UX Cake

Building the layers you need to be more effective and happy in UX

Helping you become more effective in your UX work and career. We talk with experienced pros and industry leaders to share practical advice on building skills that get the best outcomes for our users, our teams, and our U
Latest Episode2/17/2020

Learn UX: Career Growth Through Community Involvement

Season 2, Ep. 43
Ep. 43:In the third of 3 episodes in our special mini-series called Learning UX, guest host Leo Zhang talks with Sara Hubbard and Caryn Wylie, the organizers of the meetup group Seattle Women of Design and UX, about growing your network and experience bygetting involvedin the UX community around you.From Leo:In our third and final Learn UX episode of the mini-series I wanted to bring on the founders of Seattle Women of Design and UX meetup (seaDUXX). Caryn Wille and Sara Hubbard are some of the most-respected advocates of women in UX in the our Seattle tech scene through their meetup, and on the show they will be talking about their experiences in founding and growing their meetup, and how it has helped them in both their personal and professional lives.Caryn Wille is currently a Senior Interaction Designer at Google. Since 2011, Caryn has been helping companies from startups to medical associations to operas to telecom providers architect and design experiences that nest into the cross section of user needs and business goals. Her diverse client work has run the gamut of responsive websites, B2C e-commerce sites, internal business applications, live ticketing sales, and content management system (CMS) implementations, but she has yet to meet a project that doesn't benefit from a keen understanding of the people the experience is being built for. With a focus on storytelling and clear communication, she helps teams hone in on designing the right thing before bringing experiences to life. Caryn believes strongly in user-centered design and creating products and experiences that make users' lives easier and delight them in the process.Sara Hubbard is a Senior User Experience Designer at Smartsheet. Sara has over six years experience working with globally-recognized brands, taking their complex tasks and transforming them into easy-to-use experiences. She takes a human-centered design approach to my work, and ruthlessly advocates for users. She prides herself in finding ways to both delight users, work within technical limitations, while meeting business needs. Sara also finds ways to give back to the community by teaching UX courses at the School of Visual Concepts, and being a mentor to folks entering the UX industry. Outside of work she enjoys playing board games, listening to true crime podcasts, and spending time with my polydactyl cat, Maisie.Both Sara and Caryn are passionate about creating an inclusive UX community in Seattle, which they do through organizing monthly events through the meetup they founded togther: Seattle Women of Design & UX (seaDUXX).This is the last episode of the three-run mini-series. This was such an impactful and eye-opening experience for me to host these, and I am forever grateful for this opportunity. Thank you all for taking the time to listen to this collaboration between Learn UX Seattle and UX Cake!Leo Zhang, Founder of Learn UX SeattleLinkedIn: UX Meetup: Zhang is a veteran UX Strategist and Researcher who has developed insights-based strategies for clients including Dell, USAA, Philips, Johnson Controls, Impinj, and the Federal Government. He brings a unique approach and toolkit to his work and meetup, borrowing from his past experience as a Naval Nuclear Engineer combined with a Master’s Degree in Design from Arizona State University. Outside of professional work, Leo’s passions lie within his Learn UX Seattle Meetup, which now has over 3,300 members and is one of the largest, most active UX meetups in Seattle. Leo is equally as passionate about people as he is UX, and he is proud to be a member of the Greater Seattle UX community.If you enjoy UX Cake, there are some really simple ways you can help us:share this episode, or any of our episodes, with a friend.Rate & review us on Apple Podcast (or iTunes)!follow us on twitter-like and reshare our postssubscribe to the newsletter for updates and bonus contentListenApple | Spotify | Google | WebsiteConnect with UX Cake!|Facebook|Twitter|Instagram|Linked In

