Hey, everybody, it’s Cathi Bosco from rethink.fm the forward-thinking podcast about experience design. Join me and special guests to discuss effective design, technology, and the intersection of helping people and entrepreneurship. From user experience research to product roadmaps. We’ve got you covered. The big news today is that I will officially be taking over the rethink.fm podcast, founded by Jackie D’Elia and then co-hosted by Jackie, Monique Dubbelman, and myself. Moving forward, I will be conducting one-on-one interviews with experienced professionals to gain insights into their practices, their projects, and their teams. Let’s face it, design is a team sport, technology and user needs are continuously evolving and we can learn a lot from each other’s experiences along the way. Since this episode is a transition episode each of us will answer a few questions and at the end of the podcast, I’ll give some definitive insights into where we’re headed moving forward. I hope you’ll enjoy this episode. Thank you for joining. What does UX mean to you today, compared to early in your career?
Full Transcript of this Podcast Episode
Jackie All right fans, for those of you who are really excited here on the Miro board shape-shifter, we are working with connectors right now. Cathi is stepping up right now to try to connect two circles and is notate something in the Miro board. It looks like she's using the word start. That's S T A R T and it looks like she's getting ready to put a comment in. Yes, yep. Yep, it looks like we're gonna get a yellow sticky. Wow! The crowd is rapidly gathering all around with anticipation for what the sticky is going to say. Yes. Yep, it looks like it's coming right now. There it goes. Pain and friction. Wow. Several people just put their hands up to their faces and the crowd is just in shock.
Cathi Hey, everybody, it's Cathi Bosco from rethink.fm the forward-thinking podcast about experience design. Join me and special guests to discuss effective design, technology, and the intersection of helping people and entrepreneurship. From user experience research to product roadmaps. We've got you covered. We've all got questions. So let's get started. The big news today is that I will officially be taking over the rethink.fm podcast, founded by Jackie D'Elia and then co-hosted by Jackie, Monique Dubbelman, and myself. Moving forward, I will be conducting one-on-one interviews with experienced professionals to gain insights into their practices, their projects, and their teams. Let's face it, design is a team sport, technology and user needs are continuously evolving and we can learn a lot from each other's experiences along the way. Since this episode is a transition episode each of us will answer a few questions and at the end of the podcast, I'll give some definitive insights into where we're headed moving forward. I hope you'll enjoy this episode. Thank you for joining. What does UX mean to you today, compared to early in your career?
Monique That's a good question. Because early in my career, I didn't know there was such a thing called UX. I come from a background in the graphical industries, in the printing industries. And back in those days, I had an office job. I was a project manager. And when you wanted to go for a career back then you went either into sales and marketing, which was one or it was management's I was trained in both and I did marketing trainings, but I was always making excuses like I'm not that kind of marketer because marketing back in those days, to me, sounded like being really pushy, putting a foot between the door you know, the encyclopedia salespeople. That's not marketing either. I understand that now. Later on I learned that we have a lot of similar goals as UX designers with people from marketing. The only difference I think that I learned or the only the main difference is that marketing is more inside-out driven. Like you want to make it good for the user. So you can you can reach your conversions for your company or your organization goals. Whereas with UX the user is first and I liked that approach better. I think inbound marketing sort of resembles that. But yeah, before I liked the UX part of my job because I had smaller clients. And I'm really happy that I specialize more in usability and accessibility, which is hard still, but easier when you work in a large organization because it's a more specialized job than at a smaller organization. I don't blame them, but they don't often see the value of it. And for marketing, it's more measurable, more outcome outcome driven from the company perspective. Yeah, so I think I got a clearer understanding of the differences. And I got a better focus on advocating for the user and why it's important to focus on that and also making it more tangible. Yeah, to make the outcome measurable, instead of saying like, Oh, but I know it's better for you as an organization. If you do this. Yeah. I don't know how good or how you can measure it, but I learned to make it more measurable. Yeah. Because in the end, people want to see you know, value, and you can know what value you've added until you can measure it. So, yeah, that's probably what has changed.
