos’ Kirsten Lewis on why researchers are explorers, and how prototyping makes an ongoing conversation with users possible.
Creative research design is a win for researchers, participants, and business outcomes. Here are a few inventive techniques for getting the most impact out of your next project.
Behind the scenes with the team at Google that’s moving beyond design thinking to design feeling.
How income-building app Steady developed foundational user personas through longitudinal research with dscout Diary.
A conversation with Senior UX Researcher Joanna Vodopivec on how Groupon listens to its customers to understand the reality of the small-business owners it serves.
New York Times Magazine journalist David Marchese breaks down the art of conversation and getting impactful answers from an interview.
How researchers at Trulia learned about what people want in a place, why it varies by city and by neighborhood, and how Trulia Neighborhoods is fueled by remote qual.
Craig Saila and Irfan Pirbhai on how a diary study of Canadians’ user experience with the Olympic Winter Games put how people experience the event in context.
Insights from women in research on how to build momentum in your ogranization with qualitative research, and strategies for engaging key stakeholders with what you’ve found
BallotReady’s deep dive into how to engage voters on political issues and create a more informed electorate.
People Nerds share their best tips for coding and tagging qualitative research effectively.
Chicago locals used dscout to recommend hidden gems and hot spots where MidwestUX conference attendees can eat, drink, see and explore.
How Jobs-to-be-Done pioneer Tony Ulwick used a “humiliating failure” to fuel a career helping companies innovate to meet customer needs.
Ahead of the EPIC 2018 conference in Honolulu, we used our own contextual research platform to gather insights from Hawaii locals on the can’t-miss views, cuisines, and excursions.
Public Broadcasting Executive Editor and veteran Journalist Madhulika Sikka describes how to connect a story to an audience of one or one million.
Neuroscientist Tali Sharot on why humans are wired for optimism, influence, and imagination.
dscout asked nearly 600 people the oft-debated question… and then asked them to record their answers in the moments they were chowing down. Here’s what our in-context research told us about the underlying, surprising reasons we just can’t shake the great “Is a hot dog a sandwich?” debate.
Maslo founder Cristina Poindexter shares insights from user research on the voice journaling app encouraging users to talk to artificial intelligence.
Amnesty International’s Sherif Elsayed-Ali explains how he conducts qualitative research in human rights crises, and the future of humanity in the artificial intelligence era.
Shopify’s Emma Craig uncovers what makes us playful and what makes us stressed when we shop online—and why making room for human moments is key.
Healthtech anthropologist Rachel Ceasar on the inextricable link between cultural and socio-economic bias, and how healthy we really are.
Felicity Heathcote-Márcz tells us why understanding cyborgs is essential to understanding humans.
Criminal Justice professor and researcher Lacey Wallace on what we know—and don’t know—about gun violence.
LinkedIn’s Enterprise UX team on how research is changing the Enterprise landscape.
LinkedIn’s John Garvie on how research is changing the Enterprise UX landscape.
LinkedIn’s Jesse Livingston on how enterprise research is fully enabling people’s ultimate potential.
LinkedIn’s Elizabeth Gin on the power of the “hidden user” in Enterprise UX.
LinkedIn’s Anton Zadorozhnyy on the multifaceted nature of Enterprise research.
Eclipse Experience combines home visits and mobile ethnography to get a complete picture of small town home life.
Your job as a researcher is to be a catalyst, a guide who enables the entire company—from the C-suite on down—to get as close as possible to the people the company is serving.
The books our People Nerds can’t put down… and some more that they’ve written.
UChicago’s Nicole Beechum on the experience of students in urban school districts from an equity and strengths-based perspective.
A qualitative researcher of 20 years, Carrie Yury has found that agile can make qualitative research process and findings more visible to stakeholders and even create new hunger for user understanding.
Uber’s Molly Stevens walks us through the company’s recent project designed to foster moments of connection between drivers and riders—including the surprising things they don’t want to know about each other.