Permission to Speak

Season 2, Ep. 42
Ep. 42: This week we're talkingabout Permission to Speak - Maybe there are times you’ve found yourself hesitating to speak up, to put your voice out there… this happens a lot, it’s not just a UX issue but is a common complaint in UX, and in tech in general. And it happens at every level, I’ve been in leadership roles for 20 years and I still experience this at times. My guest is LaDonna Willems, who is the associate editorial director at Dropbox.LaDonna is a writer, and she’s an expert on voice. So when she realized that she wasn’t always speaking up, because on some level she was waiting for permission, that was incredibly eye-opening. She went through a process that really changed her perception, and it was so transformative, she wanted to share it with others. So She created a workshop to go through the process, to help others who want to find the power in their voice and to speak it, in whatever way comes naturally to them. That may be words or art or music or action. There are many ways to speak, but it starts with finding the source of your power, and the power of your voice.LaDonna Witmer Willems@wordsbyladonnaWriter, Speaker, Associate Editorial Director at the Dropbox Brand StudioAlong her personal journey to find her own voice, LaDonna has been a newspaper journalist, advertising copywriter, copy director, and poet. She’s currently one of the editorial gurus on the Dropbox Brand Studio team in San Francisco, creating and facilitating the most powerful expressions of the Dropbox voice. In minutes between meetings and her daughter’s ballet class, she’s also writing a book.LaDonna Willems from the ShowSeattle Workshop Jan 28, 2020Free tickets on EventbritePause Fest - Melbourne eventsChimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Danger of a Single Story Falzon - Instagram Miller“Know My Name”********If you enjoy this podcast, there are some really simple ways you can help us:follow us on twitter-like and reshare our postssubscribe to the newsletterfor updates and bonus contentshare this episode, or any of our episodes, with a friend.rate & review us on Apple Podcast or iTunes on desktop!ListenApple|Spotify|Google|WebsiteConnect with UX Cake!|Facebook|Twitter|Instagram|Linked In

Learn UX: Aligning UX Value

Season 2, Ep. 41
Ep. 41:This episode is the second in our special mini-series called Learning UX, hosted by Leo Zhang.In this mini-series, Leo talks in-person with local UX leaders about their careers and topics they’re passionate about. This episode Leo is talking with Kimberly Wiessner, about her career spanning design, creative direction and product strategy, and about bringing teams together to align on UX value.From Leo Zhang: In our second Learn UX episode of the mini-series I wanted to bring on a friend with a knack for aligning, teaching, and driving UX work across different teams. Kimberly Wiessner is a Principal Product Strategist at REI and is going to be talking about a topic she is very passionate about: the relationship between UX and other teams in an organization.Kimberly Wiessner, currently in a Leadership role within the Digital Product Strategy team at REI, has done everything from founding her own agency, being a Global Creative Director for HSBC, guiding design direction as Director of Innovation at USAA, to now working as a Principal at REI. Throughout her career, Kim has been passionate about bringing teams together in creative ways. In this episode we tap into her knowledge bringing teams together in various UX settings and take lessons away on how you do this at your workplace.Kim Wiessner is a high-performing leader with a passion for orchestrating customer experiences. A natural ability to see the big picture, absorb strategy, and provide clear direction toward action. A passion for influencing organizational change and aligning cross-functional teams. Positive energy that inspires others to work through ambiguous problem spaces. A customer-centered mindset and approach to design thinking and product discovery. Delivery-oriented team leader and ego-less task smasher.LinkedIn:********If you enjoy this podcast, there are some really simple ways you can help us:follow us on twitter-like and reshare our postssubscribe to the newsletterfor updates and bonus contentshare this episode, or any of our episodes, with a friend.rate & review us on Apple Podcast or iTunes on desktop!ListenApple|Spotify|Google|WebsiteConnect with UX Cake!|Facebook|Twitter|Instagram|Linked In

