Mirjam is in the advisory board of uxcon vienna and a human factors engineer at mySugr. In her role at mySugr Mirjam brings the user research lens to the development of medical devices for people who live with diabetes. This means:
Dozens of interviews about the difficult and very personal topic of living with an auto-immune disease
Hundreds of usability tests of complex digital interfaces
Thousands of pages of documentation for regulatory bodies (slight exaggeration only)
As a consequence of those activities, she is always optimizing research processes to hit that sweet spot of “lean” yet “traceable”, while developing and testing multiple ways to bring user insights and empathy to all corners of the organisation.
Mirjam has an academic background in cultural anthropology, development sociology, humanistic counseling and global studies. Oh, and once upon a time she was an award-winning entrepreneur, founder of “the knowledge and know-how hub for sharing (in) the city” and a TEDx speaker. Sounds glamorous right? (Don’t tell anyone she was actually mostly working as a barista just to afford the rent.)
In her role as advisor at uxcon, Mirjam supports the team with her knowledge and brings ideas regarding trending topics and outstanding speakers.
We talked to Mirjam about UX and "growth", which is this year's theme of uxcon vienna:
Why is “growth” a great theme for an UX conference in Vienna?
It is no secret that UX research is a somewhat new professional field cobbled together from disciplines like design, human-computer interaction, psychology, behavioural science and anthropology. When we take a look at companies around the world we see that UX research is more established in some parts of the world than in others. In Central Europe the field is clearly only just emerging. Now it is time to nourish it and help it grow. That’s why I am really excited that UXCON is bringing international UX voices to Vienna. I can’t wait to hear Indi Young speak first hand about dealing with bias and to meet people like Nikki Anderson, who has quickly become very prominent in the UX world with her accessible pieces on how to actually do research.
Why? Aren’t we just inventing another “bullshit job”?
Absolutely not. Research serves a very real purpose. To me, research is ultimately about democratization and inclusivity: about making products and tools in a way that they are understandable to and usable by all. UX research brings data and insight on how to accomplish that.
What does that have to do with growth?
To collect those insights in the best way, we also have to continuously consider how we get better at our job, how we make sure that our insights are heard and once they are heard, how we mature our department and collaborate with others in new organisational configurations. Again, working on growing as a person who does research and on how to grow a research department in a sustainable way, is something that underlies many researchers’ day-to-day at the moment.