Digital marketing

What is a User Experience (UX)?

07 June, 2021

Lauren Solomon – User Experience (UX) Designer at PayPal, CEO and Founder of VoxPopin. VoxPopin is bringing order to the disorder of social media.

Quite often you can hear the following questions:

  • What is user experience?
  • What is user experience design?
  • What is a user experience designer?
  • What does a user experience designer do?
  • How to become a user experience researcher?
  • Which is an example of an unnecessary resource negatively impacting the user experience?
  • What is a user experience researcher?
  • How to become a user experience designer?
  • Why is user experience important?

Lauren will answer other questions, you can watch the video or read the transcript of this video. Enjoy your viewing 🙂

From this video you’ll learn that

  • If you are a user experience (UX) designer, you have to be adaptable
  • We are responsible for information we share in social media
  • At the pandemic time the online sphere should be more protected
  • The mental health of users should be the top priority
  • It is recommended to share your design projects with the older relatives

What is your personality, and what are your hobbies?

Sophia:
Well, hi guys, welcome to our channel, and thank you so much for being here and watching our next video with a great speaker. Today we have Lauren, who is the User Experience Designer at PayPal and the founder of VoxPopin. And Lauren, we’re thrilled to see you here today. And maybe let’s first start with just sharing more about who you are? What is your personality, and what are your hobbies are?

Lauren: :
Well, it’s so lovely to be here. I’m excited about this. Erm, my personality, and I think that everyone would say it’s a lot. It’s a big personality. I’ve spent most of my life traveling and exploring and trying to learn new things and problem-solving. That’s kind of what led me to my field of work.
The most exciting thing I think you could probably say about me is that I used to teach with the circus; I was a school teacher there. And the experiences that I had, trying to teach while sharing a classroom with lions and clowns and, at one point, a pig. So it’s given me much practice in using my big personality not to be intimidated in big rooms, I should say.

Sophia:
Wow.

Lauren:
Oh, yeah, there are many fun things about me that I’ve had a pleasant and fun life with so far.

Sophia:
Teaching sounds so good. When I was a kid, my teacher told me that you could learn well like you can learn properly when you have a good teacher.
So, I bet some so many students thank you for a good knowledge of everything you shared with them.

Lauren:
Oh, I hope so. I hope so. I look back, and I’m like, oh gosh, was I even an excellent teacher. I taught with gusto; whether I was training with effectiveness is yet to be determined. But I did teach with a lot of passion and much love, and I still love many of my students.

What is your professional background?

Sophia:
That’s very nice. Okay, well, what about your professional background? Because soon we’re going to speak more about PayPal and VoxPopin, but what, how did you find yourself may be moving from the teaching experience to other fields?

Lauren:
I wondered, in Barnum and Bailey, and we were traveling on the circus train through the United States, and we stopped at Washington DC. And I had this notebook that I would fill with ideas about apps I’d like to make and websites that can make a difference, and you name it, I had a solution for it, constantly problem-solving. And I showed this to a clown, as one does. So he said I pitched him the idea of VoxPopin. And he said, well, what are you going to do about it? And I said, oh nothing, I already have a Master’s degree, and I can’t afford any more education. Because here in America, it’s like, you have to give up some kidneys to afford education.
And I was like, no; I can’t, I ran out of kidneys. I can’t go into school and get more education. And he told me, well, if you are not going to do anything with your ideas, you should stop having them. And it’s nothing like the words of a clown to put you in your place.
And so, while I was in DC, I looked up boot camps for how to learn what I needed to learn to make these things happen. And that’s when I stumbled upon General Assembly, which I highly recommend to anyone who’s thinking about entering the field. It was, it’s a fabulous program. So, when the circus closed, I moved to DC, started General Assembly, and my career just soared after that.
So, I remember on my first day of work as a user experience designer, on, in the office, they had like a sign that said ‘The Idea Factory’ or something like that. And I just wept in the elevator because I just thought someone cares about my ideas. I’m finally in the right place. Oh, I just can’t tell you how relieving it was to be in the right place and know that you had found your people. And that’s how I felt getting into this profession. It’s fantastic, and I highly recommend it to anyone.

