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🗞 Insights from the world’s largest QuantUX conference

Jan Ahrend
Jan Ahrend
6 min read
💡 I caught up with Julio Angulo this week, a good friend who I worked with at Google Workspace and until recently at YouTube. Julio shared his journey from studying Computer Science and Psychology to working at Google and YouTube. He recently left to pursue personal projects, especially around AI in UX research. Our conversation touched on the rapid advancements in AI tools and their potential impact on user research, as well as his current explorations with AI for product development and data visualization.

🗞 This week’s articles bring fresh insights from the 2024 QuantUX conference, discuss the pros and cons of synthetic users, and offer a practical guide on influencing product strategy as a UX researcher. There’s also advice on designing a better MVP with mixed methods research, and a Q&A on demonstrating the ROI of your research.

🏡 On a personal note, our baby daughter is expected to arrive next Friday. I’m feeling incredibly humbled and grateful to soon experience this part of the human journey. The support and understanding from everyone at work has been amazing, and it means more to me than I ever imagined.

Happy Researching,
Jan 🙌

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😌 Humans of User Research with Julio Angulo

Julio Angulo
Julio Angulo

Hi Julio, tell us a little about yourself!
Hej, I am Julio Angulo, a User Experience Researcher and tinkerer, with a background in Interaction Design and programming. I studied Computer Science, combined with Psychology during my Bachelor studies. It was the mix of these fields in the early 2000’s which eventually led me to discover Interaction Design, UX and the Internet of Things. Back then, computer programs were clearly driven by computer engineers and programmers, with little consideration for how people would understand and use those programs. That’s what got me interested in trying to make technology that was intuitive and seamless for people, and what eventually led me to enroll myself as a Ph.D. student in user-centered design. I got my first job as a UXer for a mobile company back in 2008. For the last eight years I have been working at Google and YouTube as a UX Researcher. I recently left Google to pursue my own projects.

What's a pressing challenge in today's user research landscape?
At the risk of sounding repetitive these days, one clear pressing that comes to mind is the rapid advancements in Artificial Intelligence tools and technologies. These advancements have the potential to transform the way researchers conduct their work and approach product research as a whole. Recently, I have been exploring prompts and APIs for several AI tools, including Gemini, Ollama, and OpenAI, while also learning about other interesting projects, such as, the Fabric project, Grain, and others. These tools introduce exciting possibilities for UX research, but they also raise important considerations that must be addressed before they can be appropriately integrated into our research practices. The pressing challenge lies in the rapid pace of these advancements, which can leave researchers feeling overwhelmed and potentially falling behind. It will be important for researchers to stay informed and actively engage with these new tools to understand their capabilities and limitations.

How would you explain your work to a 6-year-old?
My daughter just turned 6 years old 🙂. She has no idea of what I do, but if I were to explain my role to her I would tell her that my job is to “understand people”. I feel that understanding people is a core function as product researchers, we then translate that understanding into insights which we communicate to the people who implement those insights into user experiences. So, to my 6 year old daughter I would say: “I try to understand people, people like you, so that I can tell my friends at work to create programs in iPads and computers in a way that would make you and other people have a great experience, or help you accomplish the things you want to do.”

What other projects are you working on right now and how can we learn more about them?
I have several other projects that I want to get started, most of them involving using AI, learning about AI for product development, data analysis and data visualizations. For instance, I have been using Gemini’s API on a Spreadsheet to classify large amounts of data into categories. I have also been learning how to approach data collection, analysis and visualizations with ChatGPT and other AI tools. I am also exploring how to use prompt patterns (from the Fabric project) and AI agents to synthetize insights from interview transcripts or similar data.I will start sharing these personal projects and learnings on a new website I am putting together,, as well as on LinkedIn!  I am also considering creating video tutorials on a YouTube channel to share with other researchers and designers my explorations into using AI tools for UX. Let me know if these types of tutorials would be interesting!

Thank you, Julio!

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📚 Articles of the Week.

From data to design: 6 key insights from the world’s largest quantux conference
Explore insights from the 2024 QuantUX conference on integrating data into UX. Highlights include AI advancements, tools for quantifying behavior, and methods to enhance your UX practice with quantitative techniques. Jonathan Pusic 06/20

Synthetic users: If, when, and how to use AI-Generated “Research”
Synthetic users are fake users generated by AI. While there may be a few use cases for them, user research needs real users. Maria Rosala & Kate Moran 06/21

Influencing product strategy as a UX researcher – a 3-step guide
Learn to influence product strategy as a UX researcher using a 3-step process with the Kano Model. Steps include identifying user needs, categorizing them by satisfaction and investment impact, and presenting strategic insights to stakeholders. Jack Holmes 06/18

Design a better MVP with mixed methods user research
Discover effective user research methods for the MVP design phase to ensure early insights and reduce risks. Techniques include user interviews, usability testing, and prototype feedback to increase the likelihood of MVP success. Jack Holmes 06/26

How to demonstrate the impact and ROI of your research [Q&A]
Dscout's VP of UX Julie Norvaisas sits down with Cash App's Elysa Stein, to discuss tying research insights to the bottom line. Julie Norvaisas & Elysa Stein 06/26

Decoding the world of ads: getting started with ux research on advertising experiences
Explore how UX research enhances ad effectiveness by understanding both consumer and advertiser interactions with ad technology. Key insights include tailoring ad experiences, optimizing tools, and driving actionable results. Jane Kim & Jennifer Bohmbach 06/20

9 challenging participant types
Learn to navigate user testing with nine challenging participant types to ensure productive feedback. Strategies include managing dominant voices, addressing contrarians, and maintaining study flow to optimize usability insights. Syed Balkhi 06/25

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🎥 Video of the Week.

Exploring LLM use cases: effective research with ChatGPT and scite assistant
Explore how ChatGPT and Scite Assistant enhance research productivity by streamlining information generation and contextual referencing. Key insights include combining AI responses with human oversight and leveraging these tools for efficient research workflows. YouTube 06/21

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🔉 Audio of the Week.

Improving your UX research efficiency with Auzita Irani of AirBnB
Discover strategies for efficient UX research with limited resources from AirBnB's Auzita Irani. Key insights include using AI tools, prioritization frameworks, effective collaboration, and methods to combat burnout while predicting future UX trends. Spotify Apple 06/25

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🗓 UserCalendar: Upcoming Events.

HCI International ($895)
June 29 – July 4 EDT
HCI International 2024, a hybrid conference on Human-Computer Interaction, features 21 international boards and runs from June 29 to July 4. Key highlights include cutting-edge HCI research, networking opportunities, and expert panels. Learn more