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Illustration of a list of notes with a woman waving from the page - User Interviews's YouX 2023 virtual UX research conference recap

YouX 2023 Recap: Learnings, Session Recordings, and Additional Resources

What we learned from our inaugural virtual UX conference, centered around wellness and connection in the user research community.

In case you missed it, User Interviews (with support from our friends at Sprig and Chameleon) just hosted our first-ever virtual UX conference, dedicated to connecting self and community through research. 

With a stellar line-up of thought leaders in user research and design, the event attracted more than 3,500 registrants—an outsized response that we weren’t anticipating but are incredibly grateful for. 🙏

Many thanks to those of you who were able to attend—and for everyone else who couldn’t make it, this article is for you. It includes:

  • A summary of what we learned from each session
  • Resources for continued learning, recommended personally by each speaker
  • Links to the live session recordings

🧘‍♀️ A centering moment 

To kick off the conference, User Interviews’s VP of Engineering and Zen practitioner, Sherwin Yu, led a brief mindfulness meditation. We started here with the goal of grounding ourselves and attendees for focus, calm, and connection as we navigated the rest of the event. 

✨ Fun fact: Sherwin also leads a 15-minute weekly mindfulness practice for the team here at User Interviews

🏔️ Wellness and UX: Going beyond the user experience 

“Stress is the biggest bias generator we have to contend with in our work.” – Dr. Christelle Ngnoumen

For our first keynote session, we had the honor of welcoming Dr. Christelle Ngnoumen, Principal User Experience Designer at Headspace Health.

As a researcher herself, Dr. Ngnoumen understands how stressful the user research process can be—and as a mindfulness and meditation expert, she’s deeply knowledgeable about the science-based tools that researchers can use to manage that stress. 

In this session, she taught us healthy, sustainable techniques for putting mental wellness at the forefront of your approach to research. 

🎥✨ Watch the session recording

Additional resources:

🎭 Reframing the imposter syndrome

“Imposter syndrome doesn't necessarily go away. You just kind of find new things to get nervous about.” – Nikki Anderson–Stanier

If you’ve ever doubted your skills as a researcher, you’re not alone. 

Imposter syndrome—the persistent worry that you might be undeserving of your accomplishments and fear of being exposed as a fraud, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary—seems especially present in the UX research community

It’s a relatively new field, and there’s always more to discover. The novelty, rapid change, and opportunity to learn is part of the attraction—but it can also be a source of self-doubt and uncertainty. 

In this session, panelists Tiffany Eaton, Interaction Designer at Google and Nikki Anderson-Stanier, Founder & Managing Director at User Research Academy joined us for a frank discussion on imposter syndrome, moderated by Fredrick Royster, Independent Educator & Web/UX Designer. 

They discussed their own experiences with imposter syndrome and taught us strategies for addressing it and coping when imposter syndrome meets real-life failure. 

🎥✨ Watch the session recording

Additional resources recommended by Fredrick:

Additional resources recommended by Nikki:

Additional resources recommended by Tiffany:

👩‍🏫 Will you be my mentor?

“I sometimes call [mentorship] the mirror that talks back. That's what I tell my current career counselor—you're like the mirror that talks back to me. I tell you things. You ask me a couple of clarifying questions, I reframe things in my head, and I leave the conversation feeling like many of us probably feel like after visiting a therapist where I feel… so much better, so much more clarity and I know what I need to be doing.” – Devin Harold

It’s no secret that people who do research place a lot of value on mentorship, coaching, and peer-based learning. 

UX careers can be challenging, overwhelming, and deeply personal. On the one hand, the endless opportunities and career paths available to UXers can be empowering. On the other hand, you might struggle to make decisions when the next step isn't clear. 

Mentors and coaches can help. 

In this panel, moderated by Varun Murugesan, Co-Founder of Apple and Banana, panelists Paul Derby, Senior Manager, User Experience Research at ServiceNow; Devin Harold, Director of Design Research at Capital One; and Dr. Erika Spear, Research Manager at AnswerLab taught us:

  • How mentorship can help UXers in their careers
  • The difference between coaching and mentoring
  • Experiences from both the mentee and mentor perspective
  • How to achieve your goals on either side of the relationship

🎥✨ Watch the recording of this session

Additional resources recommended by Erika:

Additional resources recommended by Devin: 

Additional resources recommended by Varun:

🤝 Research for all: Building healthy teams through democratization

“In the long run, you can achieve a lot more and you can achieve it faster if you set up a practice of democratization. And I think it can also help to reduce the risk of burnout.” – Kate Kalcevich

Democratization—AKA research enablement—holds a world of potential for improving your business, from strengthening the decisions you make to creating a more inclusive working environment. 

Our second keynote speaker, Kate Kalcevich, Head of Accessibility Innovation at Fable, joined us to talk about just that. 

In this session, Kate drew on her experience democratizing design, accessibility, and research to discuss tips and frameworks for empowering others in your organization. She taught us how to identify democratization needs, create playbooks and models to enable your team, and sustainably scale your research practice

🎥✨ Watch the recording of this session

Additional resources recommended by Kate:

😎 Stay centered, friends. See y’all next year! 

The pressure on UX researchers has never been greater—and they’ve never been more stressed. 

At YouX 2023, leaders in the UX community shared practical tips and wisdom for taking care of yourself as a researcher, overcoming self-doubt, managing stress, and building healthy research teams.  

We hope you take this insight with you to stay centered at work (and in life) through 2023.

👉 If you’d like to join us next year, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know when the registration page opens up for YouX 2024. 

Lizzy Burnam
Product Education Manager

Marketer, writer, poet. Lizzy likes hiking, people-watching, thrift shopping, learning and sharing ideas. Her happiest memory is sitting on the shore of Lake Champlain in the summer of 2020, eating a clementine.

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