Welcome to UI High, the world’s only fictional secondary school dedicated to the study and practice of User Research!
You’ll find no weary school administrators, lunchroom politics, popularity contests, or exclusive in-groups here. The students of UI High value collaboration over competition and don’t tolerate the bullying or exclusion of their peers (or anyone, really). And you can forget about messy lockers or last-minute reports—this is one organized bunch!
The User Research Yearbook is a directory of essential voices in User Research: In one way or another, all of the folks in the UI High Class of 2022 have contributed their voices, energy, and time to educate, champion, challenge, and drive important conversations within the field.
In this inaugural year, we decided to focus on two distinct but related themes:
1. Democratizing + scaling + operationalizing research.
2. Inclusion in research and design.
Together, “research for all.”This project is brought to you by User Interviews and is meant to celebrate the thought leaders and change makers in our field. We know that there are many, many thousands of inspiring folks who are not in this directory… yet.
User Research is an ever-growing and ever-changing field, and we’re eager to shine the spotlight on additional, equally essential voices who aren’t yet represented here. Which is why we plan to grow this directory with new cohorts—and new themes—each year.
In the meantime, we’re hugely grateful to all of the folks in the UI High Class of 2022 for taking the time to be a part of this project. Their innovative approach to problem-solving, generosity of spirit, tireless activism, and dedication to making User Research and its outcomes more accessible, equitable, and relevant are truly inspirational.
The #UIYearbookCommittee is predominantly made up of marketers and let us tell ‘ya—it is such a privilege to create content with and for people making a real-world impact.
So thanks for being wonderful, #UIHSClassof2022! Excited to see what y’all do next.
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!