DiscoverAnthro to UX with Matt Artz
Anthro to UX with Matt Artz

Anthro to UX with Matt Artz

Author: Matt Artz

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The Anthro to UX podcast is for anthropologists looking to break into user experience (UX) research. Through conversations with leading anthropologists working in UX, you will learn firsthand how others made the transition, what they learned along the way, and what they would do differently. We will also discuss what it means to do UX research from a practical perspective and what you need to do to prepare a resume and portfolio. It is hosted by Matt Artz (, a business anthropologist specializing in design anthropology and working at the intersection of product management, user experience, and business strategy. To learn more about the Anthro to UX podcast and career coaching services, please visit the website (
41 Episodes
In this Anthro to UX podcast episode, Sarah Elizabeth Yoho speaks with Matt Artz about her UX journey. The conversation covers Sarah's journey from law to medical anthropology, her transition into UX research during the pandemic, and the importance of translating anthropological experiences into the job application process. Sarah also discusses the concept of impact in research, the role of operations in policy implementation, and the significance of strategy in linking company goals to research and data points. Additionally, she highlights the potential for UX research in financial services. About Sarah Elizabeth Yoho Sarah Elizabeth Yoho is a Senior UX Researcher with a focus on strategy, policy and operations, and a specialization in ethnographic research. She has successfully planned, facilitated, and delivered diverse projects with a variety of clients in various sectors, including banks, NGOs, nonprofits, peak bodies, consultancies, and lobbyists. Her professional skillset features an international profile, including work at the Australian Medical Council (Policy Strategy & Compliance), the European Commission (Policy Research) & Macquarie University (Program Development). At AnswerLab, Sarah Elizabeth works in the Financial Services Team where she leverages her policy strategy background and ethnographic expertise to lead strategic UX Research projects, facilitate workshops, and foster client relationships. She holds a Masters in Medical Anthropology & Public Health (MCHaM) from the Australian National University and a Marie Skłodowska Curie PhD in Medical & Environmental Anthropology from the University of Leeds. Recommended Links Sarah Elizabeth Yoho's website Sarah Elizabeth Yoho on Linkedin Ask a Manager Business Anthropology by Ann Jordan
In this Anthro to UX podcast episode, Joseph Galanek speaks with Matt Artz about his UX journey. The conversation covers Joe's journey from being inspired by cultural experiences when traveling to pursuing degrees in anthropology and public health. He shares his challenges in finding a job in anthropology departments due to specific research interests and how he discovered opportunities in consulting agencies that value qualitative and quantitative research. The discussion also explores Joe's work leading client engagements as a UX Strategy Manager at Answerlab and his experience mentoring anthropologists transitioning into business. About Joseph Galanek Joseph Galanek is an accomplished user experience researcher and UXR strategist with over 15 years of experience in academia and industry. As the UX Strategy Manager at AnswerLab, he collaborates with ecommerce leaders, designing and implementing customized research that meets partners' objectives and business goals. Joseph's expertise includes qualitative and mixed methods research, scoping, and client engagement. With a strong academic background, including a PhD in Cultural Anthropology and an MPH from Case Western Reserve University, Joseph has held research roles at various organizations such as HireWisdom, EDUCAUSE, and ICF. He has contributed to impactful projects, including CDC health campaigns and national HIV prevention initiatives, and is known for balancing methodological rigor with pragmatic strategies. Key Moments 00:02:00 - Reflections on a Career in Anthropology 00:06:36 - Exploring Career Opportunities in Research Consultancies 00:08:12 - Applying Qualitative Research Skills in an Applied Environment 00:14:17 - Collaborative Efforts and Demonstrating Value in Anthropology Research 00:16:00 - Moving from Academia to Business: Advice for Anthropologists 00:19:41 - Making a Good First Impression on LinkedIn 00:21:19 - Analysis of Research Objectives and Actionable Recommendations for Development Teams 00:22:48 -Exploring Trends in Cost-Effective UX Research Recommended Links
