Posted by AnswerLab Research on Jan 22, 2021

With everyone working remotely, our AnswerLab Slack community has flourished with new channels devoted to podcast recommendations, reviews of recently-read books, and handy articles and resources. Many of us find inspiration to expand our reading lists from our colleagues, so as we start a new year, we asked our team what things they’re reading and listening to right now. We hope it’ll inspire you as well!

Podcasts_Books_Blog_Article_In-LineThings to Read:

User Friendly by Cliff Kuang

User Friendly is a must-read. It unpacks the history and evolution of user experience design, and - critically - questions whether "frictionless" should really be its ultimate aspiration. - Christina Pappas, Senior UX Researcher

History of Information Graphics by Sandra Rendgen

I have recently loved reading and re-reading the History of Information Graphics by Sandra Rendgen (Taschen, 2019). The book compiles visualizations from across a wide range of history, including a genealogy of Jesus drawn in 1210, a cholera map of London from 1849, and a hand-made sculptural map of genocide in Rwanda from 1996 (among hundreds of others). What I most like about this book is the context it brings to my work as a researcher studying how people use visual tools. When I look for references, I can fall into the trap of limiting my perspective to the last few decades of digital innovation. What a relief it is to remember we have centuries of examples to refer to! - Nic Walter, Senior UX Researcher

Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything by Kelly and Zach Weinersmith

These authors have reviewed current research on emerging technology and interviewed several leaders in the space to write something that is very digestible and humorous about these ten breakthrough technologies. It's a broad overview that walks you down to specific details around topics like augmented reality, robotics, and space travel. The book provides some interesting possibilities of what may happen with these technologies and is filled with astute comics created by one of them to explain the details. - Jennifer Bombach, Senior UX Researcher

Things to Listen to:

Awkward Silences

Hosted by User Interviews, this podcast interviews people in qualitative UX research from a variety of companies. They share their insights on research methods and ways of solving challenging problems that many organizations face when building a successful product. - Erika Spear, UX Researcher


I just got into the podcast "Ologies" which dives deep with an expert in a niche field during each episode (e.g. pumpkins, the ocean, etc.) While I live and breathe UX everyday, I appreciate learning nuggets about a breadth of things so I can bring more contextual understanding of topics that might cross our clients' domains to design best-fit research for them. The recent episode on Indigenous Fashionology surfaced the importance of inclusion in all industries and the intersection of environmentalism with materials for indigenous beadwork. I love getting to sample from the huge buffet of expertise that comes from these conversations! - Kyle Kubas, UX Strategy Manager

Get Reworked

Thinking about the bigger picture of how work gets done, how we can make work more satisfying, what needs to get better; I'm digging this podcast about how work is changing. The hosts interview people who spend all their time thinking about how organizations and people work and I've been finding it fascinating. - Tanya Bashaw, Director of Marketing

99% Invisible

99% Invisible is all about the design, architecture, and innovation shaping our world that we don’t often think about. He recently did a 5 part + prologue series called ‘According to Need’ about housing and homelessness. His book The 99% Invisible City came out at the end of 2020, and it includes short stories about different things we see in a city like the construction paint markings on the street. I love this podcast because it’s about design, it’s produced by a local (Oakland) guy, and it makes me think about things I’m not normally confronted by on a daily basis. - Sylvia Bargellini, Senior UX Researcher

Tech Policy Podcast

I love the Tech Policy Podcast. It helps to explain and keep me updated on tech policy by bringing in expert researchers and lawyers to interpret the news. My favorite recent episode of theirs was episode #281 titled Section 230, Antitrust, and Consumer Protection. This pod digs into the history of section 230, how it applies to relevant cases in antitrust and consumer protection law today, and provides a guide for what we can expect to see legislators discussing in the coming year. - Brittany Lang, UX Researcher


I enjoy listening to UXPodcast, a biweekly podcast about UX research and design from Per Axbom and James Royal-Lawson in Stockholm, Sweden. They have really interesting perspectives on user experience and interview a wide variety of guests from the world of UX. It’s a biweekly podcast, which seems like just the right frequency so the episodes are always interesting without any filler. - Jim Ross, Senior UX Researcher

AdExchanger Podcasts

A colleague recently recommended the AdExchanger podcasts and they’ve risen to the top of my must-listen list. At AnswerLab, we work with several clients in the ad tech space and though not UX-focused, I’ve found these podcasts to be incredibly insightful. Hearing publishers’ perspectives on the latest hot topics and challenges in this ever-evolving space is very valuable. The macro trends they discuss help add context to opportunities and challenges we hear come up on individual projects and make me more knowledgeable, in turn helping me build better rapport with participants during sessions! - Sara Currie, Senior UX Researcher

What are you reading and listening to this year? Get in touch with us on LinkedIn or Twitter to start a conversation.

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AnswerLab Research

The AnswerLab research team collaborates on articles to bring you the latest UX trends and best practices.

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