After starting her career in strategy consulting, Shara wanted to get closer to product and users. She now leads numerous research efforts as a Senior Design Researcher at Three Five Two. She is a firm believer that research and design should always be approached with intent and a user-centered mindset.
This week, we sat down to discuss Shara’s perspectives on Three industry macro trends, Five must-have tech tools for work and Two tools that have also impacted her personal life.
Three Work Philosophies
1. Inclusive Product Design.
“UX is all about user experience and centering the user, so the industry as a whole is starting to recognize that we need to be more mindful of inclusivity and accessibility. We can’t design a product for a user when we’re not thinking about how multifaceted users can be.”
2. Doing Things that Don’t Scale, in Order to Get to Scale.
“In the innovation space, we are often working when we have not gotten to a place of scale, where we’re still trying to figure out what will resonate most with our users and help us get to product market fit. In order to get to product market fit, we may have to do things that don’t scale and prepare to make pivots.”
If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”Henry Ford
3. User-Centered Design
“There’s a quote I’ve heard time and time again from Henry Ford about users wanting faster horses. Yes, users may not be able to articulate exactly what they want, but what I think gets missed in this quote is that the users are telling us that they want something faster. How we then interpret that into a solution is certainly where we can use our expertise to say, ‘Should we just make something go faster, or should we do something else that gets at this pain, this need to go faster.’”
Five Must-Have Tech Tools
“I’ve been using Miro even before we moved into a virtual world. I’m a visual post-it kind of girl, so I’ve always needed something that I could drop post-it notes in.”
“As a researcher this has helped me for ad hoc and recruiting in customer pools. I love how it manages my calendar and how it’s self-serve so I have more control over how I want it to automate calendar invites and interview confirmations.”
“Zapier allows me to build automation and connections between other SaaS tools. I can create a Zap between the Airtable and Slack, or Slack and Calendly, etc. I can focus less on the administrative tasks and more on other tasks I need to do as a researcher.”
“To me, Zoom does a good job of democratizing its platform so you don’t have to be behind a firewall for us to connect. It’s easily accessible, easy to set up and easy to get a session started.”
“I’ve heard that Slack could be the email killer, but it didn’t get to me until I started working with my team at Three Five Two. It’s significantly easier to find messages and archives.”
Two Tools that Impact personal life
“Although I primarily use Apple Podcasts and Spotify, I love any platform where I can listen to additional perspectives on the spaces that we work in innovation. I’m hearing from other entrepreneurs, those in startup spaces, those who have had failures, and those who have had incredible success. I like to consume that content, but I’m not always in a space where I can stop and pick up a book, so podcasts make that information a lot more accessible. My favorite Podcasts are “Master of Scale” with Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, and “How I Built This” with Guy Raz on NPR.”
“My team and I look at our business as a model, but not the model. We build out multiple lean startup canvases with the idea that we’re testing each of those until we find the one that gets us closest to product-market fit. That mindset helps us practice intentional adaptability both inside and outside of the workplace.”
Shara and her teams are working with business leaders, day in and day out, to create change that matters. If you’d like to speak with us about a product or venture you’re working on, drop us a line today!