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Podcast Ep. 8: Emerging UX Trends (w/ Ben from People Nerds)

Listen in on a special one-on-one with People Nerds’ Ben Wiedmaier, sharing his unique perspective in the industry.

Words by Ben Wiedmaier, Visuals by Addie Burgess

For full episode transcription, click here.

For the season one finale of the People Nerds Podcast, we're joined by the People Nerd: Ben, from People Nerds. Social scientist turned content marketer and producer, Ben has a unique perspective on this industry, the folks making waves in it, and where it might be heading.

Ben chats transitioning to and growing within the industry, trends that might impact it going forward, and what it means to be a content producer for a brand like People Nerds.

Come on in, the (UX) water's fiiine...

The human-centered industry world is big, growing, and offers a lot of ways in. From the industries and workplace types (e.g., in-house versus agency versus freelance) to teams and roles (e.g., design, product, UX, and ops), there are nearly limitless ways to get started.

Begin by reflecting on what an ideal day might include: is it creating and editing content, building and analyzing research projects, or maybe designing and testing visual experiences? There's no wrong answer, and there are likely dozens of potential roles. Stay flexible with creating assets like CVs, portfolios, and personal sites, and comparing foregrounded skills to job calls.

Finally, don't underestimate the power of a conference, online community, or in-person meetup: those colloquial interactions and engagements offer invaluable learnings about how things "work."

Dr. Ben's reading list:

Getting out of the way...

Narratives power a lot of what human-centered professionals strive to do: inject empathic, reflective consideration in business practices. It's often termed simply storytelling.

Although the telling, sharing, and translating of story is critical—this method is also about searching, surfacing, and selecting perspectives. A good interviewer does more than "just" show up, but takes the time to educate, explore, and experience in order to better prepare to listen.

A story is such a foundational vehicle to communicate an idea, make a case, and certainly to engender a sense of awareness. Carefully considering one's subject position, the reason for the "storygathering," and a respect in the sharing (or telling) of the story are all critical components of this human-centered superpower. The best stories are those that honor and respect the standpoint of the source. That way, creating the space for that teller is job one.

Dr. Ben's reading list:

Modern research is still moving...

User experience and design thinking might well be table stakes for today's "innovative" brands, but that by no means is a guarantee that such practices are happening. The extreme ubiquity of choice for both consumer and enterprise customers, the ever-increasing mergers and vertical integrations (so that one app could rule them all), and the shortening attention spans (and budgets) are creating a business climate where more and more companies are realizing the need to be human-centered...even if they don't know what exactly that looks like.

Specifically, companies are:

  1. Bringing research in-house
  2. Structuring their companies in ways to spread the insights access around
  3. Expanding the types of research that "count" for an insight (mixing their methods)
  4. Involving new teams in the research processes

All of this is likely positive for the consumers of product, services, and experiences. It's also a reminder that despite the splash and shine human-centered design thinkers (rightly) receive, there's a lot of room to grow, structure, and systematize.

Dr. Ben's reading list:

Interested in checking out other People Nerds podcast episodes? Read more of our breakdowns here.

Ben is the product evangelist at dscout, where he spreads the “good news” of contextual research, helps customers understand how to get the most from dscout, and impersonates everyone in the office. He has a doctorate in communication studies from Arizona State University, studying “nonverbal courtship signals”, a.k.a. flirting. No, he doesn’t have dating advice for you.

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