People Nerds

Conversations with people who share our passion 
for understanding what makes people tick

Advice from 6 Research Leaders on Hiring and Evaluating UX Candidates

We asked directors of user research how they measure team fit, skill mastery, emotional intelligence, and growth potential among new hires.

How to Process User Research Requests (With a Free Project Intake Form Template)

Creating a system for prioritizing user research requests can afford you a lot of strategic clarity. Here’s a process to help.

FR Credit Karma HERO
How Credit Karma Created Insight-Rich Journey Maps During Quarantine

When the global pandemic hit, Credit Karma relied on remote research, experimentation, and distributed analysis to build an insightful and impactful journey map.

PN Christina Harrington HERO
How to Design for the Margins

Designers need to be mindful that they’re designing with their users and not just for them. Dr. Christina Harrington believes community-based participatory design can get us there.

A Start-to-Finish Guide to User Research Project Management

Here’s a deep dive on managing an effective research project—from the moment a research idea lands on your desk, to your critical post-study discussion on “next steps.”

IDEAS Presenting Sharing HERO
Turning to Anecdotes as Allies

[OPINION] Anecdotes can empower research teams and add impact to the learnings they generate—as long as we harness them responsibly.

PN Etienne Fang HERO
How We (Re)Define “Having It All”

What it means to “have it all” has changed. Etienne Fang, Principal Researcher at Amazon, wants to explore how people around the world redefine it. 

PN Unmoderated User Testing Vol2 HERO
How to Optimize Unmoderated User Tests

You can’t be everywhere at once. That’s why unmoderated user testing might be just the thing to scale your research.

Asking Six Million Users and Grading on a Curve

[OPINION]: Research must scale. That requires new methods and tools, an exponential increase of input data, and a greater responsibility to use that data well.

PN Remote Collaboration Tactics HERO
5 Key Tactics for Productive Remote Research Collaboration

The transition to work from home creates challenges—as well as opportunities. Here are five ways to help your team keep up the work remotely.

PN Upskill With People Nerds HERO
Upskill with People Nerds: A Resource for Any Research Roadblock

Whatever you’re struggling with in your research practice—be it interpersonal, organizational, logistical, or methodological—we have a guide, workshop, or template for you.

PN Unmoderated User Testing HERO
Your Research Project Roadmap: Essential Steps for Ensuring for a Thorough Study

Your projects are like journeys. And like any good journey, planning is essential.

PN WRKSHOP Survey Design Recap HERO
5 Tips to Increase the Impact of Your UX Surveys from Lauren Isaacson

UXRs are responding to a rapidly changing experience world, and with it comes mixing methodologies to explain the most of the picture. Go from stale to stellar with these tips.

Alternatives HERO
3 Focus Group Alternatives To Garner Rich, Qual Insights

Are focus groups really the gold standard to gather qual insights? Here are three alternatives for your next project.

PN Choose Right Deliverable HERO
12 Research Deliverables and When to Choose Them

The right research deliverables let your team act on research insights. Here’s how to get the most out of them.

PN Antionette Carroll HERO
How to Redesign for Justice

If systems of injustice and inequality can be designed, that means they can be redesigned too. Antionette Carroll, founder of the Creative Reaction Lab, teaches us about redesigning for real, community-led change.

IDEAS Benchmarking Usability HERO
Prove the Value of Your UX Research Insights with a Benchmarking Study

Benchmarking studies let you know how (and if) your insights are improving user experience. Here’s how to conduct one. 

PN WRKSHP Democratization HERO
9 Pillars of a Successful Research Democratization

Increasingly, non-researchers are looking for insights and talking to customers. We can’t always control it, but we can help shape responsible democratization practices that move our companies forward.

PN Assess Own Research Interviews HERO
Use This 10-Principle Framework to Assess Your Research Interviews (Template Included)

Assessing where you are as an interviewer is key to improving and gaining better insights. Here’s how to do it.

PN Post Project Retros HERO
User Research Retrospectives: Your Key to Running Smoother Studies

Want to gain better and more direct feedback on your work? A user research project retrospective can do just that.