Researcher Jonathan Bean is an architect, sustainability consultant, ethnographer, marketing guru, and expert on consumer taste—and he brought all of those skills together to study the cultural and social movement unfolding at a Harlem restaurant. Bean takes us through his interdisciplinary approach to studying the current moment, and the importance of the environment around us.
Indigo Books’ Markus Grupp knows that when it comes to deeply human needs—how we’re inspired and how we communicate—algorithms don’t hold a candle to person to person connection.
Maci Peterson, founder of On Second Thought, wants to give us a chance to correct ourselves, and improve the way we communicate in the process.
Design researcher Yasmine Khan shows us how exhibit design can help stakeholders and product teams grasp research insights in a whole new way.
People Nerd John Dominski has spent countless hours studying gorillas. We chat about how the experience taught him to be a better observer, and how his learnings can be applied to human research.
2017 was all about breaking down silos and walking in someone else’s shoes. So, what can it tell us about what to expect in the coming year? Here, four trends we’ll be watching unfold in user research in 2018.
For the second discussion in our series about “Research Roadblocks,” dscout sat down with a group of People Nerds to ask: What can researchers do to ensure our insights actually have influence?
David O’Donnell and his team at Salesforce Ignite were only a week into product development on a new disaster relief tool when Hurricane Harvey hit. Here’s how they captured first hand accounts of people’s disaster experiences, and the invaluable insights uncovered.
Researcher Karen Eisenhauer conducted a linguistic study of the twelve films in the “Disney Princess canon” to see just what these films are really saying about gender roles.
Leadership consultant Lisa Stefanac, group behavior expert, breaks down the importance of good questions, the value of silence, and everything you can learn about yourself from how you play with others.
With the 2017 Corporate Researchers Conference happening right in our neck of the woods, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to gather as many people-curious researchers as possible in one room for a night of drinks, games, conversation, and of course, People Nerd portraits!
Ran Zilca, Chief Data-Science Officer at Happify, talks about what makes us happy—both what the data tells us, and what he found on his own personal 6,000 mile journey across the country.
Award-winning documentary filmmaker Alexandra Nikolchev is a People Nerd whose work centers on social justice issues and immigration. Those kinds of narratives, she says, require filmmakers to leave their preconceptions at the door in order to really listen.
Recently, we convened a group of People Nerds to explore the concept of research success, the roadblocks that prevent us from getting there, and what’s really at stake when challenges arise.
Allie Mahler and Scott Weiss have spent most of 2017 talking to teenagers, and they’re feeling optimistic about the future. We sat down to learn what the newest generation really wants.
Tips to better understand group dynamics, pick-up on non-verbal cues, and keep people engaged in your next big meeting.
Aryel Cianflone started researching researchers to get better at her job. But quickly, she learned that everyone’s approach and process is so different that it is worth sharing.
Anne Helen Petersen really knows popularity. At Buzzfeed she dissects the role of celebrities in our daily lives and what it really means to have someone as your spirit animal.
Is curiosity a learned trait? Julie and Stefanie Norvaisas discuss working together, learning from each other, and the differences between researching for the digital and physical realms.
Susan Kresnicka’s recent 13 month study of fandom revealed that nearly everyone is a fan of something and what that means to brands who want to empower their loyalists.
dscout’s head of product, Jonathan Fairman, talks to fellow product management nerd + people nerd, Suzanne Abate, on the 100PM podcast about why great product managers are the leaders of user empathy.
A researcher’s job doesn’t end when the data has been collected. We asked people nerds about the other hats they wear most often and why they do it.
Lance Weiler talks about the power of collective narrative, the medium as an innovation driver, why stories are more powerful than data, and how the human experience is at the core of it all.
Josh Elman knows what people want. A visionary product manager who helped grow some of the most prominent startups in Silicon Valley into the juggernauts they are today, Elman seems to have a sixth sense for zeroing in on what’s next.