In this Anthro to UX podcast episode, Rama Vennelakanti speaks with Matt Artz about her UX journey. The conversation covers Rama's journey from discovering anthropology to her stint in market research and, finally, her landing in the field of UX. It also touches on Rama's willingness to jump in head first and learn something when needed. It is an inspiring example of how one should not be afraid of the unknown and embrace new challenges. Rama's fearlessness has enabled her to explore different areas of research and innovation, leading to her success as a skilled anthropologist and UX strategist. About Rama Vennelakanti As an anthropologist, Rama Vennelakanti has become a skilled researcher and UX strategist, currently working as a Senior UX Researcher & Strategist in UXDX Developer Relations, Network, and Edge Group at Intel Corporation. Her role involves utilizing her extensive experience in driving UX strategy backed by research, which has led to a proven track record of positively impacting businesses and their customers. Previously, Rama was a Senior User Researcher and UX Lead at HP for over nine years. During this time, she honed her ability to work effectively with global multi-disciplinary teams and internal and external stakeholders in innovation environments, enabling her to deliver exceptional results across various industry verticals ranging from IT, Telecom to FMCG. Her passion for technology and commitment to driving actionable insights from research has been consistent theme throughout her career. Recommended Links Rama Vennelakanti on LinkedIn
In this episode of the Anthro to UX podcast, Victoria de Aranzeta speaks with Matt Artz about her UX journey. The conversation covers Victoria's journey from art school to anthropology. She discusses how she combines those skills as a product designer, and how her anthropological study of tools contributes to her work today. About Victoria de Aranzeta Victoria de Aranzeta is a multi-disciplinary UX designer and researcher passionate about creating purpose-driven tools and decolonizing design thinking. She is currently working at NCX as a Senior Product Designer, where she leads the design of the Landowner Platform and operationalizes ethical research practices across the company. Victoria has also worked as a founding product designer and researcher at Spora Health, where she led the design vision and research strategy for creating culture-centered healthcare products for People of Color. She established and led decolonizing design and research practices to build people-centered experiences and created processes, research toolkits, and a design system with accessible components. Prior to Spora Health, Victoria was an interaction designer on crowdsourcing software at Google on the Crowdsource team, where she partnered with other designers, researchers, and engineers to create a more ethics-rooted AI. With vast experience in ethical research, qualitative research, UX writing, design systems, and strategy, Victoria is a creative designer and critical thinker specializing in decolonizing design thinking, visual design, accessible design, and interaction design.
In this episode of the Anthro to UX podcast, Paige Nuzzolillo speaks with Matt Artz about her UX journey. The conversation covers Paige's early research career in participatory action research, the importance of training and mentorship, and how she uses art-based research (ABR) methods in her work as a Senior UX Researcher at Indeed. About Paige Nuzzolillo Paige Nuzzolillo is an energetic, collaborative, strategic, participatory, and creative qualitative UX Researcher. She currently works at on the SMB team with 50+ other researchers. She is embedded in a product team building tools to help fast-growing employers find the candidates they need regularly. Recommended Links Paige Nuzzolillo's website Paige Nuzzolillo on LinkedIn Paige Nuzzolillo on Medium Episode Transcript Please note this transcript is an automated transcription and may have some errors. 0:00:00.7 Matt Artz: Welcome to the Anthro to UX podcast. You will learn how to break into UX within anthropology degree through conversations to competing anthropologists working in user experience, you will learn firsthand how others make the transition, what they learned along the way and what they would do differently. We will be discussing what it means to do UX research from a practical perspective, and what you need to do to prepare a resume and portfolio on your host, Matt Artz, a business a
In this episode of the Anthro to UX podcast, Eric Cunningham speaks with Matt Artz about his UX journey. Eric discusses his recent transition to being a Senior UX Researcher at Crossover Health. He shares how he learned to tell his academic story and business terms and how his training as an ecological anthropologist supports him in understanding the relationships between people, places, and things. About Eric Cunningham Eric Cunningham is an ecological anthropologist working at the intersection of UX, research strategy, and service design. He is interested in understanding how humans think about and interact with larger systems. He is passionate about evidence-based design that makes people happy, keeps them engaged, and helps businesses grow. Eric enjoys discussing critical theory, capitalism, political ecology, complexity, and imagined futures. He also enjoys spending time outdoors with the little beings I live with (an 11yo corgi and a 3yo human). Recommended Links Eric Cunningham's website Eric Cunningham on LinkedIn
In this episode of the Anthro to UX podcast, Jamie Sherman speaks with Matt Artz about her UX journey. Her story began with a cold call to Ken Anderson at Intel for an informational interview and matured into a career researching emerging technologies at Intel, Netflix, and now Atlassian. About Jamie Sherman Jamie Sherman is a cultural anthropologist and a senior researcher at Atlassian. Previously she was a senior product researcher at Netflix and a senior research scientist at Intel. Past work focused on emergent technological practices, from quantified self to virtual reality and the future of entertainment. Her research has developed usages and driven strategies for video game play, media creation, and online toxicity. Jamie holds a PhD in anthropology from Princeton University and was co-chair of EPIC2021. Recommended Links Jamie Sherman on LinkedIn
