Pamela Pavliscak is founder of Change Sciences, a user experience research and strategy firm for Fortune 500s, startups, and other smart companies like Ally, Audible, IEEE, KLM, NBC Universal, Prudential, VEVO, Virgin, Verizon, and Wiley.
She'll be speaking at Generate New York on 17 April 2015. We chat with her about her work, being a creative in New York and what she'll be talking about at Generate.
What have you been working on?
I'm a design researcher, so I'm typically observing how people use technology. It varies from client to client, but mobile is always in the mix. Lately, we've been looking bigger picture, combining ethnographic methods with more traditional UX research. Of course, it's hard to turn off my curiosity, so I always have my own projects going.
For the past year, I've been tracking people and their devices in public places. The results are fascinating – couples aged 50+ are often showing their screens to each other as a part of a conversation, people smile more when they use social media, and texting and walking is less of a thing now than it was just a year ago.
What's the web scene like where you live?
In NYC, where I'm based, there is so much going on. Every day it seems like a new meetup crops up. The intersection of UX and data science, in particular, is on my radar. The density of talented people is so astonishing that I always wish for more time to connect. So, if you run into me at Generate, it's guaranteed that I will want to chat and probably watch you with your phone!
What's the most inspiring thing you've seen recently?
Anything that connects people to each other or to a positive narrative, or both, intrigues me. DIY app, with it's combination of experiments, real-life stories, and sweet badges is my current obsession. I love it when data about people is visualized in new ways, too, so some of my all-time favorite projects are sites like SelfieCity and apps like Urban Observatory.
What are the tools, gadgets, apps and product that you just can't work without?
For client research projects,we are always experimenting. I like to keep things simple though. A lot of clunky gear gets in the way of a good conversation. I'm partial to the Hue HD flexible camera for mobile capture – it looks friendly (like a cartoon alien eyeball) and it's easy to alternate between desktop and mobile.
For my research projects, it's a Moleskine grid notebook, a Zebra pen, a phone for photos, a smart watch for quick notes, and small prizes like panda erasers or chocolates. I'm a collector of stories and pictures so Evernote is a must, and almost everything also ends up in Excel for categories and tallies.
What's your Generate talk going to be about?
As you might suspect, people use the sites and apps we create in unexpected ways. Icons we assume people understand, or interactions that seem obvious, often are not. So this talk rounds up all my mobile research to uncover how people really use mobile and what that means for designing the mobile experience. Lots of fun stories that add up to patterns we all can use.
Are there any Generate speakers you're particularly looking forward to seeing?
Netta Marshall's talk, Get Your Butt Out of Rut! How to Fight Creative Block and Stay Inspired, captured my attention. We all get really good at that thing we do, but then we get comfortable, and less apt to experiment. Selfishly, I'd love some strategies to stay creative in my approach.