A How-To guide on using Airtable for better note-taking and sense-making for User Research

Source: Airtable website

As User Researchers, we love when our participants open up and talk freely. But (sort of) despise it when we have to scour through mountains of quotes to make reconstruct a model of how humans think and what they do. There is a point in every research project when a researcher comes across an insight and our eyes glitter like Gollum’s.

Source: GIPHY

There are different frameworks for analysing notes but the common thread is observe patterns and interpret them as unbiased as possible — so fun!.

Excel, my dear! ⿳

A lot of researchers rely on good old Excel/Google Sheets for this. It…

Building an app or writing a book — the fundamentals still hold true

Credit: Pixabay

A core tenet of being a User Experience Designer is,

“You are not your user.”

Despite having preached this to several people, I failed to adhere to my advice recently.

Three weeks back, I was mulling over some topics to write a blog post. I like to read, so why not write about reading. It seemed so obvious. Carried over by the euphoria of writing a few paragraphs, another idea popped into my head. Why not write a short book about it?

Some people complain about not having enough ideas and we designers have the opposite problem — way too…

Having a clear outcome in mind makes reading more engaging and effective

“Books Bill Gates thinks you should read.”

“9 books Warren Buffet thinks you should read this year.”

“7 books Elon Musk thinks everyone should read.”

Each time I come across an article like that, I feel honoured. All these super successful, wealthy and intelligent people are taking the time to think about me!

I am sure you have seen such articles and listicles flooding social media posts and crying for attention. Heck! There are even book recommendations based on the season of the year. You like and share it with your network even if you haven’t scrolled through the book names because you don’t want to appear like a dud in front of your friends.

Tips for reading effectively in the 21st century

Welcome to Get, Set, Read.

A newsletter dedicated to helping people to break bad reading patterns and start to enjoy reading.

I am Sridhar, a User Experience Researcher by profession. I spend my days observing how people interact with each other, technology and the world to help designers make better products.

In case you haven’t figured it out already, I am a big-time nerd and a book worm.

When I was a kid, I would spend hours locked up in my room lost in the world of the Famous Five and Hardy Boys. I am a 90s kid. We didn’t…

Maybe, or maybe not.

Photo by ROOM on Unsplash

This is a thought I have been pondering on for the past few weeks after reading Radical Candor by Kim Scott. An ideal organisation is one where every employee thinks and acts in a way that is natural for them. But this scenario does not and cannot happen due to Personal Preferences.

Humans share similar physiological features but are mentally unique, weird and complex. So it is no wonder when you stuff a bunch of humans with diverse interests, likes, dislikes in an enclosed space for 8–9 hours each day, things get awkward and tense at times.

Gimme some beats

P.S: Some tips to get through a reader’s block

Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

Reading a book is a long-term commitment compared to scrolling through a news feed and liking stuff without even reading 140 characters completely. So it isn’t surprising that a lot of people don’t prefer reading books. With the insane amount of content being generated every second on the Internet and no instant gratification, swipe, scroll and click takes over the slow and deliberate act of reading.

I have been a book-worm since I was a kid and despite that, I went through periods of not wanting to pick up a book.

Reading the same content rephrased in myriad ways on…

Tips on being candid with yourself and your team

Credit: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Check out Part 1 of this post:

‘Radical Candor’ by Kim Scott has been on my to-read list for a long time. While the title piqued my curiosity, I kept thinking if it was one of those boring management books or lets-all-sit-down-and-hold-hands BS. But finally I did pick it up 2 weeks back and I wish I had read it a year back. Ten pages in and I knew this was the real deal. No jargon, no beating around the bush, no I-know-it-all attitude. Kim is honest, earnest and bares her soul on these pages talking not about the things…

Terminal 4 in Singapore Changi airport has an automated baggage check-in and security check. Both of these processes are quite time-intensive, so automating them seem the ideal thing to do. Singapore airport has always been quite tourist friendly and the time saved by passengers can be better spent on a duty-free shopping spree :) or checking out their indoor waterfall!

But the implementation currently doesn’t work so smoothly. It wasn’t clear that baggage tags had to be printed first before dropping off the luggage at the conveyor. This took some back and forth. When I tried to check-in the baggage…

Source: Pexels

Recently I conducted some user interviews with young kids for a project. This was the first time I was interviewing kids, so I did have some apprehensions about it. But it went surprisingly well. Each time I conduct an interview I learn something and this experience was quite interesting as well.

All the interviews were conducted remotely over a video call.

These are some of my observations:

Seek parents’ trust

This shouldn’t come as a surprise as all kids are taught not to speak to strangers. I began the interview with the parent and spoke to them for a few minutes to get…

In this article I will be comparing the microcopy of 2 music streaming apps. There are plethora of options out there but my personal favourites are Apple Music and Amazon Prime. I am based out of India and these two apps provide the best selection of regional songs.

Most of the streaming apps are designed for discovering new songs and not for downloading them on a phone. Can’t blame them — ad-generated revenue helps in lowering prices. Personally, I prefer to download songs and listen to my favourite ones repeatedly. …

Sridhar Rajendran

UX Research & Strategy, Writer, Voracious Reader

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