In this episode of the Anthro to UX podcast, Sara Hefny speaks with Matt Artz about her UX journey from studying anthropology at Brown to working at Hotjar as a Senior Product Researcher. About Sara Hefny Sara Hefny earned a PhD in anthropology from Brown University and has since gone on to become a UX researcher working for Hotjar. As a qualitative researcher with nearly a decade of work across multiple continents and languages, Sara brings a much-needed anthropological lens to digital product research. Raised between Seattle, Washington and Alexandria, Egypt, Sara has called multiple cities, countries, and continents home and brings an intrinsic talent for cooperation and building bridges to all areas of her work.  In addition to her work with user experience and product research, Sara is a highly-requested speaker on qualitative research best practices, conducting research with international populations, working with vulnerable people, and transitioning from academia to industry.  Recommended Links Sara Hefny on LinkedIn Sara Hefny on Twitter Sara Hefny's website
In this episode of the Anthro to UX podcast, Jo Aiken speaks with Matt Artz about her UX journey from studying applied anthropology at UNT to working at NASA and now Google. About Jo Aiken As a business + design anthropologist, Jo Aiken helps leaders innovate, create, build, and launch transformative technologies and practices. She applies ethnography, user experience research, qualitative and quantitative methods, and human behavior theories to help high-performing organizations solve people-related challenges. From change management strategies to designing spacecraft, she has advised and coached CEO-level executives through a myriad of organizational and technical challenges. She uses her skills in
In this episode of the Anthro to UX podcast, Alexandra Mack speaks with Matt Artz about her UX journey from studying archaeology to her current role as Managing Principal Researcher at Ad Hoc. Along the way, the conversation touches on her time at Bitney Bowes and reflects on the shifting practice of research and design. About Alexandra Mack Alexandra Mack is an anthropologist and Managing Principal Researcher at Ad Hoc. Her passion for understanding people, what they do, and why they do it has led to a career at the intersection of customer-centered design, innovation, market research, opportunity identification, business planning, and cultural change. As one of the first anthropologists hired at Pitney Bowes, she established frameworks for research and analysis and developed a program of work practice research. She also facilitated opportunity identification, designed end-to-end client experiences, and worked closely with internal stakeholders to orchestrate the execution of new ideas and processes.  Recommended Links Alexandra Mack on LinkedIn Alexandra Mack on Twitter Alchymyx Ad Hoc LLC
In this episode of the Anthro to UX podcast, Kathi Kitner speaks with Matt Artz about her UX journey through multiple anthropological professions to her current role as Lead UX Researcher at Google. The conversation covers the state of research in tech before UX and how the profession has changed over time. About Kathi Kitner Kathi Kitner is a Lead UX Researcher at Google and holds a PhD in cultural anthropology and Latin American Studies. She brings strong expertise in the fields of sustainable development, ecological and human adaption, public policy and social impact evaluation to her current work on information communication technologies (ICTs) and social change. She is currently researching broadly how people around the world pay for things online and off, how money flows through cultures, and how the "larger intersections" of class, ethnicity, race, gender, shifting national politics, and technology adoption all influence people's economic behaviors. Recommended Links Kathi Kitner on LinkedIn Kathi Kitner on Twitter EPIC Society for Applied Anthropology American Anthropological Association
In this episode of the Anthro to UX podcast, Frank Romagosa speaks with Matt Artz about his UX journey, from starting at E-Lab (Sapient) to his current role as Senior User Experience Researcher at CloudSort Corporation. The conversation covers the earlier days of design research, the maturation of UX, and why surprise is helpful when presenting insights.  About Frank Romagosa Frank Romagosa is ananthropologist, a design and research strategist, and a brand and business builder, based in New York, USA. For over 20 years Frank has worked with designers and product leaders from a broad range of Fortune 100 enterprises to young and nimble startups to build new products, platforms, services, and user experiences. Frank has helped major banks like CitiCards, Wells Fargo and Chase seize new opportunities that impact the lives of ordinary people while delivering new avenues of sustainable business growth. Frank has also helped start-ups in financial services and related hybrid industries push through the messiness of their potential customers’ everyday lives to prioritize new features in the early days of business creation. He is currently a Senior User Experience Researcher at CloudSort Corporation. Recommended Links Frank Romagosa on LinkedIn Frank Romagosa on Twitter EPIC
