Cyd Harrell

Cyd Harrell is the UX lead and Product Director for Code for America.

Cyd has been refining remote and mobile research methods since 2006. As a veteran of more than 200 studies at Bolt | Peters, she worked with clients from VW to Sony to Electronic Arts on research questions that ordinary techniques wouldn't solve. She takes a fearless approach to making the method fit the question, using empathy and duct tape as her core tool set.

Today, as the UX lead and Product Director for Code for America, Cyd works with technology fellows and local governments to create inventive and research-supported civic technology that serves the needs of real people. Her work in the civic sphere has led her to develop methods for crowdsourcing user research, recruiting by SMS, and other “by any means necessary” tactics. She always uses her unique background in sociolinguistics and poetry to apply metaphorical thinking to human-centered design.

Clearleft says

We’ve been long term fans of Cyd since her days at Bolt Peters, so were honoured to get to work with her on our redesign of Code for America. When we asked the team who we should invite to speak at UX London, the answer was a resounding “you gotta get Cyd!”, so we did!

Workshop: Rich UX Research for Everyone

Please bring a smartphone or tablet with you

Great UX begins with knowing your users deeply. That used to require months of ethnographic immersion and a massive budget, but it doesn’t anymore. Now that almost everyone carries a mobile device with them, we have new and better ways to connect with the people who share a slice of their lives with us and become our muses. It just takes applying our creativity to research methods in the same way we apply it to the products we design.

This intermediate workshop will show you how to dig deep for the user understanding that informs great design, without spending a fortune.

You’ll learn to:

Design low-cost studies with an authentic connection to your users.

  • explore complex contexts of use from a distance through remote research
  • learn about users’ lives via mobile-phone longitudinal studies

Unlock the power of the research platform people carry in their pocket.

  • go deeper by designing studies of complex mobile tasks beyond a single app or website.
  • set up mobile diary studies to answer broader questions about users’ desires and activities.

Find exactly the right participants on your own, without paying a fortune to screening agencies.

  • use social media, SMS surveys, and even posters to find and screen candidates
  • pay incentives creatively (not with money)