PN Meg Ferrill HERO
How We Can Tell Better Stories

Telling a good story is more than a beginning, middle, and end. Meg Ferrill of The Moth and Nimbly breaks down the fundamentals of storytelling.

The Ultimate Guide to Mixed Methods User Research

Adding methods to your study also adds richness to your findings, expediency to your workflow, and opportunities to collaborate.

IDEAS How To Utilize HERO
A/B Testing for User Researchers: A Low-Lift Way to Answer Quick Product Questions

Add A/B testing to your “save time, solve the problem” arsenal. Here’s what you need to know to conduct your first test.

PN Card Sorting HERO
How to Conduct An Effective Card Sort: A Comprehensive Guide

If you want to understand how your users process and categorize information, card sorting is the method to use. Here’s a primer on how to get started.

How to Conduct a Competitive Audit HERO
How to Conduct a Competitive Audit: A Helpful, Quick-Turnaround Research Activity

Competitive audits aren’t just for market research. They’re an easy “between sprint” way to provide insights to your stakeholders.

PN Choose A Methodology HERO
Not Sure Which User Research Methodology To Use? Start Here.

The amount of user research methods can feel overwhelming. Luckily, there are four steps you can take to choose the right one.

PN Practice VS HERO
UX Research: A Practice or a Science?

The way we conduct user research changes based on how scientific, how rigorous, and how precious we think it is.

PN Medline HERO
How Medline Conducted Nimble Product Research on a Scrappy Budget

Medline needed to find out why their product wasn’t selling. The only problem: A tight budget.

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Good Design is Cross-Cultural

Every day, the world around us becomes more and more globalized — and, as a result, so must our work.

PN Debriefing HERO
How to Debrief Your Team After a Research Session

Want a good way to avoid overwhelming synthesis sessions? Learn the art of the debrief.

PN Lauren Isaacson HERO
Why (and How) to Pay Attention to Accessibility in Design

When it comes to design, there’s no such thing as edge cases. Lauren Isaacson explains why.

PN Full Time to Freelance HERO
How to Transition from Full-time User Researcher to Freelancer

Considering making the leap to freelancing? Use this step-by-step guide to ensure a smoother transition. 

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Discovering the Art of Creative Rebellion

He’s been a starving artist in Europe, painted for Shugendo priests in Japan, and gotten rip-roaringly drunk with Beat poets. Now John S. Couch wants to help designers everywhere remember how to do the most crucial aspect of their craft: create.

PN Back Up Qual Research HERO
Use These "Quick Quant" Research Methods to Back Up Your Qual Findings

You can’t actually “quantify qual.” But pulling in quant data to support you qual findings may make your results more impactful.

4 Thoughtful Principles for Service-Minded UXR

It’s time to radically restructure how we serve those in need. Here’s how UX can step up to the plate.

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How to Find the Bears in Your Forest

Autumn Sanders Foster believes orgs can face challenges around racial injustice and inequity in the world head on. To do that, they need to start by facing them in the office.

9 Golden Rules for Cultivating Community on UX Teams

The team at Google’s UX Community & Culture share their best advice for encouraging thriving, user-focused teams.

PN Doing User HERO
How to Do Compassionate Research — Even When It’s Tough

When the going gets tough, it’s important to remember that sometimes the kindest work is the work you don’t do at all.

PN A Model For HERO
How to Level Up Your User Research Career

Whether you’re an aspiring researcher looking to cut your teeth, or you’re a seasoned UXR looking for a new challenge, taking these steps to advance your career can get you there.

PN Guide Heuristic Evaluations HERO
How (and Why) to Conduct a Heuristic Evaluation

Heuristic evaluations give you insight into the overall experience of your product, and where it falls short. Here’s how you can get started conducting one today.

PN 3 Ways Negotiate User Research HERO
3 Stakeholder Negotiation Tactics for UX Researchers

Negotiating with your stakeholders doesn’t have to be painful. Here are 3 tactics to help bring them to the table.

PN Business Essentials HERO
4 Essential Business Strategies Every UX Practitioner Should Know

The lines between business strategy and UX strategy are blurring. It’s up to UXRs and designers to understand both worlds.

The COVID Diaries Part III: The Products of COVID

New routines have led to new user experiences and a greater willingness than ever to experiment. Here’s how COVID is changing our supply chains, weakening the “digital divide” and endearing us to new products, services, and routines.

