The Anthro to UX podcast is for anthropologists looking to break into user experience (UX) research. Through conversations with leading anthropologists working in UX, you will learn firsthand how others made the transition, what they learned along the way, and what they would do differently. We will also discuss what it means to do UX research from a practical perspective and what you need to do to prepare a resume and portfolio. It is hosted by Matt Artz (https://mattartz.me), a business anthropologist specializing in design anthropology and working at the intersection of product management, user experience, and business strategy. To learn more about the Anthro to UX podcast and career coaching services, please visit the website (https://anthropologytoux.com).
Tariq Rahman on Anthro to UX with Matt Artz
In this Anthro to UX podcast episode, Tariq Rahman speaks with Matt Artz about his UX journey. He discusses his fieldwork in Pakistan's real estate market and how it allowed him to explore the intersection of anthropology and UX research. He also highlights his UX internships at Zameen.com and Nike and discusses how his strategy consulting internship at ReD Associates has also helped position him for a career in UX research.
About Tariq Rahman
Tariq Rahman is currently finishing his PhD in Cultural Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine, where he studied the role of social media and proptech in Pakistan’s emerging $1 trillion real estate market. He recently completed a UX Research internship at Nike and a Strategy Consulting internship at ReD Associates. His expertise lies in using ethnography to better understand the relationship between technology and culture, and leveraging these insights to inform product innovations and strategy.
00:03:00 - Fieldwork in Pakistan on real estate market
00:06:00 - First internship at Zameen.com, a property portal
00:12:05 - Opportunity to work with companies in emerging markets during field work
00:13:48 - Making the case for UX research and its impact in Pakistan
00:15:00 - Lack of practical advice from department, self-learning UX research
00:18:00 - Introduction to UX during Nike internship, bottom-up experimental approach
00:22:23 - Importance of learning and seeking help during internships
00:23:00 - Internship at Red Associat
Rachel Puvvada on Anthro to UX with Matt Artz
In this Anthro to UX podcast episode, Rachel Puvvada speaks with Matt Artz about her UX journey. She first unknowingly discovered anthropology in high school through an ethnography project exploring cultural identity. This sparked her interest in studying people and cultures, leading her to earn a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Georgia. To position her for a career after college, Rachel took on ethnographic projects, created an online portfolio, and landed a UX research internship at SiriusXM. Now, as a UX researcher at Independence Pet Group, Rachel leverages her anthropology background while emphasizing continuous learning and curiosity. Passionate about helping others, she shares her less common path from an undergrad to UX to inspire other anthropology graduates.
About Rachel Puvvada
Rachel Puvvada recently earned her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Georgia. She is now a UX Researcher at Figo Pet Insurance, leading as the sole member of the user experience research team. Before this, she interned as a Product and UX Researcher at SiriusXM, where she tested product designs, synthesized data, and shared insights with cross-functional teams. As a recent graduate in a new UX role, Rachel is committed to providing guidance and mentorship to individuals entering the field with similar educational backgrounds.
00:00:59 Rachel's interest in anthropology and cultural identity
00:04:20 Rachel's experience in the anthropology program at the University of Georgia
00:07:00 Discovering UX research and deciding on a career path
00:09:30 Considering the need for an advanced degree in UX
00:11:00 Rachel's journey of breaking into the field without a master's or PhD
00:12:00 Building a portfolio with ethnographic projects and real-world experience
00:12:56 Importance of real-world experience and managing stakeholders
00:13:00 Applying to entry-level UX research jobs
00:12:56 Real-world experience and job search struggles
00:14:43 Difficulty breaking into the field with a bachelor's degree
00:15:24 Landing an internship at Sirius XM
00:16:00 Learning usability tests and specific UX research methodologies
00:16:58 Challenges of being a team of one and relying on mentors
00:18:11 Continuing to learn and explore new methodologies
00:19:00 Finding resources through online readings and mentor relationships
00:20:14 Encouragement for job seekers to persevere and stay curious
00:22:37 Joining user research meetups and groups for networkin
Sydney Yeager on Anthro to UX with Matt Artz
In this Anthro to UX podcast episode, Sydney Yeager speaks with Matt Artz about her UX journey. She discusses how she discovered anthropology in college and fell in love with its holistic perspective. Sydney also talks about her involvement with the Digital Anthropology Networking Group (DANG) and the importance of establishing the credibility of anthropologists studying digital spaces. She highlights the value of storytelling in anthropology and how it translates to UX research. Sydney also shares her experience working in product management and UX research roles and discusses her current role at Walmart, where she focuses on providing tech solutions for employees and improving the employee experience.
About Sydney Yeager
Sydney Yeager is a digital anthropologist with a career spanning academia and the private sector. Currently serving as a Senior Design Researcher at Walmart Global Tech, she previously held positions at AcreTrader and Boston Scientific. In academia, Yeager was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Rollins College and remains an active figure in anthropological circles as the co-founder and chair of the Digital Anthropology Interest Group (DANG). Her work consistently aims to integrate anthropological methodologies into technology and product development.
00:01:00 - Sydney's background and how she discovered anthropology.
00:03:00 - Sydney's undergraduate research on health and healing traditions.
00:04:00 - Sydney's interest in digital anthropology and involvement with DANG.
00:06:00 - DANG's mission to establish the credibility of digital anthropology.
00:08:00 - Sydney's interest in UX research and applied anthropology.
00:10:00 - Sydney's early work in UX research and interaction with academics.
00:13:00 - Experience in product management and UX research.
00:18:00 - Role on the Associate Digital Experience team at Walmart.
00:19:00 - Support for tech in the new Walmart campus.
