Hello, and welcome to my UX Research Portfolio

I am Lena Desantis, a UX Researcher living in Houston Texas. I have 16 years of experience in UX, usability, and human factors.

uX Research

Experience

Shell
Schlumberger
GE Oil & Gas
NASA
uX Research

Misconceptions

It's too expensive and takes too long ...

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The cost of UX research is directly related to the complexity of the problem to be solved. Research activities can be scoped to meet budget and schedule constraints.

Quick and dirty user interviews can uncover enough information to give the UX designers direction on what the user needs and pain points are. Low fidelity wireframes can be used to get quick feedback on the design and direction of the system or application.

I already have a UX Designer on the team, isn’t that enough?

A UX designer is a vital and necessary component of an Agile product delivery team. I see job postings for a UX Generalist, Specialist, or Strategist where the job description includes research, design, and coding.

I would rather work on a diverse multidisciplinary team with a rockstar designer, ninja developer, and a badass scrum master than a team of unicorns and purple squirrels. Asking a single person to be all things to a product team creates an environment for burnout.

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Anyone can do it.

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It takes practice to be good at anything. We all start at the beginning, the end is up to us. I learned human factors and usability testing after joining the Usability Testing and Analysis Facility at the NASA Johnson Space Center in October 2002.

So, I am proof anyone can do it. However, I was not very good when I first started. I made so many errors.

We’re planning to do UAT before we release.

I hear this a lot when product teams are working with a white label third party software or they are updating an existing web application from 1998 Visual Basic to a modern design.

User Acceptance Testing appears to fulfill the user-centered checkbox, but in actuality sometimes it’s someone imitating the user who is verifying the functionality of the system and unintentionally ignoring the context of use, usability of the system, and user satisfaction.

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Lena was an instrumental team leader for conducting numerous research and developmental evaluations at the Johnson Space Center. Her expertise and knowledge for ensuring user centered design allowed the hardware and software developers at NASA to produce tools and equipment that will be optimally utilized by astronauts for future human exploration missions.

— Ronald D. Archer
Senior Human Factors Design Engineer
Leidos
NASA Johnson Space Center
lena-uxresearch

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