FR Zeus Jones HERO
How Zeus Jones Used dscout to Discover Gen Z's Fluid Identity

Gen Z is a generation defined by fluid identities. The way brands react to that fluidity determines if (and how) they connect with them.

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11 Ways to Keep Research Top-of-Mind For Your Team

You can’t always be around to bug people about incorporating user research into projects. Here are a few ways to keep research on your team’s mind.

At the Intersection of Tech and Commerce

After working in some of the biggest publications in tech, Dan Frommer decided to strike out on his own with his latest venture: The New Consumer.

Winning Fans and Building Brands with Strategic Customer Input

Don Hall on how emerging qualitative methods can flatten access and create always-on user insights to fuel brand stories.

Writing Next-Level Surveys: How to Get "Story Data" from Static Questions

Surveys sometimes get a bad rap (and for good reason). Here are a few ways you can level up your survey game.

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How to Optimize Your User Research Resume

Looking to make the next big career move? Start by dusting off your resume and optimizing it for success.

PN Write User Research Summaries HERO
How to Write Actionable User Research Summaries (With Checklist + Examples)

Want a great way to provide colleagues and stakeholders a quick, actionable snapshot of your research insights? Here’s how to create summaries that do just that.

FR Salesforce Ignite HERO
Salesforce Ignite on Research that Delivers High-Level Business Value

Giving stakeholders what they want means developing great value props and meeting expectations. Here’s how Salesforce used dscout to do just that.

PN Writing User HERO
How to Write Compelling User Research Insights in 6 Steps

We’re often reminded of the importance of “sharing insights.” But advice for how define an insight, and how we should be writing them, is vague at best.

PN Hybrid Research Methods HERO
Hybrid Research: The "Just Right" Mix of Generative and Evaluative Insights

As user researchers, we rarely get the gift of time. That’s why you need to mix generative and evaluative insights together. Enter: hybrid research.

PN Behzod HERO
How to be a Teacher—Not an Oracle

Democratizing UX is crucial for any scaling org—but what does that look like in practice?

COVID-19 Diaries Part II: How We Cope

As Americans settled in uncomfortably to a “quarantine normal,” we took a deeper look at their tactics for coping with the transition.

How to Listen To (and Learn From) Your Body

Learning is more than what we take in with our brain. Dr. Simon Roberts shows us how we can unlock the potential of “embodied knowledge.”

PN Running Remote Workshops HERO
How to Run an Engaging Remote Workshop: Tips for Stress-Free Collaboration

Trouble communicating, distractions, and dropped calls. Here’s how you can make your next workshop as painless as possible.

PN Remote Research HERO
A Comprehensive Guide to Remote User Research: How to Unearth Essential Insights

This guide is a true start-to-finish look at effective, efficient, and powerful remote user research. By the time you finish it, you’ll feel confident tackling almost any research question or methodology remotely.

IDEAS Difficult Participants HERO
Work More Effectively with These 9 “Difficult Participant” Personality Types

Even if you’ve done everything right in recruiting, you might still end up with a participant you find difficult to work with. These tactics should enable you to keep things running smoother.

PN Mental Models How To Use HERO
A Researcher's Guide to Mental Models (And How to Use Them Wisely)

Mental models can help you understand your users on an even deeper level. Here’s how you can get started using them.

The COVID-19 Diaries: A Portrait of American Life Through Pandemic

March 15th-22nd was the week we left our known world of work and routine behind. These 45 powerful micro-stories showcase what the “new” world looks like across the country.

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Qual Research at the Speed and Scale Innovation Demands (New dscout Releases)

Now, more than ever, qual research needs to be accessible, flexible, and fast. Here are two new platform features that should expand your research capacity.

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10 Cognitive Biases Anyone Doing UX Research Should Know

Understanding and mitigating biases in user research is crucial. Here’s how you can get started.

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Remote Research: 7 Experts' Advice for Methods, Management, and Mechanics

Starting, transitioning to, or optimizing your remote research workflow? Take a piece of “wish-I-would’ve-known” advice from UXR leaders at Wells Fargo, LinkedIn, Credit Karma and more.