00:22:29 - Observations on building products for customers vs. employees
00:24:00 - Need to translate employee experience into business goals
00:25:00 - Importance of considering end users and customers separately
00:26:03 - Ways to get involved in the digital anthropology group
Julia Wignall on Anthro to UX with Matt Artz
In this Anthro to UX podcast episode, Julia Wignall speaks with Matt Artz about her UX journey. She discusses the value of anthropology in the healthcare field and how she uses design research and service design to improve patient experiences. Julia emphasizes the importance of executive sponsorship and navigating the complexity of healthcare problems. She also highlights the need for qualitative methods, journey mapping, and service blueprinting in service design. Julia provides insights into the intersection of anthropology, design, and healthcare.
About Julia Wignall
Julia Wignall is an accomplished anthropologist currently serving as the Manager of Experience Insights & Design at Seattle Children's, where she brings the principles of social science to guide business decisions. With over a decade of experience in the field, she leads workforce, patient, and family experience insights, employing mixed methods research and service design for strategic innovation. Julia's expertise lies in ethical research practices, ethnography, and qualitative analysis, making her an invaluable asset in driving equity-focused design projects and generating actionable insights that impact product and program strategies throughout the organization.
00:01:25 - Julia's interest in anthropology and migration experiences
00:03:42 - Julia's work at Seattle Children's Hospital
00:04:48 - Transitioning to design research and learning on the job
00:07:06 - The value of executive sponsorship in facilitating change
00:09:24 - Navigating limitations and communicating research findings
00:10:57 - The role of business anthropology in understanding organizational culture
00:12:16 - Perspectives on anthropology and design in the medical field
00:13:42 - Facilitating change and adoption in a collaborative healthcare environment
00:15:29 - Using service design to navigate complexity and solve problems
00:18:00 - Incorporating technology into service design in healthcare
00:21:00 - Recommended skills for those interested in service design in healthcare
00:24:59 - Upcoming events and opportunities for networking in the field
00:25:59 - How to get in touch with Julia
Jason Garrison on Anthro to UX with Matt Artz
In this Anthro to UX podcast episode, Jason Garrison speaks with Matt Artz about his UX journey. The conversation covers Jason's journey from being an educator to becoming a cultural anthropologist and eventually transitioning to UX research. Throughout the episode, Jason emphasizes the importance of empathy, networking, and relationship-building in UX research. Additionally, he provides guidance on pursuing a PhD in anthropology and delves into the role of research operations in UX, discussing strategic thinking and emotional intelligence. Jason also highlights the benefits of embedded ethnography for understanding research team function and growth and offers advice for breaking into research operations.
About Jason Garrison
Jason Garrison is a seasoned UX Researcher, currently leading projects at AnswerLab, where he utilizes his mastery in mixed-methods to deliver valuable ethnographies and help clients understand their target audiences better. With over five years in the field, his journey has encompassed roles at UX Cabin, Comcast, Rock Central, and Google, each contributing to his unique skill set. His tenure has been marked by significant achievements such as initiating the first user research program for the Rocket Mortgage Mobile app at Rock Central and enhancing internal developer tools at Google. Jason's ability to empathize with users and translate insights into actionable results, combined with his dedication to inclusivity, makes him a valuable asset in the UX industry.
00:00:00 Introduction to the Anthro to UX podcast
00:00:38 Introduction to Jason Garrison
00:01:28 Jason's early interest in anthropology
00:02:25 Jason's practicum in Malaysia and exposure to applied anthropology
00:04:10 Jason's interest in the practical application of anthropology
00:05:57 Jason's discovery of UX during the pandemic
00:07:08 Jason's transition to UX research
00:09:30 The importance of storytelling in UX research
00:11:20 The role of empathy in UX research
00:06:28 Jason's decision not to pursue a PhD in anthropology
00:08:14 Discussion on the value of a PhD for UX research
00:10:00 Jason's view on the practical application of anthropology in UX
00:11:37 Addressing the criticism of anthropology being watered down in UX
00:12:47 Importance of anthropology in
Sarah Elizabeth Yoho on Anthro to UX with Matt Artz
In this Anthro to UX podcast episode, Sarah Elizabeth Yoho speaks with Matt Artz about her UX journey. The conversation covers Sarah's journey from law to medical anthropology, her transition into UX research during the pandemic, and the importance of translating anthropological experiences into the job application process. Sarah also discusses the concept of impact in research, the role of operations in policy implementation, and the significance of strategy in linking company goals to research and data points. Additionally, she highlights the potential for UX research in financial services.
About Sarah Elizabeth Yoho
Sarah Elizabeth Yoho is a Senior UX Researcher with a focus on strategy, policy and operations, and a specialization in ethnographic research. She has successfully planned, facilitated, and delivered diverse projects with a variety of clients in various sectors, including banks, NGOs, nonprofits, peak bodies, consultancies, and lobbyists. Her professional skillset features an international profile, including work at the Australian Medical Council (Policy Strategy & Compliance), the European Commission (Policy Research) & Macquarie University (Program Development).
At AnswerLab, Sarah Elizabeth works in the Financial Services Team where she leverages her policy strategy background and ethnographic expertise to lead strategic UX Research projects, facilitate workshops, and foster client relationships. She holds a Masters in Medical Anthropology & Public Health (MCHaM) from the Australian National University and a Marie Skłodowska Curie PhD in Medical & Environmental Anthropology from the University of Leeds.
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Business Anthropology by Ann Jordan
Great for anthropology students!
As an anthropology grad student, this kind of resource is super helpful. Great guests that offer diverse perspectives on transitioning from anthropology to the UX industry.