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Awkward Silences

Author: User Interviews

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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.
32 Episodes
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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.
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. 
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.
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. 
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.  
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. 
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. 
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.
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.
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
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
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. 
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. 
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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