FR Miraka Limited HERO
How Miraka Expanded its Customer Base by Leveraging In-Aisle Exploratory Research

Miraka wanted to see how their values as Māori brand would resonate with an audience abroad. Remote research was critical to understanding this new market.

PN International Research HERO
A Complete Guide to Remote International Research Logistics

When it comes to effective international research, the devil is in the details. Use these essential detail-management tips to create the environment for an effective study.

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10 Exciting (and Underutilized) Strategies for Remote, Unmoderated Research

Break out of your methodological rut! Here are a few novel tactics for getting rich insights from remote research.

PN Gen Z Zeus Jones HERO
Gen Z, Identity, and Brand: How the “Digital Native” Generation is Designing Itself

How we see ourselves changes when we’re immersed in digital worlds. Here’s what we learned from Gen Z about fluidity and agency in identity.

Rolling Research: Your Key to Creating a Culture that Incorporates User Insights

We talked with researchers at Github and Facebook on a practice core to scaling insights at their orgs. Here are their best practices for iterative research.

PN Writing Better HERO
How to Write (Better) Survey Questions: Systems for Collecting Clean and Meaningful Data

Write survey questions that get the insights you need with this simple framework.

FR Coloplast HERO
User Research at the Extremes: How Coloplast Gets Insights on Taboo Subjects

Getting users to open up on sensitive subjects is as essential as it is difficult. Here’s how the team at Coloplast uses remote research to get it done.

PN Recruiting HERO
Use These "Pre-Recruiting" Rituals to Pick the Right Participants Every Time

Get the right research participants by understanding your project’s goals and target users

How We Empathize in UX Matters

Social UX researcher Alba Villamil tells us how designers can better impact disadvantaged communities.

PN Black History Month HERO
What We Celebrate (and Need to Talk About) When We Celebrate Black History Month

We asked dozens of participants what Black History Month meant to them, and what we can do better to commemorate the contributions of Black Americans.

How to Set Up a User Research Framework (And Why Your Team Needs One)

Orient your team to “how UXR works” with this handy, concrete, stakeholder-ready, user research framework.

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The Best UX Resources For Researchers and Designers (Updated for 2020)

The most useful resources for UR and UX pros…bookmark now, thank us later.

Quant User HERO
Stop Lights and Rainbow Charts: Two Engaging Templates for Qual Research Reports

Use these two straightforward report frameworks to present findings in an engaging (and colorful!) way

PN 9 User Research Hacks HERO
9 User Research Hacks for your Next Resource-Limited Project

Sometimes, you have to do the best with what you have. Use these user research hacks if you ever find yourself with a limited budget, time, or people.

The Simple Way to Design a Standout UX Research Survey

Surveys are one of the most reliable tools in a researcher’s toolbox. Here’s how to design one to help validate your qualitative insights.

FR Compass Digital HERO
How Compass Digital Labs Delivers Insights Under Breakneck Deadlines

Ideally, you have a few weeks to run your usability tests. Sometimes, you need to speed things up.

The UX Sense of Service

Civic Tech expert Cyd Harrell on researcher responsibility when it comes to privacy, data, and noise.

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11 Usability Testing Metrics that Will Enrich Your Reporting

Use these 11 metrics the next time you need to support your qualitative insights with quantitative data.

PN Real World HERO
A Practical Synthesis Strategy for Busy UXRs

“Best-practice” synthesis takes time that we don’t always have at our disposal. Here’s a realistic approach for getting findings you feel good about in front of your stakeholders.

Blog Art Epic Recap HERO
A FOMO-Fighting Recap of our Favorite 2019 UXR Events

A quick “get-up-to-date” summary of what UXRs discussed last year (and a few handy links so you can stream anything you might’ve missed).

PN Designing Better HERO
A 5 Step Framework for Building Better Personas

User personas get a bad rap—and sometimes for good reason. Here’s a great system for making ones you’ll love.

PN Academia to User Research HERO
A Brief Guide to Moving From Academic Research to User Experience Research

The transition to UXR from the world of academia can be rough. Here’s how to make it smoother.

