Is it time for me to add guest lecturer to my LinkedIn profile?

Adam Spencer

Last month, I made a virtual return to the Design School at Loughborough University and spoke about my experiences as a user researcher to their current students.

As Stephen mentioned in his recent blog, this is one of the things we like to offer as a way of giving back for all the help and support that got us Lagomers to where we are today.

I originally studied to be an industrial designer at Loughborough, then specialised with a master’s degree in user experience design.

Although both disciplines are (or should be) user-centred, I had never really contemplated pursuing user research as a career pathway at first. Like many students, my vision initially narrowed to the surplus of roles ending in designer.

Understandably then, I was thrilled when Dr Val Mitchell (my former tutor and someone who I now share countless email threads with); invited me to perform a short monologue about my work at Lagom.

I did my first lecture in 2019, but didn’t blog about it at the time because there was a lack of photographic evidence!

Fast forward to 2020, I was grateful to be welcomed back and able to present to this year’s cohort of master’s students. More than fifty of them.

I described Lagom’s remote setup, our user research process and how we conduct discoveries for government and the public sector.

I’m confident that I managed to intrigue at least some of the audience – because there were questions!

How do Lagom go about participant recruitment?
How has the ongoing pandemic impacted Lagom’s processes?

I also spoke of my service assessment experiences and how much I appreciate the added scrutiny from the Government Digital Service.

That was not a sarcastic remark.

The thoroughness of their questioning helps ensure and reaffirm the rigour of our processes.

What were the most challenging user needs? Why?
What user research has there been around assisted digital support?
How do you know that the end-to-end service will work for users?

In my talk, I likened it to a routine army fitness test for user researchers (and of course, the others within the service team).

Being a user researcher is a rewarding vocation, so I hope that I did well enough to recommend this life to the students. More importantly, I hope that I helped disprove the unfortunately popular belief that UX is just about pretty interface designs and digital technology.

I’ll be participating in some more Design School events in the coming months. I wonder what will come after that…

…part-time tutor for the master’s course?

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