NN/g UX Podcast

By Nielsen Norman Group

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The Nielsen Norman Group (NNg) UX Podcast is a podcast on user experience research, design, strategy, and professions, hosted by Senior User Experience Specialist Therese Fessenden. Join us every month as she interviews industry experts, covering common questions, hot takes on pressing UX topics, and tips for building truly great user experiences. For free UX resources, references, and information on UX Certification opportunities, go to: www.nngroup.com

Episode Date
26. The Evolution of UX (feat. Dr. Jakob Nielsen, Co-Founder & Principal, NN/g)

The UX industry has recently seen what some call "unprecedented" shifts with layoffs and generative artificial intelligence rapidly changing how UX work is done. However, there have been similarly turbulent periods in tech, decades before. Dr. Jakob Nielsen reflects on the changes that have taken place over the near 25 years Nielsen Norman Group has been around, and discusses whether or not generative AI is just a phase or truly the next chapter of UX work.

Learn more about Dr. Jakob Nielsen

Past keynote speeches by Dr. Jakob Nielsen

Topics Covered:

  • 1:45 - Dr. Jakob Nielsen's "origin story"
  • 3:46 - What UX was like during the "dot-com boom"
  • 6:30 - How the UX profession has changed since the "dot-com boom"
  • 8:21 - Generative AI - a phase or the next chapter of UX work?
  • 13:26 - How AI will shift the labor of UX away from pixel-pushing and toward orchestration/editorializing
  • 16:58 - The future of UX: what keeps Dr. Jakob Nielsen inspired
  • 19:34 - Balancing the pressure to build new features vs. fixing existing infrastructures (UX debt)
  • 23:00 - Foundational UX ideologies: who is responsible for a good experience; matching how people actually behave
  • 25:17 - Advice for people new to UX 
  • 27:40 - Advice for experienced UX professionals in preparing for a future with AI
Mar 03, 2023
25. Discount Usability: Expert Reviews and Heuristic Evaluations (feat. Evan Sunwall, UX Specialist, NNg)

With the recent surge in tech layoffs, a downsizing of UX labor means UX research is harder to do, meaning: research needs to be prioritized in really intentional ways. Discount inspection methods like expert reviews and heuristic evaluations can help identify high-priority design issues that need further research and design effort. In this episode, Evan Sunwall offers some insight into how to facilitate and communicate the results of these inspection methods. 

Connect with Evan Sunwall on LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/esunwall/

Evan's Recommended Further Reading on NN/g:

Other Books:

  • Don't Make Me Think (book) - a very short and easy-to-read primer on usability and its role in creating successful products.
Feb 03, 2023
24. Artificial Intelligence: What Is It? What Is It Not? (feat. Susan Farrell, Principal UX Researcher at mmhmm.app)

The term artificial intelligence, AI, is having a bit of a boom, with the explosion in popularity of tools like ChatGPT, Lensa, DALL•E 2, and many others. The praises of AI have been equally met with skepticism and criticism, with cautionary tales about AI information quality, plagiarism, and other risks. Susan Farrell, the Principal UX Researcher at mmhmm, shares a bit about her experiences in researching chatbots and AI driven tools, and defines what AI is, what it isn’t, and what teams should consider when implementing AI systems.

Susan Farrell's social media: LinkedIn; Mastodon
What Susan is working on: mmhmm.app

NN/g courses referenced in this episode: 

Recommended Reading to deep dive into artificial intelligence & machine learning: 

Interested in working for us? Check out our job posting and apply by Jan. 30, 2023.

Jan 06, 2023
23. Building Better Products with a Better Mindset (feat. Ryan Hudson-Peralta, Principal Experience Designer at Rocket Homes)

Building exceptional experiences usable by all is no easy feat. Focusing on what can be influenced and accepting what cannot be changed are two critical steps to crafting better products... and careers. We spoke with Ryan Hudson-Peralta, a principal experience designer at Rocket Homes, who often introduces himself as a "father, husband, international speaker, and designer... who just happens to be born without hands." Ryan shares a bit about his journey into the UX field, and how his mindset of curiosity and positivity allows him to create meaningful experiences with his designs and with his career.

