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UXR Spotlight: Risha Lee

Risha Lee
Risha Lee

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?

Hey Risha Lee, tell us a little about yourself.
Hello, super keen researchers! I’m Risha Lee, a Brooklyn-based qualitative researcher by way of academia. I never thought that I would be featured in this esteemed spread and am honored to share some nuggets of information about my journey here with all of you.

What originally got you interested in UX Research?
I came to UX Research as an art historian and museum curator.  I was hungry for a profession that understood designed experiences as an index of human choices, needs, and creative expression.  As a museum curator I became aware that many considered ‘the visitor experience’ as a separate design constraint, but then I learned that there was a whole discipline devoted to centering the User Experience in every single decision that businesses and institutions make. I was blown away by the possibilities of this framing and the potential to do some good. It also seemed like a much better way to earn a living than my former vocation and I was craving stability in my personal life.

What does your perfect evening look like after a day full of user studies?
It’s important to reward yourself after hard work. In case you can’t tell from my picture, I love to eat, especially Chinese food.  The apron I’m wearing is from when I was around 8 years old, and it’s signed by master chef Martin Yan of “Yan Can Cook.”  I had attended a cooking class he gave my mom’s Hadassah group, he called me up on stage to help him make vegetable garnishes, and I nearly died of pride! But I digress . . . After a long day I try to celebrate my accomplishment with a delicious home cooked meal shared with family and friends.

What would you like to talk about with other researchers and how can they find you?
I’d love to talk to other researchers, particularly those who work at larger corporations, about how they’ve integrated equity and accessibility initiatives into their work. I believe that UX can act as both a powerful source of knowledge and a mirror to our organizations that encourages them to serve the needs of marginalized users, but I’m not as clear on how we get there. I’d love to hear about use cases that have gained traction and brought about this reframing from within, and other ideas on the subject.

Thank you, Risha Lee!