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User Defenders – UX Design & Personal Growth

Being a great UX designer begins and ends with being a great human. We can't pour an empty cup into another. We can’t lead others where we are not. This UX podcast helps UX’ers become the best, most powerful designers (and humans) they can be. Yes, you'll discover how-to’s, but much more importantly you'll discover why-to’s.Every episode is sure to inspire and equip you on how to better fight for your users and business, and dare I say change the world (even if only for one human at a time) in a much deeper and more tangible way than you ever thought possible.

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The best episodes ranked using user listens.

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042: Practical Design Discovery with Dan Brown

Dan Brown inspires us to get great at asking questions because 'the question' is one of our most invincible resources. He reminds us to maintain a spirit of collaboration with the the team members we’re struggling with since they care as much about the project as we do. He encourages us to always peer beneath the surface at the underlying structure of whatever we’re working on. He also motivates us to never settle. Secret Identity (7:47) Origin Story (9:29) Biggest Failure (20:23) Awkward Testing Story (23:27) Design Superpower (28:04) Design Kryptonite (30:52) UX Superhero Name (33:50) Fights for Users (36:08) Habit of Success (40:54) Invincible Resource (43:27) Recommended Book (51:23) Practical Design Discovery (53:40) Overcoming Team Tension (57:00) Best Advice (69:04) Contact Info (71:48) Check out the detailed show notes and Eli Jorgensen’s astonishing superhero artwork at userdefenders.com/042 This episode is brought to you by Adobe, makers of XD. Try it free at userdefenders.com/xd Get your FREE audiobook from Audible at userdefenders.com/freebook. No commitment. Cancel in 30 days, and you won't be charged. The book is still yours to keep.

1hr 17mins

18 Sep 2017

Rank #1

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011: The Best Interface is No Interface with Golden Krishna

Golden Krishna teaches us that it’s possible to reduce our amount of screen time and still solve people’s problems elegantly in the background. He enlightens us to how much we’re all drowning in screens. He also shares with us that our stuff isn’t good enough, and it never will be because as designers we’re always […]

1hr 7mins

4 Jan 2016

Rank #2

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018: The Beauty of Simplicity with David Demaree

David Demaree reminds us of the value of simplicity, brevity, and editing. He encourages us to know who are users are and where they’re coming from. He inspires us not to get too wrapped up into the closeness of our own material and not take the criticism of our work too personally. He also teaches […]

57mins

11 Apr 2016

Rank #3

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025: UX Designers Work with Users with Ashley Karr

Ashley Karr teaches us that we can’t be exceptional at generalizing. She encourages us to always work with the people for whom we are designing. She motivates us to always trust ourselves and our instincts. She shows us how planning and organization are key contributors to success. She also inspires us to give back by […]

1hr 4mins

1 Aug 2016

Rank #4

Most Popular Podcasts

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056: Building an Effective UX Portfolio with Sarah Doody

Sarah Doody challenges us to think of our portfolio as one of the most important products we’ll ever create. She urges us to not only communicate our contributions, but to both show and tell the story of each project. In the end, she teaches us that using the right process is more than just about landing our next UX job–it will also make us better designers. Ideal Number of Projects (4:07) Lead with the Best Project (5:40) Alternate Portfolios (7:13) What a Recruiter Is Looking For Most (13:03) Proving Your Knowledge (15:52) What Does Storytelling Mean? (23:47) Edit Your Work (29:48) Do You Need a Website? (39:44) Build a Portfolio Quickly (49:36) The UX Academy (54:09) Best Advice (56:31) Check out the detailed show notes including mentioned links, transcript and Eli Jorgensen’s astonishing superhero artwork at userdefenders.com/056 This episode is brought to you by Adobe, makers of XD. Try it FREE at userdefenders.com/xd

1hr 3mins

1 Apr 2019

Rank #5

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008: There’s a Lot of Opportunity for Those Who Are Willing to Take Some Risks with Ben Callahan

Ben Callahan inspires us to be passionate about the interfaces we design and put ourselves in the shoes of the people who are using them to do amazing things. He shares a really interesting parallel from Jazz music to the work we do. He reminds us to make every day count by first thinking about […]

44mins

7 Dec 2015

Rank #6

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039: Good Designers are Good at Business with Joe Leech