In this Anthro to UX podcast episode, Melissa Krug speaks with Matt Artz about her UX journey, linguistic anthropology, finding her way to UX during the pandemic, and her role at AnswerLab as a Qualitative UX Researcher. About Melissa Krug Melissa Krug is a linguistic anthropologist. She earned her Phd from Temple University and works at AnswerLab as a Qualitative UX Researcher. Her academic, consulting, and teaching research projects have included interviews, observations, survey design and analysis (quantitative and qualitative), and ethnography and have spanned over 12 years. Trained specifically in linguistic anthropological methods, Melissa is able to use common conversations as data and draw insights about concepts like identity construction, power dynamics, sentiment, and engagement. She has analyzed stories, gestures, translation practices, natural conversations, print content, social media, and recorded interviews to understand how people engage with different situations, other people, brands, and themselves. Recommended Links Melissa Krug on LinkedIn AnswerLab
In this Anthro to UX podcast episode, Olive Minor speaks with Matt Artz about her UX journey, working in global health, and her current role at Anthro-Tech. Olive earned a PhD in anthropology from Northwestern University. About Olive Minor Olive is an applied anthropologist and UX researcher working at the intersection of global health and technology. Whether in global health or tech, Olive uses her research skills to understand the needs and experiences of vulnerable groups and translates their insights into practical recommendations that improve policies, programs, and products. Olive earned her PhD in Anthropology and Masters in Public Health (MPH) at Northwestern University in 2014. Her dissertation research explored how transgender people in Kampala, Uganda, balanced visibility, and risk in the context of Uganda’s 2008 Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Olive’s MPH thesis examined barriers to HIV prevention and treatment services for transgender Ugandans. One of her proudest accomplishments was in 2014-2015 when she carried out fieldwork with Oxfam’s response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa sparking key changes in their community engagement strategies. In 2016, Olive was awarded an ACLS Public Fellowship to conduct research and evaluation with the International Rescue Committee. At IRC, she collaborated with research and design partners to identify and find solutions to barriers that refugees face when resettling in the U.S. In 2019, Olive pivoted to design anthropology in global tech, and has carried out research with companies like Google, Facebook, and Etsy. At Anthro-Tech, Olive continues to craft her career from the things she loves: seeing new places, talking with people, and trying to make the world a better place through User-Centered Design. When she’s not working, you might find Olive cruising around Seattle on her e-bike, playing in the park with her daughter, reading fiction, practicing the piano, or practicing French vocab on Duolingo. Recommended Links Olive Minor on LinkedIn Anthro-Tech website
In this Anthro to UX podcast episode, Gigi Taylor speaks with Matt Artz about her UX journey, working in advertising, and the pivot to product. Gigi earned an MA in applied anthropology from the University of North Texas. She was a partner in the Practica Group and is currently a Qualitative UX Researcher at About Gigi Taylor Gigi Taylor is a cultural anthropologist working as a qualitative UX researcher with Indeed in Austin, Texas. As a research practitioner, she conducts cultural anthropology research for business. As a scholar, she conducts anthropology research of business.  What distinguishes her applied and academic research is that she uses a cultural anthropological lens to study business—advertising, consumers, brands, consumption, users, products, digital experiences, and organizations. She embraces the idea that consumer and user experience insights informed by a cultural analysis can serve as the muse and inspiration for all aspects of product and brand strategy.  The magic of cultural analysis is the theory of interpretive and symbolic cultural anthropology (Clifford Geertz and Victor Turner). She was a partner with Practica Group, a consumer anthropology research consultancy where she conducted ethnographies, focus groups, interviews, diary studies, and observations. She started her research strategy career as an Account Planner at Publics & Hal Riney Advertising in San Francisco and has owned Luminosity Research, a qualitative research consultancy, since 2006. She has a PhD and MA in Advertising from the University of Texas and an MA in Applied Anthropology from the University of North Texas. Her published academic research has appeared in both advertising and anthropological journals. Recommended Links Gigi Taylor's website Gigi Taylor on LinkedIn