PN Internalizing User HERO
Researching Users in Another Country? Here's How to Prepare

From navigating new data legislation to adapting to new social norms—researching users abroad requires some adjustments.

Moves to Modern Research: A New Maturity Model for User-Centric Organizations

After years of conversations with leading researchers, we’ve nailed down tangible stages orgs take as they adopt, expand, and grow user-centric practices.

What We Heard From Our Users (and What We Did About it) In 2019

We learned a lot, listened a lot, built a lot, and fixed a lot in 2019. Here’s an overview of what we heard from you, and how we improved.

How to Win Friends and Influence Stakeholders with Qual Research

We gathered four leading UXRs to discuss how they’ve won hearts, minds, and budgets for qual research in quant-minded orgs.

The UX Research Adolescence

Lyft’s Head of UX research on what it takes to build a UXR team from the ground up.

FR Dropbox HERO
Moving from “Quick-Fix Usability” to “Product-Shaping Usability” at Dropbox

If you want to be really thorough with your evaluative research—run your usability tests over weeks, not hours.

PN Creating A HERO
Make Anyone Into a Fantastic Workshop Moderator (With this Simple Playbook)

Want to build a more collaborative research culture? Run more workshops. Want to make running workshops easier? Build a playbook.

PN A Syllabus HERO
Inclusive and Accessible UX: A Starter Syllabus

Looking to make “accessible” and “inclusive” more than buzzwords at your organization? Here are some guides, reads, and listens you’ll want to know about. 

IDEAS Mapping The Creation HERO
5 Stages of Successful Customer Journey Maps

A customer journey map gives you insight into how your users interact with your product. Here are five best practices to help you make one.

PN Salon Recap HERO
Meeting the Rising Demand for User Research (Advice from Google, AirBnB, LinkedIn and More)

We spoke to five leading UXRs about how they’re responding to the growing need, and shrinking delivery windows, for UX insights.

Bose Research on Amplifying Traditional Fieldwork and Exploring the Experimental

How Bose leveraged dscout to prime and prep for field work—and deepened their insights as a result.

PN Adjusting Stakeholders HERO
The 3 Types of Stakeholders You Work with as a UXR (and How to Win Them Over)

Your stakeholders are different. Here’s how to adjust their expectations, and encourage their enthusiasm, for UXR.

How NASA Designs for the Future

NASA UX Designer Krys Blackwood teaches us how to build interfaces for users who are a decade away from using them.

PN Gen Z Recap HERO
Use These 6 Principles to Design for Your Future Users

Gen-Z is different. Here are six design implications for your design and research process.

PN Convincing Stakeholders HERO
3 Steps for Getting Stakeholders Excited About New Research Approaches

Don’t let your company’s expectations turn you into a research robot. Here are tactics for breaking out of a methodological rut.

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5 Research Strategies for Getting Insights from Healthcare Consumers

If you’re looking to understand human behavior in the healthcare space, these are ways to see patients, consumers and users in a new light.

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Erika Hall Knows How to Fix Your Design Process (But You’re Probably Not Going to Like It)

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.

PN Finding Friends HERO
The Power of Working Cross-Departmentally as a User Researcher

Want to widen your UXR impact? Make friends with folks in new departments. (And we don’t just mean product and design).

PN Qualitative Analysis HERO
Foolproof Qualitative Analysis Tactics—For Whether You Have a Month or an Afternoon

Use these tactics to analyze for findings that “fit”—even when your timeline doesn’t suit the study.

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How the Thumbtack Team of Three Scaled Research to 200+ Stakeholders

Cordelia Hyland on what “research democratization” really means—and where it can fall short.

FR T Mobile HERO
How T-Mobile Used dscout to Harness Qual Data on Their Team’s (Lean) Timeline

T-Mobile’s Andrea Lindeman takes us through two transformative use cases for longitudinal, in-context research.

PN App Alongs HERO
Websites, Apps, Omnichannel: Researching the Full Digital Experience (+ Sample Study Designs)

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.

PN Machine Learning HERO
User Research for Machine Learning Systems: A Case Study Walkthrough

Michelle Carney (MLUX meetup, Google) talks us through tactics for building more human, more helpful, and more ethical AI + ML systems.