Learn more about Ryan Hudson-Peralta: lookmomnohands.com

If you would like to learn about UX design, we have thousands of articles and videos at our website www.nngroup.com

Full-Day Design Courses (also available in 2 half-day formats)

Sep 30, 2022
22. UX, Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence (feat. Kenya Oduor, Ph.D., founder of Lean Geeks)

How has the UX field changed over the years? What does the future of UX work look like if scope is wildly expanding? Will we be automated out of a job? What should teams do to ensure they’re not misinterpreting data? Kenya Oduor shares her thoughts on these questions and more, offering suggestions for UX professionals wishing to set themselves up for success in a future of coexistence with artificial intelligence systems and automation. (Surprisingly, these tips are quite helpful for planning and analyzing quantitative user research as well.)

Learn more about Kenya Oduor, Ph.D. and Lean Geeks: Bio, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, LeanGeeks.net

Related NN/g Articles & Videos:

The Relationship Between Artificial Intelligence and User Experience (4 min video)

AI & Machine Learning Will Change UX Research & Design (11 min video)

10 Usability Heuristics in Interface Design (article)

Visibility of System Status (Usability Heuristic #1) (article)

Hierarchy of Trust: The 5 Experiential Levels of Commitment (article)

Related NN/g Course: Emerging Patterns in Interface Design (UXC course - full day or 2 half-days)

Aug 12, 2022
21. Making Your Visual Designs Work Harder For You (feat. Kelley Gordon, Digital Design Lead at NN/g)

Visual design takes a lot more work than just making things look pretty, and is a fundamental part of many user's experiences. Our digital design lead, Kelley Gordon, shares some practical tips for both designers and "non-designers" alike to strengthen visual designs and improve working relationships. 

Read more about Kelley Gordon here

Follow us on Instagram @nngux

Full-day courses and 1-Hour Talks referenced in this episode:

Jun 03, 2022
20. What Makes a "Good" UX Professional?
What does it take to be successful in the field of user experience? There isn't a single, clear-cut answer, but there are a number of different skills, traits, and perspectives that foster better workplace relationships and strengthen creative problem-solving. Anna Kaley and other fellow NN/g UX Specialists offer their insights on the commonalities that highly effective UX professionals seem to share, and how they can enable more human-centered outcomes. In this episode... Anna Kaley proposes "6 C's" list of characteristics that enable UX practitioners to succeed in the workplace. Maria Rosala shares some findings from our UX careers research, which prove have some timeless advice, despite frequent changes in the industry. Tanner Kohler highlights the importance of human-centered research versus feature-focused research in creating human-centered designs. Rachel Krause offers recommendations on how to evolve from being a designer in isolation into a designer with influence. Kim Salazar discusses the necessity to see ambiguity not as something to be feared, but as something to be explored. Finally, a featured clip from UX Certified community member, Katherine Joyce which celebrates habits and mindsets to which we all can aspire.
Apr 19, 2022
19. Designing a UX Career (feat. Sarah Doody, Founder of the Career Strategy Lab)

Have you thought about your career lately? Chances are, you have - given the buzz around the record high voluntary resignation rates during this “Great Resignation.” In this episode, Sarah Doody, UX Researcher, Experience Designer, and Founder of the Career Strategy Lab, shares her thoughts on how UX professionals can design their ideal careers, whether they’re in the market for a new role or not.

Read more about Sarah Doody: 

NN/g Resources on UX Careers:

Interested in working with us? Apply to this posting by April 4th

Mar 18, 2022
18. Presenting UX Work in a Compelling Way (feat. David Glazier, Senior Staff UX Designer at Illumina)

UX professionals often find themselves saddled with the burden of convincing others to value UX work. David Glazier, Sr. Staff UX Lead of Digital Experience at Illumina tells his story about how effective communication helped him get buy-in with stakeholders and key decision-makers.

