This year’s theme brings together two distinct but related trends in User Research: democratizing + scaling + operationalizing research and inclusion in research and design under the umbrella of “research for all.”
It’s an ambitious-sounding phrase, to be sure, and one that reflects an ideal rather than our current state. But hey, we’re optimists and there’s a certain power in naming things (plus, “research for more, by more” doesn’t really have the same ring to it).
The members of the Class of 2022 have all contributed, in varying ways, to a future in which User Research and its outcomes are more relevant and accessible to the people they impact.
They've done this by:
Graduation is optional at UI High, and we hope everyone in the Class of 2022 chooses to stick around. Those that do will be joined by a new cohort each year, whose members will be united by a common theme, like “research for all.”
If you have suggestions for future themes, nominations for the Class of 2023, or general feedback about this project—let us know!
Why the 1970s?
Okay, but, what’s with the 1970s vibes?
For one thing, we love us some Earth, Wind & Fire. For another thing, Katryna grew up flipping through the pages of her mother’s 1973 yearbook and she successfully lobbied in favor of her own second-hand nostalgia.
But really, the reason that we didn’t go with a ‘90s/Lisa Frank vapor wave vibe or a cringy early ‘00s Myspace era aesthetic was that, on a sociopolitical level—the context that all user research necessarily happens in—the 1970s actually feels more relevant than either of those more recent eras.
The decade of disco was marked by considerable social and economic progress—and vehement pushback. You don’t need to look too closely to find parallels and connections between the major events and cultural flashpoints of the 1970s and the issues currently occupying our headlines, courtrooms, and sleepless minds in 2022.
The 1970s were marked by deadly wars, political scandal, economic crises, social unrest, and skyrocketing gas prices… but also by profound creativity, landmark legislation, “post-civil rights era” strides in Black American political representation, the arrival of the first home computer, and the earnest belief—expressed through protest, countercultures, and political action—that we have the power to make things better.
Which UXRs are pictured here? Hover for the answer!
Which UXRs are pictured here? Click for the answer!