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Why Self-Care Matters in UX Research

Salesforce’s Vivianne Castillo on avoiding burnout and re-evaluating UX’s favorite buzzword: empathy.

A Novel Piece of Expert Advice for Every Stage of Your Next Research Project

We asked industry leaders and top UXR teams about their best tactics for getting “unstuck” throughout the research process.

PN The Evolving HERO
We’re Conducting Research at the Speed of Agile. Here’s a Case for Slowing Down.

[OPINION] You’re not “falling behind”—you’re doing too much. It’s time we set the expectations straight.

PN Making Your HERO
User “Choose Your Own Adventure” Stories: A Creative Research Deliverable You’ll Actually Have Time to Execute

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.

PN Gen Research HERO
Generative Research: Everything You Need to Know to Run a Successful Study

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.

PN Choosing Your HERO
Finding Your UX Niche: How to Define Your Research Role and Philosophy

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.

Design in Three Dimensions

Jutta Treviranus, director of the Inclusive Design Research Centre, on how to bring inclusive design to the masses.

PN Teaching Others To HERO
Train Your Team to Usability Test in Just an Afternoon

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.

PN Creating Remote Ready HERO
Here’s How to Make your Study Design Remote-Mobile Ready

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.

FR Lexis Nexis HERO
LexisNexis on Uniting Data, Emotion, and Ethics in Legal UX Research

Jeanette Fuccella from LexisNexis on the power of video ethnography to break down stereotypes and inspire understanding.

PN Ovetta HERO
Marry Data Science with User Research. Ethical Design Depends on It.

IDEO alum Ovetta Sampson on the future of data science, UX, and bringing forth the individual behind every data point.

PN How to write HERO
How to Write a User Research Plan That Sets Your Project Up for Success

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.

How to Conduct a Diary Study: A Start-to-Finish Guide

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.

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Letting Curiosity Guide You From "First Answer" to "Final Answer"

Patreon’s Thaniya Keereepart on the right way to ask “why” and the moments that reframe the way we think about our impact.

PN Ask This Old House HERO
I Got Attacked in the YouTube Comments Section (So I Tagged and Analyzed the Data)

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.

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How to Dig Past the Surface Data with PetSafe

PetSafe’s Hannah Ferguson and Katie Taylor on faster, broader, more engaging ways to surface the “why.”

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User Research Workshops: Why, When, and How You Should Ideate as a Team

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.

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Changing the Game with UX Research

EA’s Veronica Zammitto on designing for the most passionate (and demanding) users in tech.

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The 6 Research Process Pillars of a More Dynamic Customer Journey Map

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.

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The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Your User Research Process)

Research Ops Manager at Atlassian Kate Towsey talks to us about clearing the way for great research with an organizational machete.

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The Jobs to be Done Interviewing Style: Who are our Users Trying to Become?

How this popular framework can guide your user interviews.

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4 Design Principles for Gender-Identity Inclusion (and How to Get Them Implemented)

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. 

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Untangling the Deeper Concept

Author of Practical Empathy Indi Young breaks down why so many of us look for research patterns in the wrong places. 

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Navigating Uncharted Experience Design Waters with Best Buy’s Matthew Doty

Matthew Doty breaks down the inspiration and execution of Best Buy’s future-forward vision for experience design.

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6 Common Research Implementation Roadblocks—And How to Move Past Them

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.

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Project Management for User Researchers: How to Ensure a Smooth & Focused Project

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.

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You Should be Doing More Generative Research. Here’s a Guide to Get Started.

Here’s why generative research matters, when you should be doing it, and an action plan for starting at your company.

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How We Hack Tech (And What That Says About Us)

Clinical psychologist and former Intel research scientist Margaret Morris on how individual technology hacks shine a light on what users really crave.

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More, Broader, Faster: A Brief Intro to Effective Remote Research

Here’s a succinct, back-to-basics primer on how to maximize the impact and efficiency of your next remote study

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7 Ways to Ensure Your Research Insights are Heard and Acted Upon

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.” 

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How The North Face Captures Context From Elite Athletes

Vanessa Dillof’s strategies for engaging hard-to-reach populations, democratizing research and building deliverables for key stakeholders.