Joe Leech shows us how psychology helps frame what we’re seeing in user research. He articulates why the superpower we need is understanding how business works. He inspires us get out of our seat and talk to executives in the organization more about the business. He also challenges us to not just always be shipping, but always be shipping the right things. Secret Identity/Origin Story (4:39) Biggest Superhero (14:50) Biggest Failure (22:37) Awkward Testing Story (30:03) Design Superpower (32:03) Design Kryptonite (33:34) Design Superhero Name (36:52) Fight For Users (42:03) Psychology & Design (43:05) Habit Of Success (49:48) Invincible Resource (51:26) Book Recommendation (54:40) Best Advice (57:49) Contact Info (59:46) Check out the detailed show notes and Eli Jorgensen’s astonishing superhero artwork at userdefenders.com/039 This episode is brought to you by Adobe, makers of XD. Try it free at userdefenders.com/xd Get your FREE audiobook from Audible at userdefenders.com/freebook. No commitment. Cancel in 30 days, and you won't be charged. The book is still yours to keep.

1hr 3mins

6 Aug 2017

Rank #7

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035: Minding the Product Gap with Samuel Hulick

Samuel Hulick shows us how to build bridges for our users. He motivates us to make sure that the effort put into building the software is not wasted in the onboarding experience. He also inspires us to stay curious, and always be learning. Secret Identity/Origin Story (5:04) Onboarding Defined (9:30) Biggest Superhero (16:08) Biggest Failure (17:00) Weirdest Teardown (32:00) Design Superpower (39:20) Design Kryptonite (41:24) Design Superhero Name (42:40) Habit Of Success (48:30) Invincible Resource (50:23) How Much Is Too Much (52:00) Best Advice (64:20) LINKS Samuel’s Personal Twitter Samuel’s Professional Twitter Samuel’s Website Product People, Mind the Gap! [ARTICLE] Never Mix Up Features with Benefits Ever Again [ARTICLE] The Art of Building (or Burning) Product Bridges [ARTICLE] Kathy Sierra (Business of Software 2009) [VIDEO] Extra Credits (YouTube) [VIDEO]

1hr 9mins

12 Jun 2017

Rank #8

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067: Design for How People Think with John Whalen

Dr. John Whalen teaches us what it means to design for how people think. He reveals the powerful principals behind what he calls the six minds of user experience, and explains how anybody can harness them to build better products (no doctorate degree required!). He reminds us that it takes serious research to reveal the deep insights that genuinely make our products successful for the user and the business. He also encourages us to understand that no one is more qualified than anyone else in solving unique problems. Psychology and UX (5:04) Six Minds of Experience (8:48) Impact of Psychology (10:54) Acronym Cheat Sheet (16:03) Three Phone Numbers (17:08) Dark Psychology (25:21) Designing for Delight (31:24) Contextual Inquiries (42:50) Upside-Down Design (49:37) Design Superpower (56:09) Design Kryptonite (57:04) UX Superhero Name (58:43) Habit of Success (59:05) Recommended Book (1:08:02) Best Advice (1:10:38) Check out the detailed show notes including mentioned links, transcript and Eli Jorgensen’s astonishing superhero artwork at userdefenders.com/067 This episode is brought to you by UC Irvine’s executive master’s program for Human-Computer Interaction and Design. As a user experience professional, UCI’s hybrid program will allow you to maintain your job while pursuing the master’s degree that will propel your career forward. Visit userdefenders.com/uci to learn more. This episode is also brought to you by Porkbun. Head to userdefenders.com/porkbun now and use coupon code DEFENDERS on the checkout page to get literally a free year of a .design domain name.

1hr 18mins

14 Oct 2019

Rank #9

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051: Accessible Design = Better Design with Derek Featherstone

Derek Featherstone teaches us how designing for people with disabilities is really just better design for everybody. He shows us how people with disabilities aren’t different from us, they just use different tools to accomplish the same things. He encourages us to apply empathy to grow our skills in learning how to design for accessibility. He also reveals how taking small steps to incorporate something new into our design process could change everything. Origin Story (5:53) What Were Your “Aha” Moments? (12:02) Why Do We Tend to Forget About Disabled Users? (17:15) Tools Disabled Folks Use to Navigate (20:47) Accessibility, Greater Than Aesthetics (31:37) Has Designing for Accessibility Ever Made Things Worse for Majority of “Able” Users? (36:14) Story of Biggest Triumph in Designing for Inclusivity + Accessibility (42:36) What’s a Roadmap for Learning this Stuff? (44:56) Contact Info (47:35) Check out the detailed show notes and Eli Jorgensen’s astonishing superhero artwork at userdefenders.com/051 This episode is brought to you by InVision Studio (userdefenders.com/studio): The world's most powerful screen design tool Get your FREE audiobook from Audible at userdefenders.com/freebook. No commitment. Cancel in 30 days, and you won't be charged. The book is still yours to keep.

