My 18 years as a designer (sometimes the only designer) working with engineering teams has taught me a lot about user research and solving the actual problems that people have - not just the ones the business or product team thinks they have. For every project, it is my mission to be a user advocate — to conduct research, to formulate design hypotheses, and to get to the root of the problem by observing and talking to people, performing small design experiments, and evaluating the results. It's like the lean startup method on a micro scale.
After that work is complete, it's all about communicating that research to the team. I've found that a compelling narrative is one that you can see as well as read. People like a story. It helps them connect to the user and the problems they have. no matter what you're building.
At BetterLesson, where I've been working for the past 3 years, we've invested a lot of time in our teachers (users) and coaches (different group of users). Our product is not just an app. The tools we've built support our coaching work, which is the real product we offer. Working in this way, with a diverse group of teachers and coaches, has been an amazing experience as a designer. I'm happy to share that research as a part of my design portfolio.
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