Jackie I think the biggest impact this has made on me is that I look at UX in everything I do. So whether it is laying out a garden bed, or designing a layout or something or doing some kind of project in my home, or even writing an article doing work on the computer, whatever it is, I look for out to improve the user experience for myself as a user and for others for things that I'm creating or doing for others. So I think that I have taken the user experience from just web design to just everything in life. So how you access things and how you do things, looking for better ways to improve that experience. So I would say for me, it's just made it where it's just global. I look at user experience in everything that I do.
Cathi Today, UX means both internal user experience for, large scale organizations as well as and user experiences through products and platforms and websites. So I think internal organizational research and UX design plays a bigger role and I actually really love it.
Cathi Gardening or baking?
Monique Well, well at the moment. I think baking, tough question. You know, I like both. I'm not baking a lot at the moment. I'm on my old routine for bread baking now for I don't know, more than nearly five years, I think. And I went back to my old way of baking, been doing it on stone. But I found out that my loaves were more dense than they were in the beginning. So we're back to my pan baking in the pan and they're they're really moist and this is great. So yeah, baking at the moment, definitely because this year, gardening has been hard, we had weird weather's like drought, rain, winds, but it wasn't in sync with the seasons. So I was always off with my planning of work and also I haven't had a lot of energy this year. So the garden this year is not my favorite place to be in a way that I've been doing a lot. But it's still a great place to relax and clear my head. So Wow. Okay, I'm rambling on -okay. It depends. It's my favorite designer answer. In the winter it is baking in the summer gardening. Is that a good compromise to take?
Jackie For me gardening, it just is. It's been a passion of mine. For my whole life since I was young. Even pre-teen working at a farm that was a couple of houses down the road from from where I grew up. And gardening is my thing. I am a constant plant propagator. It's an addiction. I can't stop. Every time something breaks off. I have to figure out a way to root it making a plant for me.
Cathi Gardening in the summer and baking in the winter.
Cathi Audio books or textbooks?
Monique It used to be more audiobooks. Now more towards textbooks. I like that we have the options to choose and that offer of audiobooks has grown so much. And recently, my dad's became a fan of audiobooks. He's never been a reader. He has a hard time to concentrate. And also over the past two years he's had some issues with losing a bit of his eyesight so concentrating has become harder. I introduced him to audiobooks and he's really enjoying himself now I like seeing him, just sitting in the sun and I see him like listening and easing his eyes instead of just watching movies or whatever doing that's moving by itself. So audiobooks definitely for people who have issues with eyesight. It's great that there's so much available these days.
Jackie Audiobooks. I struggle with a little ADHD so reading is always been a challenge for me I'm much better with video even so I'm a YouTube fanatic. And so audiobooks are complementary with that.
Cathi For me, absolutely both!
Cathi Describe a fun random memory from our time together as a collective.
Monique I remember often that I had tears on my cheeks of laughing out loud so much. But I think one of the best memories I have is that often when you try to sort of work on Miro boards and then Jackie would start and doing sports commentating and I would jump into like oh my god, is she gonna move this shape to left? No, no, she's moving it to the right to the right and can she make it in time? Especially when Jackie does it with her Texas accent. I can you know, I'll be on the floor. So I missed that commentary of a Texans sports commentator when you are trying to do serious work online. Yes, more of that. Please.
Jackie Describe a fun random memory from our time together as a collective. That one I struggled with trying to remember because we had so much fun. I think just overall was just the times that we were having our financial meetings and reviewing things together as a collective and making decisions and just the laughing and the fun that we had. And then if I have to pick one thing it's going to be whenever Monique gave us a rating it was never a 10, for every attempt. So that was fun because I was always striving to get the 10 and I was ended up starting to be happy with eights and nines.
Cathi Well, a really fun memory for me is when we first sort of kicked this thing off. Jackie and I had been collaborating on projects and client work for quite some time. You know, sort of contracting each other services for different things and then when Monique and I were at a great conference event in Tucson. Engineers and business owners who were asking in the main room who might do usability testing, where do they go for that sort of work? And I looked to Monique and she's sitting next to me at the end of the conference. I said, um, are you gonna stand up with me? I'm gonna grab your hand and we're going to stand up and volunteer. Are you with me? And she was like, What do you mean? And we just stood up and presented our services like, Hey, we're right here. We're doing this work for some of your peers you may not be aware of it. And that's sort of how the three of us got connected formally and made it a company effort and contracted together as UXATT. It was kind of terrifying and thrilling at the same time.