53mins

23 Apr 2018

Rank #10

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Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products with Nir Eyal

I have a listener survey and one of you suggested Nir Eyal as a superguest. Today (thanks to your suggestion) I got to interview the man himself. Nir is the author of the buzz-worthy book Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products. Nir did not disappoint. The guy is a wealth of knowledge and you’ll notice listening […]

1hr 2mins

12 Sep 2016

Rank #11

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055: How to Get Your Foot in the Door with Andy Budd

Andy Budd reveals what the hiring minds of companies are really thinking. He answers how to navigate the recruitment process and presents an invaluable insight that shows how to subvert it altogether. He urges us to be more of who we are and to recognize that each of us has unique talents that are fit for the right organizations at the right time. He also emphasizes that it's up to each job seeker to communicate their personal value if they want to land the job of their dreams. Resumes That Stand Out (6:20) UX Education (28:45) Does Your Appearance Matter? (38:23) What About Soft Skills? (48:25) The Recruiter Follow-Up (60:09) Asking for Feedback (67:30) Check out the detailed show notes including mentioned links, transcript and Eli Jorgensen’s astonishing superhero artwork at userdefenders.com/055 This episode is brought to you by Adobe, makers of XD. Try it FREE at userdefenders.com/xd

1hr 15mins

18 Mar 2019

Rank #12

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049: User Research War Stories with Steve Portigal

Steve Portigal challenges us to enjoy the silence when interviewing people. He teaches us the importance of rapport-building, and offers sage advice on how to do it. He shows us how sticking with an interview even when it’s not going well can sometimes bring forth the best data. He also reveals how a little empathy can go a long way in field research. Secret Identity (8:08) Origin Story (12:19) What drives your curiosity? (24:53) Roberta 'call me Bert's war story (29:28) What's Ethnography (the "E-word") (38:32) Rapport-building tips (46:51) Brian's war story (55:21) UX Superhero Name (66:28) Habit of Success (75:06) Steve's Corset War Story (78:39) Best Advice (84:53) Contact Info (88:33) Check out the detailed show notes and Eli Jorgensen’s astonishing superhero artwork at userdefenders.com/049 This episode is brought to you by InVision Studio (userdefenders.com/studio): The world's most powerful screen design tool Get your FREE audiobook from Audible at userdefenders.com/freebook. No commitment. Cancel in 30 days, and you won't be charged. The book is still yours to keep.

1hr 33mins

12 Mar 2018

Rank #13

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029: Be Relentless with Ling Lim

Ling Lim inspires us to be relentless in our pursuit of the person we want to become. She teaches us to create products that connect with our users and their lives by becoming them as much as possible. She challenges us to not sacrifice the sentimental quality of a product when we design for it […]

57mins

9 Dec 2016

Rank #14

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046: Good Design Favors the Curious with Joe Johnston

Joe Johnston inspires us to embrace the superpowers of curiosity and empathy for our users and business owners. He motivates us to always stay curious, and ask why to get to the heart of the problem faster. He encourages us to make sure we use the shiny objects available to us to actually solve a problem. "Merhl" Backstory (7:40) Secret Identity (11:38) Origin Story (13:46) Empathy is Still Important (18:52) Biggest Failure (24:46) Design Leadership/Culture (28:41) Awkward Testing Story (33:24) Design Superpower (41:50) Shiny Objects Syndrome (44:12) UX of Ambient-Driven Experiences (50:46) UX Superhero Name (56:14) Habit of Success (57:11) Invincible Resource (60:05) Best Advice (61:00) Contact Info (63:34) Check out the detailed show notes and Eli Jorgensen’s astonishing superhero artwork at userdefenders.com/046 This episode is brought to you by InVision Studio (userdefenders.com/studio): The world's most powerful screen design tool Get your FREE audiobook from Audible at userdefenders.com/freebook. No commitment. Cancel in 30 days, and you won't be charged. The book is still yours to keep.

