– Hi I’m Joe Welinske and I’m the program manager for ConveyUX and that is Seattle’s annual user experience conference that’s produced by Blink. We’re really excited to be going into our 8th annual event. And that’s gonna come up March 3rd, 4th and 5th in downtown Seattle and one of the things that I get to do, which is kind of fun, is to talk to all of your speakers as a little preview to the event. Today I am talking with Britney LeBaron. Hello Britney, how are you?
– I’m doing well, thank you, thanks for having me.
– Well it’s good to have you as part of the program. I’m talking from Blink’s downtown Seattle headquarters office, where are you talking to us from?
– I am talking to you from Portland, Oregon. Where I work remotely for LogMeIn.
– Well why don’t you talk a little bit about your background and your work at LogMeIn?
– Sure, I am a quantitative UX researcher at LogMeIn and in that role, I work on communication and collaboration tools. So that includes tools you may have heard of. Such as, GoToWebinar, GoToMeeting and GoToTraining. So it’s a really fun role where I get to work a lot with product managers, engineers, designers to really bring forward the user insights around how people are using the tools and some of the context behind what they do with our tools.
– And how is your research team set up? I know you mentioned you work remotely. What’s a week in the life of Britney like as a UX researcher there?
– That’s a great question. So a lot of our team is actually in different places. Since we make cool tools like GoToMeeting, so I work with people who are also working remotely from places like Florida and Michigan. And I also work with team members who are in our headquarters in Boston and in one of our offices in Germany as well. So in a typical week, I’m working with people across lots of different time zones. So I get to check in with people regularly over GoToMeeting and I get to do a lot of fun things like building surveys and analyzing data, helping other people to analyze data from different parts of the company. So every week’s a bit different but I get to use our own tools quite a bit.
– Well what are some of the things that you’re working on now? Anything that has sparked your interest lately?
– Yeah, one of the things that’s really been sparking my interest lately, is understanding how people at LogMeIn use data in different roles. So I’m an UX researcher but we also have a lot of analysts. We have people in marketing who interact with data. We have computer engineers who are constantly going in and looking at Log data. So one of the things that’s been interesting to me lately is to understand how people in different parts of the company use data. And to really try to breakdown some data silos by having greater communication about what our findings are and what the research questions are that people are interested in. So, my curiosity around this lead me to use my UX skills and I’ve been doing an ethnography of data usage at LogmeIn. So, so far I’ve talked to over seven teams to really understand what their biggest challenges are around data. And what people’s needs or gaps are related to data. And that’s led me to develop some lunch and learn talks and to be making some plans to bring people who use data at the company together more frequently for some formal and informal conversations.
– Well it sounds like it ties into your topic for ConveyUX. And that is human centered statics when quantitative data meets UX research. So tell us a little bit about how that presentations gonna go.
– All right, so I’m really excited about this topic. One of the things that I’ve been really curious about and really interested in lately, is how we can increase empathy in data collection and data analysis. So we talk about empathy a lot in qualitative data when we’re doing interview studies. But I also see a need for empathy in human-centeredness and quantitative data. And so that’s led me to develop my talk to talk some of the ways that we can improve empathy and also reduce bias in data collection. And so to talk about that a little bit more, one of the things that I’ve noticed is that lately we’re just collecting so much data as a society. You know, our Fitbits are collecting data, our phones are collecting data, there’s just tons and tons of data available out there. And in order to be able to analysis all that data, I think we need people who are human-centered and people who really understand statistics to be able to create some good insights out of that data. So, because there’s so much data, as a UX researcher, I can’t analyze all of that myself. And I think that it’s really useful to teach others on the team how to pull good insights out of data. So I like to think of myself as being a good data friend at my company helping other people to learn research methods and also helping people to get good use out of insights they’re generating.
– I like that term being a good data friend. So what are some of the things that come up between you and your colleagues that helps them and you move forward?
– I think informal conversations are where this usually starts. So just being able to talk to people informally about some of their questions. Some of the things that are really keeping them up at night. That they want to know about our users. And it can be more formal as well. Doing things like lunch and learns or doing a talk that’s focused on a particular research method to really help people to understand research methods. I also have a background in teaching. When I was a graduate student, I taught undergraduate students research methods, and one of the things that I noticed in that role was that when people really understand the research process, they get a lot more out of the results. So even if they’re not going to be doing surveys themselves, or they’re not going to be analyzing the data, the more they know about the process and how it works, the more invested they are about the outcomes. So I’ve been trying to use that background to really help people to understand the data at LogMeIn.
– Well I think that’s gonna be a really interesting session for people to check out at the conference and I look forward to seeing you here as you make the well, I guess, relatively short and easy journey to Seattle.
– I’m looking forward to it.