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5 Major Lessons from 1000+ Participant Screeners

A member of dscout’s Customer Success team shares pro tips on how to make screeners work for you and your research.

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How to Present Your Research So That Stakeholders Take Notice and Take Action

Use these 10 tips to keep your research reports actionable, informative, and fun.

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A Look Inside Your Users' Heads

Headspace’s Design Research Lead on building qualitative research on the expertise of behavioral science and 6,000 years of meditation theory.

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A Simplified, Mixed Methods Roadmap: How to Marry Quant + Qual for More Insightful Results

Here are a few easy ways to validate your qualitative data, or dig deeper into the “why” behind your quantitative metrics.

11 Experts Weigh In: What Does the Future of User Research Look like?

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.

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9 Reasons Your Personas Fail (and What to Do to Make Them Stick)

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.

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People Nerds San Francisco Recap: Top Insights from 27 Speakers

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.

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Even Further In-Context: Better Recruiting and Collaboration Through dscout

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

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Finding the 'Aha!' Moment

Expert user researcher Steve Portigal breaks down why thinking about bias and mistakes is the key to joyful discovery.

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Stuck? Here are 9 Ways to Analyze User Research for Meaningful Takeaways

Here are a few tricks for energizing your research synthesis—even if you’re not excited about your qualitative data.

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Co-designing Cancer Recovery

Hopelab President Margaret Laws delves into the company’s teen-centric, tech-enabled design process.

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9 Research and Productivity Hacks for UX/UR Teams of One

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.

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The Unlimited Value of User Feedback

David Keegan of investment app Acorns on the high-value ROI of feedback from users.

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17 Tips the Pros Use to Master One-on-One Interviews

Make the most of your research session with these tactics meant to improve prep, flow, and evaluation.

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How to Ace the Dreaded Whiteboard Challenge

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.

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Want More “Agile” Qualitative Research? Take it Remote.

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.

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The UX Evolution

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.

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Stories That Make People Care

Serial host Sarah Koenig on compelling, empathetic storytelling in the age of audio.

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Amplifying User Voice

Sonos’ Kirsten Lewis on why researchers are explorers, and how prototyping makes an ongoing conversation with users possible.

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7 Ways to Bring Creativity to Your Research For Better Results

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.

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Inside the Google Empathy Lab

Behind the scenes with the team at Google that’s moving beyond design thinking to design feeling. 

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Understanding Personas That Power the Age of the Side Hustle

How income-building app Steady developed foundational user personas through longitudinal research with dscout Diary.

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Finding the People Behind ‘Supply’: Human-Centered User Research at Groupon

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.

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Mastering the art of the interview—with the master interviewer

New York Times Magazine journalist David Marchese breaks down the art of conversation and getting impactful answers from an interview.

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Putting Neighborhood Research on the Map

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.

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Finding the Golden Moments of the Winter Games Experience

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.

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Make Your Research Eye-Opening

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

7 Ways dscout Gets You from Questions to Insights Faster

Shave weeks off your recruiting and analysis timelines. Here’s how dscout can help you find the right people for your study, and surface the right insights from their responses.

5 Easy Ways to Craft More Impactful Deliverables with dscout

Want a good way to elevate your deliverable? Here’s how dscout can help you out.

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Empowering the Electorate

BallotReady’s deep dive into how to engage voters on political issues and create a more informed electorate.

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How to code and tag qualitative data to unlock research insights

People Nerds share their best tips for coding and tagging qualitative research effectively.

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Sharing Is Essential: Collaborating and Socializing Insights with dscout

Research insights mean nothing in a vacuum. Here are some tools for bringing stakeholders onboard early, often, and meaningfully.

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Chicago’s hidden gems, from the people who know best

Chicago locals used dscout to recommend hidden gems and hot spots where MidwestUX conference attendees can eat, drink, see and explore.

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Inside 'Jobs'

How Jobs-to-be-Done pioneer Tony Ulwick used a “humiliating failure” to fuel a career helping companies innovate to meet customer needs.

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Hawaii recommendations from those who know best

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.

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Points of Entry

Public Broadcasting Executive Editor and veteran Journalist Madhulika Sikka describes how to connect a story to an audience of one or one million. 