Read more about David Glazier on LinkedIn

Courses & Talks mentioned in this episode:

More articles, videos, and upcoming training can be found at www.nngroup.com

Feb 04, 2022
17. User Research Trends: What's Changed and What Hasn't (feat. Erin May and JH Forster, hosts of Awkward Silences)

There is no question that user research has changed over the last two years, but how significant are those changes? The answer is complex, but User Interviews' Erin May (VP Growth & Marketing) and JH Forster (VP Product) demystify these trends and share their observations and hopes for the years to come.

Check out the Awkward Silences podcast by User Interviews

Erin May: Twitter (@erinhmay), LinkedIn

John-Henry (JH) Forster: Twitter (@jhforster), LinkedIn

User Interviews: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook

Related NN/g Articles & Videos:

Recruiting and Screening Candidate for User Research Studies (article)

Qualitative Research Study Guide (article)

Quantitative Research Study Guide (article)

Related 1-Hour Talks:

Remote Research Trends (1-Hour Talk)

How Inclusive Design Expands Business Value (1-Hour Talk)

Upcoming Training Events:

Virtual UX Conference January 8-21  (2 half-day format)

Qualitative Research Series April 4-8 (5-day training event)

User Interviews Links:

The State of User Research 2021 Report

User Research Field Guides

Recruit 3 research participants for free on UserInterviews.com

Jan 07, 2022
16. What's up with DesignOps? (feat. Kate Kaplan, Insights Architect at NN/g)

As design teams mature in size and scope, the importance of intentionally designing and systematizing processes, approaches, and tools becomes increasingly difficult to ignore. Kate Kaplan shares insights from her research studying design teams and offers tips for those seeking to initiate and lead DesignOps efforts as a way to make design more impactful at their organizations.

Learn more about Kate Kaplan on LinkedIn and nngroup.com

NN/g Resources Mentioned:

Other Links Mentioned:
Rosenfeld Media’s DesignOps Summit: ​​https://rosenfeldmedia.com/designopssummit2021/

A note on companies to follow, from Kate: "There are so many teams at different organizations publicly sharing and publishing their DesignOps journeys and experiments, and I think that willingness to share is amazing and points to the greater community being built around DesignOps. Some that come top of mind to follow are Salesforce, Cisco, IBM, AirBnB, Pinterest, Athena Health, Atlassian. Most of these companies have internal design blogs or medium channels where they share their approaches."

Dec 13, 2021
15. The Metaverse, Blockchain, and UX (feat. Geoff Robertson, Founder & UX Specialist at Chockablock)

A two-part podcast episode discussing the implications of decentralized computing and mixed reality on the future of UX work.

Geoff's Website: geoffrobertson.me

1-Hour Talks discussed in the episode:

Related courses:

Upcoming online events:

Nov 08, 2021
14. Keeping Product Visions User-Centered (feat. Anna Kaley, UX Specialist at NN/g)

Product visions can align a team and inspire a better future state. When visions stem from real user needs, the ideas that follow have the greatest potential for success. NN/g UX Specialist Anna Kaley discusses keeping users at the center of product development, and shares insights from next weeks' UX Vision and Strategy Series, presented alongside Chief Designer, Sarah Gibbons.

Read more about Anna Kaley (NN/g bio)

Referenced courses and training series:

Related (free) videos & articles:

  • UX Vision (3-min video by Anna Kaley)
    Create an aspirational view of the experience users will have with your product, service, or organization in the future. This isn't fluff, but will guide a unified design strategy. Here are 5 steps to creating a UX vision.
  • UX Roadmaps: Definition and Components (article by Sarah Gibbons)
Oct 14, 2021
13. Special Edition: What's the "UX hill" you would die on?

