GRATITUDE: A CORE VALUE

For about five years I’ve been ending nearly all my work emails with one word: “thanks.” It’s a small thing and I’m not sure if my colleagues even notice it, but for me it’s a simple reminder to show my appreciation and gratitude for their part in the work we’re doing together.

GRATITUDE is another of the core values I strive to exemplify in the work that I do.

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The amount of support I received in my UX pursuit, in the form of wisdom, energy, time, money, encouragement, etc. from numerous people, is impossible to calculate. Without these people I would not be where I am today. I tried my best to thank them in this post.

And the support continues… Successful research projects don’t happen because of just one researcher; it’s thanks to the work of research participants, designers, product managers, recruiting partners, technical support, project managers, other researchers, and many other stakeholders.

I will always strive to work hard as I share my thanks and appreciation for all those involved.

EMPATHY: A CORE VALUE

As I gain more knowledge and experience in the field of user experience several values have emerged as the core values that I want to epitomize and demonstrate when I practice UX research and design. The first of these is EMPATHY.

Stanford’s d.school is a prominent leader in the design thinking process. They use design thinking as a powerful tool (or methodology) in the user experience research and design field. They believe that empathy is the centerpiece for creating great user experiences. “To create meaningful innovations, you need to know your users and care about their lives.”

I have seen this first hand and agree that empathy is extremely valuable in creating meaningful innovations or experiences. Over the past three years I have assisted UX researchers running usability sessions both in our office and out in the field. In this time I’ve sought to understand all that they must do while running these sessions. They are responsible for taking notes on participants’ words and actions, occasionally communicating with clients or team members in the middle of the session, and navigating some challenging technical equipment, all while cordially leading participants through the session. In observing this I understand that if I can lighten their load in any way I can help them to focus on running great sessions which in turn helps us discover great insights into the problems we are trying to solve. Because of this I’ve designed our labs and our field equipment to be as easy to use as possible while still delivering quality videos. I do whatever is necessary so that the technology used during sessions becomes invisible to the researchers.

As I’ve talked about in the past, empathy is a crucial part of creating great experiences. In truly caring about your users not only do you better understand their needs and desires but you also build meaningful (and often lasting) relationships.