In this episode of the Anthro to UX podcast, Peter Leykam speaks with Matt Artz about his UX journey, cryptocurrency, and working in emerging tech. Peter is an anthropology PhD candidate at UC Santa Cruz and holds an MA in anthropology from Hunter College. He is a User Experience Researcher at Coinbase. Previously he worked for Alibaba. About Peter Leykam Peter Leykam is an anthropologist working at the intersection of markets and design. He researched design and business strategy in Chinese businesses while doing graduate studies in the anthropology of capitalism and design at UC Santa Cruz. Realizing that design research was more interesting than researching design, he left academia to focus on user research. He has worked in a number of fields, including wearable AI tech, e-commerce, and is now at Coinbase, where he helps build technologies and platforms for emerging cryptocurrency markets. Recommended Links Peter Leykam on LinkedIn Coinbase Learn The Held Report The Basics of Bitcoins and Blockchains by Anthony Lewis Unchained Podcast
In this episode of the Anthro to UX podcast, Racine Brown speaks with Matt Artz about his UX journey, medical anthropology, and leading a UX team. Racine earned a PhD in Applied Anthropology from the University of South Florida. He has worked for Radiant Digital and is starting a new role at AnswerLab where he will be a Senior UX Researcher. Racine also served a tour in the United States Marine Corps as a platoon leader and staff officer. About Racine Brown Racine Brown is a business anthropologist and user experience researcher with extensive research and leadership experience.  Racine’s perspective on people and on the conduct of research is informed by a wide array of roles filled and activities he has participated in over the last couple of decades. After graduating with a BA in anthropology from Wake Forest University, he served a tour in the United States Marine Corps as a platoon leader and staff officer.  Racine is well versed in theory and practice in biocultural anthropology from his time in graduate school, first completing a Masters’ in anthropology at the University of South Carolina and then a Ph.D. in applied anthropology at the University of South Florida. His post-graduate work includes research on the association between traumatic brain injury and post-injury weight gain during a post-doctoral fellowship at the Tampa Veterans Affairs Medical Center and pro-bono consulting for a couple of Tampa Bay-area non-profits.  Racine’s UX research work includes consulting with startups in the property-tech and fintech spaces and work as a lead UX researcher and research Manager for Radiant Digital, LLC. This week, he will start a new role as a senior UX researcher for AnswerLab. Recommended Links Racine Brown on LinkedIn Racine's UX articles on Radiant Digital
In this episode of the Anthro to UX podcast,  Nadine Levin speaks with Matt Artz about her UX journey, mixed methods research, and democratizing research. Nadine earned a PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Oxford. She has worked for Facebook and is currently a Senior User Researcher at San Francisco Digital Services. About Nadine Levin Nadine Levin is an anthropologist, UX researcher, and writer. A molecular biologist turned anthropologist of data turned strategic researcher, Nadine has been thinking about the social implications of data for years. Nadine started her career by working with scientists, arts and humanities professionals, lawyers, and philosophers on big data practices, open science, and personalized medicine. She then moved on to Facebook as a mixed-methods researcher where she got to play with data to figure out how to make the Facebook experience better for its global user base. Most recently, Nadine moved on to San Francisco Digital Services where she is working to improve citywide systems and democratize research in the organization. Recommended Links Nadine Levin on LinkedIn Nadine Levin on Twitter Nadine Levin on Google Scholar
In this episode of the Anthro to UX podcast, Maria Angelica Lizarazo Tarazona speaks with Matt Artz about her UX journey, product management, and how her information technology skills support her anthropology work. Maria earned a degree in Anthropology from the Universidad Externado de Colombia and works as a UX research lead. About Maria Angelica Lizarazo Tarazona Maria Angelica Lizarazo Tarazona is an entrepreneur and business anthropologist from Bogota, Colombia. She is currently a UX Research Lead at Blackboard-Anthology. She has more than a decade of experience in digital & tech product development for telco, financial and educational markets. Recommended Links Maria Angelica Lizarazo Tarazona on LinkedIn
In this episode of the Anthro to UX podcast, Karl Haas speaks with Matt Artz about his UX journey, ethnomusicology,  the importance of effective UX writing, and his upcoming talk at the UX Writers Conference. Karl earned a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from Boston University and works as a UX Writer for the Weather Channel. About Karl Haas Karl J. Haas, Ph.D. is a UX writer and researcher with a background in ethnography and the arts. He is currently a UX writer at The Weather Channel and content strategist for RebelBase, an EdTech startup. An ethnomusicologist by training, he has studied music and culture in Ghana, West Africa, and has taught at institutions such as MIT, Middlebury College, and Berklee College of Music. Recommended Links Karl Haas on LinkedIn Karl Haas's website UX Writers Conference  
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