To kick off Season 2, we're releasing a special edition episode, inspired by a tweet posted by @AllisonGrayce in Feb 2021, where she asks followers, "what's a #ux hill you regularly die on?" Host Therese Fessenden asks both NN/g team members and members of the UXC and UXMC community what issues, topics, and principles they fiercely stand by, and shares their answers.

Guests and submissions featured in the episode (in order):

Chris Callaghan (UXMC) - UX and Optimisation Director (Manchester, UK)
Twitter: @CallaghanDesign

Kara Pernice - Sr. VP at Nielsen Norman Group
Bio: nngroup.com/people/kara-pernice 

Mary Formanek (UXMC) - Senior User Experience + Product Lead Engineer (Arizona, US)
Mary's Article: "Label Your Icons: No, we can’t read your mind. Please label your icons."
Tiktok: @UXwithMary

Ben Shih - UX Consultant and Product Designer (Stockholm, Sweden)
Portfolio: benshih.design

Rachel Krause - UX Specialist at Nielsen Norman Group
Bio: nngroup.com/people/rachel-krause/ 

Anna Kaley - UX Specialist at Nielsen Norman Group
Bio: nngroup.com/people/anna-kaley

You can find also information about the upcoming UX Vision and Strategy Series with Anna Kaley and Sarah Gibbons here. 

Oct 08, 2021
12. ResearchOps (feat. Kara Pernice, Sr. VP at NN/g)

One might think user research gets easier when there are more people available to do it; but managing research initiatives at scale can be a difficult task in itself. In this episode, Kara Pernice, Senior VP at NN/g shares her experience and insights about managing UX research operations.

Kara Pernice's Articles and Videos (NN/g bio) 

NN/g courses and articles referenced in this episode:

Research repository tools mentioned:

Other ResearchOps pioneers and communities:

...and if you were curious what research papers launched Kara into her UX career, here are two of them:

  • Nielsen, J. (1990). Big paybacks from 'discount' usability engineering. IEEE Software 7, 3 (May), 107-108.
  • Nielsen, J. (1992). Finding usability problems through heuristic evaluation. Proc. ACM CHI'92 (Monterey, CA, 3-7 May), 373-380.
Jul 02, 2021
11. Solo UX: How to Be a One-Person UX Team (feat. Garrett Goldfield, UX Specialist at NN/g)

Advocating for UX work is hard. It's even harder when you're the only UX professional on your team. That said, there is still hope for one-person UX teams, and Garrett Goldfield shares his recommendations on how to make the most out of limited time and resources, and how to lead the charge in shifting corporate culture toward a more human-centered future.

Read more about Garrett Goldfield (NN/g bio)

Resources & courses cited in this episode:

Jun 04, 2021
10. On Delight, Emotion, and UX - Flipping the Script with UX Specialists Therese Fessenden & Rachel Krause

To celebrate our first podcast milestone, we flipped the script. NN/g UX Specialist Rachel Krause guest-hosts this episode, and interviews host Therese Fessenden about the concept of "delight" in user experience: what it is, why the pursuit of delight can often be a short-sighted and misunderstood endeavor, and how a more holistic approach to interpreting and anticipating user needs can more reliably lead to an experience that delights beyond a single interaction.

Read more about the hosts: 

Free resources cited in this episode:

Other resources cited in this episode:

May 07, 2021
9. You Are Not the User: How the the False Consensus Effect Can Lead Good Design Astray (feat. Alita Joyce, UX Specialist at NN/g)

Does having more experience in the UX industry enable you to make better design decisions by intuition? Does user research ever become a waste of time if some research already exists in academic papers? The answer, it seems, is not that simple. In this episode, UX Specialists Alita Joyce and Therese Fessenden discuss why, after all these years doing independent user research, you should still test your interfaces and research with your own customers.

Read more: Alita Joyce's Articles & Videos (NN/g bio)

Free resources cited in this episode:

Other resources cited in this episode:

Apr 02, 2021
8. Thinking Beyond Interactions: Omnichannel Experiences and CX (feat. Kim Salazar, Sr. UX Specialist at NN/g)

What does it take to create a great customer experience? As it turns out: a lot more than just a series of great interactions. Kim Salazar, Sr. UX Specialist, shares her expertise on what omnichannel experiences are, why they matter for CX, and how having a mature CX means fundamentally changing how we view and handle UX work.