How many things have you touched today? Your phone, most likely. Your favorite coffee mug? A toothbrush? The clothes on your back? What else? If your answer is “nothing,” Paula Zuccotti suggests you think harder.
We asked the professionally curious researchers, strategists, designers and storytellers for their number one research rule and why. Here’s what drives the people nerd tribe.
Dr. Brian Levine is a neuropsychologist and cognitive neuroscientist at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute and at the University of Toronto, who’s specialized in memory for over 20 years.
Hsu sees a very clear through path in their diverse work: “Anywhere I’ve gone I’ve always tried to figure out a research question that could better serve the community that I think is underserved.”
Madsbjerg argues that in order to really understand what’s going on around us, we have to place the same value on the humanities as we do on data and science.
We chat with Kat Lee to learn how Square, the tech unicorn, breaks out of their bubble, the importance of individual voices, and what it takes to make a true “People Nerd.”
Adler’s most famous as a founder of Kickstarter; he enabled regular people to help other regular people to realize their entrepreneurial dreams. And then he scaled the process.
For Martha Cotton, the promise of design-thinking is in continually solving problems driven by ongoing development of empathy. We discuss building deep human understanding into design at Fjord and how she teaches it at Northwestern.
InVision’s Prinicipal Researcher and design anthropoligist, Charles Pearson, chatted with dscout recently about how he’s weaving qualitative, discovery-oriented research into InVision’s “ship, ship, ship” agile environment.
Rick Bond has conducted, scaled and evangelized research at startups across the bay area. We discuss how he builds the story for research within organizations and what it takes to be an effective design research leader.
Natalie Hanson has had anthropology on the brain since at least the third grade. She’s followed her curiosities in the decades since, from her Ph.D. in anthropology to building out the UX teams for both SAP and ZS Associates.
Google is a data driven company, but big data doesn’t always explain ‘why’. Supriya Gokarn chats about how she brings empathy to Google Home in our first live People Nerds event.
After the US election in 2016, it became clear that we are living in our own bubbles. So, we asked our people nerds how they plan on breaking their metaphorical bubbles.
Kelly Goto is obsessed with patterns and people. It drives her evangelism for great design and impactful research, which led her to launch gotomedia and gotoresearch.
Storytelling is such a big part of the life of people nerds—both finding and sharing the stories of others. We wondered then, what stories and storytellers do they recommend we add to our reading lists this year?
Lanusse sat with dscout to share his passion for curiosity and empathy, his own multicultural background, and his understanding of the threads that connect viewers and consumers around the world.
Jeanne Bliss, a Chief Customer Officer, is an advocate for caring about the people who care about people. We chat what makes CX team and why CX needs UX.
With a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction, Aruna Balakrishnan has devoted her career to understanding what makes people tick, and how that ticking works with technology.
Myles spent 20 years at P&G studying the intent of in-store shoppers and became an expert in knowing what it’s like in the aisle. Now at ChaseDesign he uses new tech to replace dated techniques.
Sarah Cambridge is Google’s unofficial diary study expert for good reasons. Over her career, she’s taking research to lead design teams and brought design thinking to research organizations.
Anthropology has its place in business. In fact, Susan Kresnicka would tell you every company needs a few anthropologists. She explains how studying culture and ideas creates better products.
Combining a love for science and a need to understand people, Katy Mogal has designed her research teams to provide guidance in every product decision. User Experience means much more than just product validation.
Christopher Ireland, a design and research leader, talks about how storytelling is half of a great research project and what it takes to get to the core of a design solution.
Dan Makoski has seen true innovation happen and he knows the great ideas rarely come from the design leads in the room. The most-loved ideas come from the most ordinary people.
Journalists and qualitative researchers — the best ones anyway — are usually people nerds: humans obsessed with understanding their fellow humans. But not all of them are extroverts.
Know someone you’d love to read about in a People Nerd profile? Tell us why