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How the brain decides what to think

Neuroscientist Tali Sharot on why humans are wired for optimism, influence, and imagination.

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Why can’t we settle the “is a hot dog a sandwich?” debate?

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.

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Talk to me (it's Human Nature)

Maslo founder Cristina Poindexter shares insights from user research on the voice journaling app encouraging users to talk to artificial intelligence.

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Humanity in the Machine Age

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.

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Check out my checkout

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. 

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Understanding what ails us

Healthtech anthropologist Rachel Ceasar on the inextricable link between cultural and socio-economic bias, and how healthy we really are.

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Are we all Cyborgs?

Felicity Heathcote-Márcz tells us why understanding cyborgs is essential to understanding humans. 

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The many challenges of researching gun violence

Criminal Justice professor and researcher Lacey Wallace on what we know—and don’t know—about gun violence.

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Enterprise UX revs its engines

LinkedIn’s Enterprise UX team on how research is changing the Enterprise landscape.

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Enterprise UXR Unlocks Potential

LinkedIn’s Jesse Livingston on how enterprise research is fully enabling people’s ultimate potential. 

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Enterprise UX Evolves Holistically

LinkedIn’s John Garvie on how research is changing the Enterprise UX landscape.

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Enterprise UXR's Ecosystem

LinkedIn’s Anton Zadorozhnyy on the multifaceted nature of Enterprise research.

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Enterprise UXR's Hidden Treasure

LinkedIn’s Elizabeth Gin on the power of the “hidden user” in Enterprise UX.

Teens In Context

Eclipse Experience combines home visits and mobile ethnography to get a complete picture of small town home life.

People Are Your Data

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.

In the People Nerd Library

The books our People Nerds can’t put down… and some more that they’ve written. 

Equity in Learning

UChicago’s Nicole Beechum on the experience of students in urban school districts from an equity and strengths-based perspective.

'Agile Qualitative Research' is not an oxymoron!

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.

Riders, meet Drivers. Drivers, meet Riders.

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. 

Connecting the Cultural Dots

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.

Finding the "connective tissue" in human experience

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.

ConTEXTual Feeling

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. 

Curating Context

Design researcher Yasmine Khan shows us how exhibit design can help stakeholders and product teams grasp research insights in a whole new way.

Gorillas in our midst: Observation over conversation

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.

User research trends we're watching in 2018

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.

Advocating with impact

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?

Field Report: Researching disasters in real time

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.

Field Report: The Princess Problem

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.

Power of questions, power of silence

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.

Games with Researchers

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!

Can We All Just Get Happy?

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.

The Art of Really Listening

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.

Fighting for Research Integrity

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.

Community/camaraderie for a slash generation

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. 

Reading the Room

Tips to better understand group dynamics, pick-up on non-verbal cues, and keep people engaged in your next big meeting.

Becoming a better researcher and a better human

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.

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Why we like what we like

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.

All in the family

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.

Field Report: The power of fandom

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.

Product managers are people (nerds) too

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.

The hats of the researcher

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.

The power of story

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.

Technologist, humanist, venture capitalist

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.

The objects that define us

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.

What's your motto?

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.

The business of memory

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.

Mapping the unmapped

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.”

Heidegger, Ford and the art of sensemaking

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. 

Amplifying the individual voice

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.”

From Kickstarter to LostArts, Charles Adler’s mission is creative fulfillment

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.

More than checking the empathy box

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. 

Starting a research mini-movement at InVision

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. 

On UX research at start-ups and asking "why"

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.

The how and why of building UX teams from scratch

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.

An interview with Google Living Room researcher Supriya Gokarn

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.

Breaking bubbles in 2017

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.

A lifelong obsession with patterns and people

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.

People Nerds inspirations for 2017

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?

Netflix global head of insights, Adrien Lanusse

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.

CX leadership: A congruence of heart and habit

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. 

Changing the world with user research

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.

Shopalong or remote research?

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.

Google UX researcher Sara Cambridge

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. 

Cultural anthropology for entertainment

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. 

Transforming user insights into business value

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. 

A storytelling pioneer in design research

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.

Experience design and the creative revolution

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.

Superhero capes in the researcher's wardrobe

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.


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