067: Design for How People Think with John Whalen

User Defenders podcast
067: Design for How People Think with John Whalen

Dr. John Whalen teaches us what it means to design for how people think. He reveals the powerful principals behind what he calls the six minds of user experience, and explains how anybody can harness them to build better products (no doctorate degree required!). He reminds us that it takes serious research to reveal the deep insights that genuinely make our products successful for the user and the business. He also encourages us to understand that no one is more qualified than anyone else in solving unique problems.

  • Design for How People Think by John Whalen
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John Whalen is the founder and Lead of Psychological Insights & Innovation at Brilliant Experience. He is an international speaker, and author of the recently published book Design for How People Think: Using Brain Science to Build Better Products (O’Reilly). John helps businesses use psychological research to strategically position their products, services, and marketing. He has a PhD in Cognitive Science and 15+ years of experience working in user research and product design with Fortune 500 companies and design agencies including Google, PayPal, Bloomberg, eBay, Cisco, Capital One, and Johns Hopkins. Little known fun filled facts: He’s camped North of the Arctic Circle on 12 feet of ice and he’s a green-eyed, left-handed Psychology PhD, making him (statistically at least) 1-in-a-million.

  • Psychology and UX (5:04)
  • Six Minds of Experience (8:48)
  • Impact of Psychology (10:54)
  • Acronym Cheat Sheet (16:03)
  • Three Phone Numbers (17:08)
  • Dark Psychology (25:21)
  • Designing for Delight (31:24)
  • Contextual Inquiries (42:50)
  • Upside-Down Design (49:37)
  • Design Superpower (56:09)
  • Design Kryptonite (57:04)
  • UX Superhero Name (58:43)
  • Habit of Success (59:05)
  • Recommended Book (1:08:02)
  • Best Advice (1:10:38)

Continue reading 067: Design for How People Think with John Whalen

064: How to Become Indistractable with Nir Eyal

User Defenders podcast
064: How to Become Indistractable with Nir Eyal
  • How to Become Indistractable: Nir Eyal on User Defenders: Podcast

Nir Eyal teaches us how to harness the skill of the century… becoming Indistractable. He reminds us that distraction is an action that starts from within. He motivates us to take command of our personal development in a world that is frequently competing for our attention. He encourages us to recognize the external triggers that don’t serve us and how to be more mindful of those that do. He also shares what it takes to be competitive in an increasingly automated job market.

  • Indistractable by Nir Eyal
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Nir Eyal is the author of Hooked: How to build habit-forming products. His latest book, Indistractable shows us how to overcome distraction, and gain one of the most important skills of the 21st century. He runs a popular blog about the intersection of psychology, technology, and business. His primary focus is on what he calls “behavioral design” which encompasses user experience, behavioral economics, and a dash of neuroscience. He’s taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Design. He has sold two technology companies and now help teams design more engaging products. For most of his career he’s worked in the video gaming and advertising industries where he learned, applied (and at times rejected) the techniques used to motivate and manipulate users. He writes to help companies create behaviors that benefit their users, while educating people on how to build healthful habits in their own lives. He received most of his education earning an advanced degree from the The School of Hard Knocks as well as an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He also wrestled for 4 years in high school and never won a match.

  • Book Origin Story (3:59)
  • Response to Hooked (7:59)
  • Seeking Relief (15:25)
  • My Daily Milky Way (33:40)
  • Breaking Habits in Stuck Environments (35:31)
  • Pharmaceutical Distractions (42:13)
  • Where Are We Heading? (45:46)
  • Did You Ever Find Out? (49:54)
  • What Superpower Would You Want? (54:06)

Continue reading 064: How to Become Indistractable with Nir Eyal

054: UX Research on a Budget with Becca Kennedy

User Defenders podcast
054: UX Research on a Budget with Becca Kennedy

Becca Kennedy teaches us how to do UX research on a budget. She encourages newer designers to demonstrate their problem-solving superpowers by redesigning sub-par experiences they use regularly. She reminds us that users are human before they’re users. She also shows us how we can have anything in life we want, if we will just help others get what they want.

Becca Kennedy is a Human Factors Psychologist and a UX Researcher/Designer. After an academic career designing and evaluating healthcare training technology, she turned independent and co-founded a UX consulting company called Kennason in 2015 out of Albany, NY. Currently, Becca is the UX Designer for Agrilyst, an agriculture-tech startup based in Brooklyn. She also keeps busy with consulting projects and volunteering with organizations like AIGA Upstate New York. She was recently recognized by the Albany Business Review as a 40 Under 40 awardee. Fun Fact: She has three tattoos, and all are kind of nerdy: a symbolic nod to getting through a PhD program, a subtle Star Wars X-Wing, and a piece of the original Epcot branding in Walt Disney World.

  • Becca’s Tattoo’s Origin Story (5:31)
  • Why Psychology? (6:26)
  • What is Human Factors? (11:43)
  • How do we find research subjects? (24:06)
  • The Law of Diminishing Returns (31:16)
  • Awkward Testing Story (32:57)
  • Design Superpower (39:14)
  • Design Kryptonite (40:48)
  • Coping with Imposter Syndrome (44:49)
  • UX Superhero Name (49:10)
  • Should we Call Them Users? (53:45)
  • Fights for Users (56:33)
  • Habit of Success (59:11)
  • Invincible Resource (61:54)
  • Recommended Book (63:54)
  • Best Advice (66:09)
  • Contact Info (70:07)

Continue reading 054: UX Research on a Budget with Becca Kennedy

039: Good Designers are Good at Business with Joe Leech

User Defenders podcast
User Defenders podcast
Product Management
039: Good Designers are Good at Business with Joe Leech

User Defenders "Mr. Joe" Joe Leech

Joe Leech shows us how psychology helps frame what we’re seeing in user research. He articulates why the superpower we need is understanding how business works. He inspires us get out of our seat and talk to executives in the organization more about the business. He also challenges us to not just always be shipping, but always be shipping the right things.

Mr. Joe Leech, Joe to his friends is a user experience consultant based in Bristol, UK. He’s the author of “Psychology for Designers”. He’s a 13 year UX veteran who’s worked with organizations like MoMa, Raspberry Pi, Disney, eBay and Marriott. He’s a recovering neuroscientist who spent a spell as an elementary school teacher. He’s also the Series Editor of Aspects of UX, a book series on UX from SitePoint.com. He once had a sauna with Meatloaf (the rock star, not the food).


  • Secret Identity/Origin Story (4:39)
  • Biggest Superhero (14:50)
  • Biggest Failure (22:37)
  • Awkward Testing Story (30:03)
  • Design Superpower (32:03)
  • Design Kryptonite (33:34)
  • Design Superhero Name (36:52)
  • Fight For Users (42:03)
  • Psychology & Design (43:05)
  • Habit Of Success (49:48)
  • Invincible Resource (51:26)
  • Book Recommendation (54:40)
  • Best Advice (57:49)
  • Contact Info (59:46)

Joe Leech’s Twitter
Joe Leech’s Website

[RESOURCE] Excel spreadsheet that shows the business case for what they’re doing.
Business Model Generation [BOOK]
Value Proposition Design [BOOK]
Gross Psychology [BOOK]

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Continue reading 039: Good Designers are Good at Business with Joe Leech