This spotlight was part of USERWEEKLY - a weekly email to understand what is happening in user research. It's the best way to keep up on trends, methodologies, insights across the industry, and meet new researchers. Each week, the newsletter captures the pulse of our community and answers a simple question: What mattered in User Research this week?
Hi Ben Anyasodo, tell us a little about yourself.
I’m Ben Anyasodo, a multidisciplinary Research Consultant, with core experience in Human-Machine Interaction, User-Centred Design and Cognitive Ergonomics. I particularly enjoy incorporating these elements into developing rounded UX/UCD research Strategies which deliver optimum user experience - in both simple and complex end-to-end technology. I am very passionate about studying human behaviour at different levels and translating that to some form of outcome eg improving usability of a product or helping people improve their own behaviours. I am that guy that enjoys breaking down complex concepts to very simple terms. I started out as a Physicist (and I still very much enjoy physics) and ended up researching with people.
Outside of user research, I am a classical musician and a Behavioural Change Therapist - yes, I’m a hypnotist too!
What energizes you about your career?
Knowing that my work potentially has such an impact on the behaviour of millions of people! This is also a humbling realisation. It hit me at some point that the research I do (especially in the public sector) is not just about how a digital product can be designed properly, but rather how it fits into and impacts the day-to-day lives of millions of people. Therefore being a user advocate becomes less of a novelty and more of a core value to my work. Unfortunately, many organisations still see user research activities as a tick in the box type exercise of some sort - and sadly, many researchers haven’t done much to change this notion. As a result, some researchers haven’t yet realised how much responsibility their role really carries. So yes, I get energised each time by this awareness. One of my favourite events is the World Usability Congress, and one of the reasons I love the event is the fact that you get to meet so many passionate UX professionals who share a similar perspective. It is so refreshing.
Have you ever had "imposter syndrome"? How did you deal with it?
Yes of course, I have had this in the past. However, being a therapist, I understand this better. Impostor syndrome is really an adult expression of childhood “not enoughness”. Many of us would have had experiences as kids where our work was minimised or criticised, and we ended up feeling we needed to measure up in a certain way or be perfect before we are acknowledged. We then get used to this way of processing life and therefore become very critical of our own abilities and output. To deal with this, one has to remember, you are not a child anymore. It helps to remind yourself that you are doing your best and that you didn’t get to where you are just by some fluke. It helps to remember that people are very critical naturally which means, if people are applauding your work, chances are, you did great. Finally, learning to be your own cheerleader helps - pay attention to your internal dialogue. If that internal dialogue was someone else talking to you, would you still be friends with that person? Would you say the person is right? If the answer is no, it means you can stop talking to yourself that way. Start finding what is right with you and your work rather than what is wrong. Yes, go for excellence, but remember to give yourself a pat on the back as well. My mantra is “I owe myself to do my best!” - and that’s all really. Doing my best means doing all I can, while acknowledging that my best yesterday may not be the same as my best today. This is a principle I learnt from the book “The 4 Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz - I recommend this book to anyone that wants to experience a deep level of personal freedom.
What can people reach out to you about and how can they find you?
If you want to know anything about how to make a research strategy work, or how to research with APIs (ie researching with developers) or how to get the best out of your users in a research session, then I’m your man. It’s easiest to find me on Linkedin. And the other side of me is all about facilitating behavioural change in people and for that, I can be reached on www.calmind.co.uk.
Thank you, Ben!
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