Cathi Favorite previous podcast episode and why
Monique A favorite previous podcast episode. Well, I looked through them and I think they're all great obviously because the three of us meet them. I think the one about designerisms I like best because it's so recognizable. And I struggle with that on a daily basis that the understanding of UX is really hard and that's partly due to what we make of the profession. So when people in my organization don't understand what UX is, it's my fault. I haven't done a good job, explaining what it how it can help them improve their products. So I think that's still something that needs a lot of attention.
Cathi From solo to working as a team, that was my favorite although I really, really loved having a Rian Rietveld on talking about accessibility and the errors that, hosting companies are making around recommending overlays and things like that.
Jackie My favorite episode of us working together was from solo to working as a team. I liked how we complement each other. And I think that allowed us to do bigger projects and I really enjoyed sharing that. I really enjoy how how various skills influenced and helped each other on projects. We laughed a lot during that episode, which I really love. We always had great camaraderie together. And I really enjoyed doing that episode. Of course I love a lot of the episodes that were done. And I would have to say probably the other one. The second one runner up was, I really enjoyed talking to Diane Kinney as well. I had two episodes that I recorded with her and I really enjoyed those conversations as well, especially the ones about user experience.
Cathi Coffee or chocolates.
Monique Yes. Coffee
Cathi Coffee or chocolate, oh my gosh. Yes.
Jackie For me, it's coffee. I like flavored coffees, so maybe a little chocolate in it or caramel. But coffee is it definitely if I had to choose between the two I would go with coffee.
Cathi Thanks for taking a look back and doing a little retrospective with me Monique and Jackie. It's been an async q & a session. We are globally distributed. So we're in Amsterdam and Jackie in North Carolina, myself here located in Connecticut. We had several years together and as I look back in my career and our time together working as a collective UX research UX engineer, UX visual design and UX writing and content design skills. I've learned so much from each of you from your strengths and I like to think that some of my strengths informed your skill sets. We also had the great privilege of doing contract work with other engineers, organizations large and small plugin owners small dev shops. Really, I think as a product designer or UX designer or researcher, whatever your label is, I think getting the opportunity to work on projects with others who have strengths in areas where your weaknesses is absolutely the best way to grow and to move your career into a direction with intention. Also, I think number two would be like the ability to scale and move work forward together efficiently. Working collaboratively and learning how to build teams together helped us grow the scale of projects which we could engage with. And it allowed us the opportunity to improve user experience on the open web for all of us. We all bring a passion of providing a healthy, open web. The web belongs to all of us, and that's part of our mission collectively. Then lastly, working with the collective was really meaningful to me and I think I speak for all of us when I say that we work together through COVID as well. And COVID was really hard. The isolation was really intense and no matter how much support you have or how strong you are and how good you are at navigating that sort of isolation, having a core team to work through and grow with during COVID was critical to my ability to manage, among other personal things that everyone helps each other with along the way. That was meaningfully profound as I look back through the pandemic and how fortunate we were to have each other through that time. Now, we've used that effort and positioned ourselves in areas that we're passionate about. Monique moving into civic UX design and civics including content design and Jackie closing in on retirement. I'm so jealous. I'm so happy for you. Myself moving more into product design and working at scale to help webops teams be successful. It's been terrific I look forward to interviewing really passionate, experienced leaders from our industry, talking to them about the choices they made throughout their career, their wins and challenges. Also, I think it's important to to learn about their projects. Where they struggled in projects where projects were successful. We're all, you know, tied by NDAs. But we still can share and learn from each other. When we talk about the work and the obstacles we overcame or we failed to overcome. Ultimately, UX research, or UX design research helps determine what gets on the roadmap and what doesn't. And so that's the function of it. And getting those real world perspectives from some of our industry leaders who've had a lot of experience, those are engaging conversations that I love participating in and I hope you'll enjoy hearing. So thank you for listening and look for a monthly podcast episode coming up. Bye everyone.
Jackie All the best to you Cathi. Wish Monique all the best where she is and what she is doing, and I love you both.