1hr 8mins

29 Jan 2018

Rank #15

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033: Design is About People with Andrea Picchi

Andrea Picchi reminds us that the core of design is always about people. He dives deep into the importance of design thinking. He motivates us to embrace ambiguity, and to fail as often as possible without losing the job. He also inspires us to believe in design and to always defend the user’s point of […]

1hr 4mins

1 Mar 2017

Rank #16

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Radical Empathy with Seth Godin

Seth Godin shows us what radical empathy looks like. He reminds us to do work that matters, for people who care by focusing on serving a minimum viable audience. He teaches us that the way to stay indispensable in our work is to do work where you can’t write down the steps. He also reveals how faked empathy is just as good as real empathy for the true professional acting as if. Creating UX for Early Computer Games (4:23) What Book Would the Seth Godin of the Industrial Revolution Write? (6:43) How Do You Define Empathy? (9:30) Why is Empathy Important in Doing Great Work? (12:01) What's Your Greatest Story of Empathy in Action? (14:50) One of the Greatest Marketing Lessons Seth Ever Learned (18:44) Status Over Empathy (25:07) Empathy Learned the Hard Way (28:19) What's Your Best Advice in Building our Empathy Levels? (30:33) Advice for Becoming Better Storytellers (32:51) Are Our Smartphone Addictions Negatively Affecting our Empathy Levels? (34:27) Seth's Apple Rant (37:44) Apple Could Solve the Texting & Driving Dilemma in 4 Minutes (If They Wanted To) (39:31) How Do We Stay Indispensable In Our Work in an AI World? (41:16) Faked Empathy is Just as Good as Real Empathy (43:59) What Makes You Angry? (45:34) Jason's Blurb for Seth's New Book "This is Marketing" (48:10) Check out the detailed show notes including mentioned links, transcript and Eli Jorgensen’s astonishing superhero artwork at userdefenders.com/seth Want to grow in your empathy levels toward other humans, but just not sure how to? I invite you to rise to the FREE One Week to Strong Empathy Challenge brought to you by User Defenders podcast. Simply visit userdefenders.com/empathy and enter your email address (which I commit to never ever compromise!).

52mins

13 Nov 2018

Rank #17

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019: The Power of Design Patterns with Pek Pongpaet

Pek Pongpaet teaches us that the key to successful UX is in pattern recognition and application. He reminds us of the power of visual hierarchy in that if something’s important, it should never be buried. He reminds us of the power of observation and in testing our product with users. He also inspires us to […]

43mins

25 Apr 2016

Rank #18

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045: Criticize by Creating with Alexa Roman

Alexa Roman motivates us to prove the value of design and contribute to it every single day. She encourages us to always be learning new things since designers work across many different fields. She inspires us to get more excited about analytics and measuring our designs. She also challenges us to think about what we want on our tombstones...while we’re still this side up. Secret Identity (7:49) Origin Story (12:42) What Will Your Tombstone Say? (19:25) Biggest Failure (21:50) Design Superpower (29:40) How Important is Aesthetics? (35:52) Awkward Testing Story (48:49) Design Kryptonite (55:23) UX Superhero Name (63:59) Designing with Data (64:30) Habit of Success (70:09) Invincible Resource (71:39) Recommended Book (73:28) Best Advice (74:48) Check out the detailed show notes and Eli Jorgensen’s astonishing superhero artwork at userdefenders.com/045 This episode is brought to you by InVision Studio (userdefenders.com/studio): The world's most powerful screen design tool Get your FREE audiobook from Audible at userdefenders.com/freebook. No commitment. Cancel in 30 days, and you won't be charged. The book is still yours to keep.

1hr 20mins

15 Jan 2018

Rank #19

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057: Interviewing Like a Boss with Andy Vitale

Andy Vitale teaches us all about how to interview for our next UX job like a boss. He emphasizes the importance of avoiding jargon, and at all costs the temptation to conflate confidence with arrogance. He reminds us to be prepared to get way out of our comfort zones, and even offers smart techniques on how to cope with the discomfort in those critical moments. He also points out that pay isn't everything, and that a fantastic work culture can make all the difference. The Importance of Soft Skills (4:55) Calming Your Nerves (17:08) The Importance of Body Language (22:18) What Do You Love About Interviewing? (36:15) What Do You Hate About Interviewing? (38:21) How Much Should I Be Paid? (41:13) Discussing Salary During an Interview (47:06) Favorite Last Interview Questions (51:07) Whiteboard Exercise Preparation (54:58) How to Tell If a Company Understands UX (60:29) Words of Encouragement (63:47) Check out the detailed show notes including mentioned links, transcript and Eli Jorgensen’s astonishing superhero artwork at userdefenders.com/057 This episode is brought to you by Adobe, makers of XD. Try it FREE at userdefenders.com/xd

1hr 12mins

15 Apr 2019

Rank #20