Resources cited in this episode

Other related articles & videos

Mar 05, 2021
7. Lessen Digital Misery with Complex Apps (feat. Page Laubheimer, Sr. UX Specialist at NN/g)

"Keep it simple," is one of many great UX mantras... but how exactly does someone "keep it simple" when working with complex applications? In this episode, Page Laubheimer, Senior UX Specialist with NN/g, shares his expertise in information architecture (IA) and complex app design, recommends a few ideas to "lessen digital misery" on business-to-business (B2B) and enterprise applications, and offers advice for when you have to redesign a legacy application that is part of a user's everyday life.

Resources cited in this episode:

Feb 05, 2021
6. Ethics in UX (feat. Maria Rosala, UX Specialist at NN/g)

Aren't all "user-centered" designs ethical by default if we're giving people what they want? Not exactly. Maria Rosala, UX Specialist at NN/g, shares her thoughts about how we can be better researchers and designers by asking critical questions about our research and design decisions, evaluating important tradeoffs, and ensuring we include the right people in our research and design process.

Resources Cited in this Episode:

Also related: How Inclusive Design Expands Business Value (1-hr online seminar)

Jan 01, 2021
5. ROI: The Business Value of UX (feat. Kate Moran, Sr. UX Specialist at NN/g)

How do you evaluate the impact of UX work? As the world faces another bout of pandemic lockdowns, UX teams are finding themselves in a tough position of justifying their work to business decision-makers. Kate Moran, Senior UX Specialist at NN/g, shares insights from her recently published report on UX Metrics and ROI (return on investment) and offers advice on how to prove your worth. In this episode, we cover: what ROI is and why it matters, avoiding common pitfalls when calculating ROI, and how to stay growth-oriented without harming long-term business strategy. 

Resources cited in this episode:

Dec 04, 2020
4. Creativity During a Crisis (feat. Aurora Harley, Sr. UX Specialist at NN/g)

"Diamonds are made under pressure," but what does that mean for creativity and productivity? Aurora Harley, Senior UX Specialist, shares some advice on staying creative and productive during times of stress, thoughts on reframing constraints as opportunities, and tips for nurturing an environment that fosters innovative thought regardless of distance.

Resources Cited in this Episode

Nov 06, 2020
3. UX Careers: Growing in (and out of) Your Current Role (feat. Rachel Krause, UX Specialist at NN/g)

What does a typical UX career path look like? Are there even typical career paths in UX? How can you become a UX leader? What should new and seasoned UX professionals keep in mind as they move through their careers? Rachel Krause, a UX Specialist at Nielsen Norman Group, shares her insights from her research on the UX profession, and perspectives from her own journey into the field of user experience.

Resources Cited in this Episode:

Oct 09, 2020
2. Empathy, Adaptability, and Design (feat. Sarah Gibbons, Chief Designer at NN/g)

Sarah Gibbons & Therese Fessenden discuss empathy and adaptability as critical design skills (perhaps now more than ever) and share thoughts on how design plays a bigger role than meets the eye. 

Resources cited in this episode:

Also related: Brené on Comparative Suffering, the 50/50 Myth, and Settling the Ball (Unlocking Us with Brené Brown podcast episode)

Sep 04, 2020
1. What is UX, anyway? (feat. Dr. Jakob Nielsen, the usability guru)

Nielsen Norman Group is celebrating its 22nd anniversary by launching our very own NN/g UX Podcast. Join host Therese Fessenden as she interviews NN/g co-founder Dr. Jakob Nielsen on the most important questions about our industry: What really is "user experience," anyway? And what is the state of UX now, compared to when NN/g started 22 years ago? 

Resources Cited in this Episode:

Aug 10, 2020