Bias Is The Context We're In

Season 2, Ep. 40
Ep 40: Since I started asking users questions as part of my design process over 20 years ago, I’ve often asked myself, how could I ask better questions. Am I asking the right questions? What bias am I bringing into the interaction?As we progress in our research practice and go beyond the 101 lessons like avoiding leading questions, asking questions that are open-ended, leaving silence in the spaces to allow participants to talk more, learning to interpret actions and expressions not just words… those are all important, that’s where we start, but how can we go beyond that. at some point we might begin to look inward as researchers, and the part we as individuals are playing in the outcome, our biases, assumptions, our own values and life experiences.Who better to have this conversation with, I asked myself, than Steve Portigal, an author and expert on the subject of asking questions. Steve wrote the book Interviewing Users which is a great place to start for those who are newer to asking users questions, and he also wrote Doorbells, danger and dead batteries, with stories from practiced user researchers that deals with some of these questions of bias. We had a great conversation with lots of great advice for researchers at any level.Linked in’s Dollars to Donuts podcast Steve PortigalSteve Portigal helps companies to think and act strategically when innovating with user insights. His work has informed the development of professional audio gear, wine packaging, medical information systems, design systems, videoconferencing technology, and music streaming services. He’s also the host of the Dollars to Donuts podcast, where he interviews people who lead user research in their organizations. Steve is an accomplished presenter who speaks about culture, innovation, and design at companies and conferences across the globe.STEVE'S BOOKSInterviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling InsightsDoorbells, Danger, and Dead Batteries: User Research War StoriesFROM THE SHOWPurchase the Cognitive Bias Codex InfographicSlack channels:Go to this GREAT list of slack channels for UX including UXR********If you enjoy this podcast, there are some really simple ways you can help us:follow us on twitter-like and reshare our postssubscribe to the newsletterfor updates and bonus contentshare this episode, or any of our episodes, with a friend.rate & review us on Apple Podcast or iTunes on desktop!ListenApple|Spotify|Google|WebsiteConnect with UX Cake!|Facebook|Twitter|Instagram|Linked In

Learn UX: Mentoring and Hiring

Season 2, Ep. 39
We're introducing a new series, called Learn UX, hosted by Leo Zhang. Leo started a meetup here in Seattle called Learn UX, aimed at UXers in earlier to mid-career, that hosts great speakers like Torry Podmajersky, who we had on our show talking about strategic UX writing back in episode 33.Leo is adapting his content to a podcast format for UX Cake, and we're trying out a three part series of to see how that resonates with our listeners. So we totally want to hear what you think about this! Chat us up on twitter or IG or FB or at (links below)From Learn UX:To kick off our collaboration with UX Cake, we are starting with a topic that would resonate with both Senior UX professionals as well as those just starting out: mentorship and hiring.Drory Ben-Menachem, currently Director of Product Design at Zonar Systems, has over 25 years experience working in a wide array of UX environments, as well as speaking at UX conference and guest lecturing at prominent schools such as The University of Washington. Throughout his entire career, he has always been passionate about all things revolving around mentorship. He’s written very well-received articles around mentorship such as Mentoring is a Mitzva and Mentoring ‘No-Hire’ Design Candidates. In this episode we talk about some of the lessons he’s learned along the way about both being a receptive mentee as well as being an effective mentor, and how his adventures in mentorship can help people of all levels of experience in our field.Drory has also been in multiple positions where he has served as a hiring manager, and he talks about how his experiences in mentoring has helped him make more informed UX hiring decisions. In this episode we will cover how fundamentally important mentorship is to grow as a UX professional as well as how it can help both hiring managers as well as job-seekers in the hiring process.From Leo: I am honored to be a part of UX Cake. It means a lot to me to be able to share my Learn UX community with a wide range of UX professionals from all around the world and I’d like to thank everyone for taking time out of your day to listen to our first collaboration episode!Leo Zhang, Founder of Learn UX SeattleAbout Drory:Designer, puzzle solver, idea shepherd, creative coach, storyteller, writer, researcher, mentor, data-viz geek, foodie, film buff, gamer, aspiring chef & rally driver.Born at a very young age, he made Seattle his home in 1991 and has enjoyed time at agencies, high-tech companies, and startups. Sometimes when it rains, he goes outside holding a cocktail umbrella and pretends he's a giant who makes bad decisions.Hopes one day someone will call him "sir" without adding "you're making a scene".Around the web:LinkedIn:

