Fig tree in my backyard. Photo by author.

Hi,

Thanks for signing up for my newsletter and welcome to the first edition.

It’s starting to feel like summer in the Bay Area. I’m fully vaccinated and have some exciting professional news this week. I’m optimistic about what the summer and fall will bring to the country. I’m hoping vaccination efforts will spread throughout the world and that vaccine hesitancy will wane in the United States. Here’s the latest from me:

Some recent blog posts:


What you can and can’t ask a stranger on LinkedIn

Photo by laura adai on Unsplash

Ever since I started writing about UX and UX research on Medium, I’ve had a steady uptick in private messages and connection requests on LinkedIn. Writing on Medium and these types of connections with random people I don’t know on the internet remind me of what I loved about social media and the internet when I first started blogging back in 2001. Not only was it a way for me to explore my ideas in writing and play around with content and design but it was fun to think someone else was reading my writing and responding to it. Back…


It’s important for your team to understand where research brings value and where it doesn’t.

A group of people sitting around a coffee table with a whiteboard and post-its behind them.
A group of people sitting around a coffee table with a whiteboard and post-its behind them.
Photo by Leon on Unsplash

Earlier this week, I wrote about my frustration with UX researchers who don’t want to do any usability research. It’s a critical part of the UXR role and researchers must embrace it (and get good at conducting that type of research).

But there are situations where organizations expect UX researchers to conduct research too often and to answer questions that UX research isn’t suited to answer. In my experience, these expectations from teams usually signal larger organizational issues.

When research brings the most value

I believe that UX research brings a ton of value to organizations, especially when it:

  1. Helps organizations build products that are easy…


The humble usability study has become maligned by UX researchers … and it shouldn’t be.

Three young women sit around a couch looking at their laptops.
Three young women sit around a couch looking at their laptops.
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

At the foundation of every UX researcher’s methods toolkit is the humble usability study. We often think of usability studies as simple but understanding when to conduct usability research in the product lifecycle, how to get answers to the questions you and your team have early in the lifecycle (and with minimal engineering effort), how to moderate sessions, and how to interpret the results and make recommendations takes a lot of time, practice, and patience. More time, practice, and patience than most early career UX researchers realize. …


Nobody gets anywhere by themselves.

A photo of Big Sur, California, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and a mountain range in the background and a green hillside with trees in the foreground.
A photo of Big Sur, California, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and a mountain range in the background and a green hillside with trees in the foreground.
I’m grateful for Big Sur, CA. Photo by author.

I recently wrote about the top 5 interview mistakes I see UXers making over and over again. I ended that post reminding people to send a thank you note after their interviews. That got me thinking about gratitude in general at work.

Not enough people show gratitude at work. And they should.

The reality is that nobody gets anywhere in life without a lot of help from a lot of people. When I look back on my career, there were different people who were more senior than me who opened doors for me. They saw something in me and gave…


Don’t get in the way of your own success

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Over the past fifteen years of my career, I’ve spent a lot of time interviewing UX researchers and designers. Last I checked, I have conducted over 180 interviews at Google. There are times when I find UX candidates get in the way of their own success. Here are five mistakes that I see UX candidates making over and over again:

  1. Being rude to interviewers. At some point in my life, I learned that I needed to be on my best behavior during interviews (whether I’m a candidate or interviewer). Remarkably not everyone seems to have gotten this message! I know…


What nobody tells you in school

Three people look over a laptop and papers displaying low fidelity mocks.
Three people look over a laptop and papers displaying low fidelity mocks.
Photo by UX Indonesia on Unsplash

Intern season is almost here! If you’ve managed to snag an internship for the summer, congrats! Internships are a great way to build experience when you’re new to the UX field. I’m grateful that I had an opportunity to intern at Xerox when I was in grad school. It was my first time working on a UX team and I learned a ton during the summer (including learning to love Los Angeles!). But other than getting practical UX experience, I didn’t really know how to make the most of my internship. …

Noor Ali-Hasan

I’m a UX research lead at Google, where I help teams design and build desirable and easy to use products. Outside of work, I love art, Peloton, and Lego.

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