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UXR Spotlight: Vanessa Wiegel

Vanessa Wiegel
Vanessa Wiegel

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?

Tell us a little about yourself, Vanessa Wiegel.
Hi! I'm Vanessa Wiegel, a research and design leader, with a background in robotics and autonomous vehicles. I am also a mom of twin toddlers, an avid hiker and world traveler, and a musical theater performer. Basically I don’t sleep :-)

What’s your favorite thing about your current job?
What I love most about my current role as head of research and design at Motional (self-driving taxis) is that we have the rare opportunity to redefine transportation. When you don’t need to drive, yet have the privacy and safety of your own vehicle, how else might you repurpose your time commuting or traveling? A hectic and stressful part of someone’s day can be completely transformed through this technology. You can cultivate whatever atmosphere you need in that moment, whether pumping you up for a presentation, catching up with a friend, freshening up on your way to a date night, or even taking a power nap. In addition to expanding the possibilities of travel, we are actively designing our vehicles to be safer, more reliable, and more accessible.

If you were a superhero, what UX Research power would you have and how would you use it?
I would have the ability to control the passage of time. In tech, we have to move so quickly to get to market and profitability. We almost always desire more time for research, particularly foundational research. In those instances, I would love the ability to slow or stop time to better allow this important work to happen. It would also be handy to have a fast forward button for unproductive meetings.

What can people reach out to you about and how can they find you?
Please feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn to discuss building and scaling research and design teams, developing robotics and other automated technologies, striving for balance as a working parent in tech, and making career transitions into UX.

Thank you, Vanessa Wiegel!