Uplevel Your Career With UX Strategy

Season 2, Ep. 38
Ep. 38: This week I got to talk with Jaime Levy, a UX pioneer, and Author of the book ‘UX Strategy’, about 'moving beyond’ being a designer or researcher in UX, and ‘leveling up’ in your career by moving into UX strategy or digital transformation. We talk about the difference between UX Strategy as a process or workflow vs. UX strategy as a role, and what that takes. Then we talk about Digital Transformation as the next step up in leveling up, from UX Strategy.There are many different definitions of ux strategy out there, if you google ‘ux strategy’ you’ll get many vague and even conflicting definitions. To set some contextin case you haven’t read Jaime book, she defines as the intersection between business strategy and UX design, with a key component being early and continuous validation of the value proposition with customers. It’s a high-level plan of how your product or feature is going to achieve the business goals.About JaimeJaime Levy is an author, university professor and a user experience strategist. Her best-selling O’Reilly Media book is called UX Strategy: How to Devise Innovative Digital Products that People Want. The book presents a solid framework on the practice, which lies at the intersection of UX design and business strategy. For 30 years, Jaime has been an internationally recognized pioneer in the creation of innovative digital products and services.Website Strategy: How to Devise Innovative Digital Products that People WantBy Jaime Levy********If you enjoy this podcast, there are some really simple ways you can help us:follow us on twitter-like and reshare our postssubscribe to the newsletterfor updates and bonus contentshare this episode, or any of our episodes, with a friend.rate & review us on Apple Podcast or iTunes on desktop!ListenApple|Spotify|Google|WebsiteConnect with UX Cake!|Facebook|Twitter|Instagram|Linked In

Collaborative Research

Season 2, Ep. 37
This episode was a live recording for the podcast at the 5th annual Radical Research Summit in Vancouver BC.Our panel topic was collaborative research - Working with people in other disciplines, in other teams, or even in other organizations to produce really impactful research that will get integrated into the experiences we’re creating. The panelists were Ariba Jahan, Innovation Director at Ad Council, Judd Antin, Director of Research at Airbnb, and Komal Faiz, a UX researcher at Zensurince. You’ll get a fuller introduction of them at the beginning of the panel.This episode is special not only because it was recorded live in front of an audience, it was also different because halfway through the panel the fire alarm went off! And yes, we had to evacuate the building. Although we are laughing about it now, it was not, in the moment, terribly funny. I was just thinking, how are we going to make this into an episode? I wasn’t worried about a fire. We edited it out for the podcast but you can see it unedited on our youtube channel. Fortunately, we were allowed back into the building about 10 minutes later to finish up with one last discussion point and then some really great questions and answers with the audience. About everything from who has the power to make decisions to working in agile ways to discovering and incorporating everyone’s knowledge into the process.If your organization or conference would like to host a live recording of the ux cake podcast, you can find out more about that by emailing us at This was the 4th live recording ux cake has had and I mentioned I love doing this because there is such a physical sense of the community, and the community is why I and the rest of the volunteer team do this podcast. Also They’re really well- attended and they get great download numbers so it's a great way to spread the news about your organization to a global audience.OUR PANELISTSAriba Jahan As an immigrant Bengali woman that discovered her profound hearing loss at age eight, Ariba focuses on advocating for diverse, marginalized voices that are often overlooked and ensuring we bring humanity into tech. After a varied background including Biomechancial Engineering, engineering research publications, and a stint at medical school, Ariba lead operations and product management for industry-shifting startups. This work and her passion for social impact brought her to the Ad Council as the Director of Innovation, where she’s charged with scaling design thinking and agile practices, creating digital products to create measurable social impact, and exploring future-forward technology for the organization. Antin is Director of Research at Airbnb, where he leads a global organization of over 100 amazing humans across 6 research functions. Prior to joining Airbnb in 2015, Judd was Research Manager at Facebook.Judd is a leader and grower of high-performing, fulfilled teams, and a strategic product and design thinker and doer. Always a researcher above all, Judd is deeply multi-method, fascinated by people and evidence. Faiz is a UX researcher. She is a global shaper at the World Economic Forum (WEF); founder of Design Pakistan; runs a podcast called ‘South Asian Female Travellers’; and is a member of the 'Design Research Society.' She has a master’s in strategic foresight & innovation from OCADU, Canada. Prior to her current role at Zensurance, she worked as a design researcher for a project on 'women's mobility' funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council, UK, in collaboration with Coventry University, University of Malaya, and Design Pakistan.********If you enjoy this podcast and if you think what we’re doing is useful and important, there are some really simple ways you can help us:follow us on twitter-like and reshare our postssubscribe to the newsletter for updates and bonus contentshare this episode, or any of our episodes, with a friend.And we would love it if you would rate & review us on Apple Podcast!ListenApple | Spotify | Google | WebsiteConnect with UX Cake!|Facebook|Twitter|Instagram|Linked In