When you are in a team, is it you who generates ideas?

Sophia:
Wow. Well, you said about ideas. So, you like you generate ideas. Would you say that you would be the one who is developing when you are on a team with people, and then you would have those who would be executing your ideas? Is that like that?

Lauren:
Oh, my goodness, I’d love to get to that. I am the idea generator, machine, and the assembler, and the one who’s pitching like, hey, don’t you like this idea?
No, I do have a great team that’s been helping me along the way. But yeah, I’d like to get to the point where I can lay like, let it go. But for VoxPopin, for instance, I’ve designed every single page of it. And did all the branding for it, but I think it comes with part of the job. When you’re a user experience designer, you feel so large. How is this affecting the users? How is this affecting the company? How is this affecting, you know, A, B, and C?
And you work it out. So, it is a very well-rounded full functioning position that we have to have where we’re taking designs, and we see the total breadth and impact of everything we do. So, I think it’s straightforward to get caught up in doing it all yourself sometimes.

Sophia:
Oh, yeah, yeah. Especially when you have the idea, and that’s, it looks all perfectly in your head. And then you have to transmit it to other people, which is problematic. But yeah, yeah, of course.

Lauren:
With PayPal, for instance, though, they have a great team of researchers and UI designers. So, it’s much easier to hand off ideas. But, but yeah, I can do better about that, my team.

How did you find working in PayPal?

Sophia:
Well, if we already started speaking about PayPal, maybe you can share a little bit more. How did you find yourself working there? Because for me, PayPal, honestly, I heard first about this service while I was in the US. And I was like, how? You can send money like this! And for me, that was so shocking. I was like 15 years old. And now we don’t have PayPal in Ukraine, and we still don’t have it. And I miss it so much.
So, this topic is a little bit close to me because, like, can we have PayPal in Ukraine? So how did you find yourself working for this company?

Lauren:
First off, I’ll put it in a good word for Ukraine when I talked to the big boys. No, I never speak to the big boys. If I did, I will stand up for Ukraine and be like, why are we leaving them out? That’s ridiculous. I will; I’ll make it my vendetta here.

Sophia:
Okay

Lauren:
So, I think my story with PayPal will be similar to a lot of people’s stories. I was working at Marriott and loving it. I cannot say enough good things about Marriott; if you ever get a chance to work with them, do it. I worked there, The Global Headquarters, and they had a daycare, and they had a whole room that was just for women who were pregnant where they could go and take a nap and get a massage, and the cafeterias. And I just was, I’d see people like treating their kids in between meetings like it was just excellent company. So, I think that if you look at good company culture, they were fabulous.
Anyway, loving that. But then the world shut down, and the global pandemic happened. And they went from, you know, having, you know, booked out every day to no one’s moving, no one’s leaving theirs at home. And it was so different. And so, my contract with them ended because of the pandemic. But luckily, someone from an overseas agency reached out to me and said, you know, would you like to work for PayPal?
Now, I thought it was a scam until literally like a week into me working with PayPal. I cos, I was like, sure I like to work with PayPal. They’re like, okay, great. Well, yeah, any day now. And even as I was getting, you know, paperwork in, I still didn’t believe that it was going to happen. Because I love PayPal, I loved the, I have so many ideas, you know, outside of VoxPopin that are focused on finance, and I think they’re doing great things to help our nation through the pandemic.
And so, when I did start, I was, I was shocked. I was like, you all think I’m good enough, you want me on your team? Okay. Okay, I guess I’ll do that for you.
Yeah, in this field, especially as user experience designers, you have to jump all the time, you’re jumping from place to place, you have to be on your feet, you have to be nimble, and you have to be adaptable. And so, even because you just never know when these kinds of things will fall into your lap.

Sophia:
Wow. Wow, that sounds so interesting. Like, I bet you have so many stories to share from, from like, each day of working there. But yeah, working for companies like this give you something, and it’s not only about the professional background, but something like being a part of the team and seeing so much from the insights. Wow!

Lauren:
Well, well, and I lucked out because Marriott, as I said, has such a great company culture. And then I went to PayPal, and they’re constantly saying things like, do we need to take a wellness day? I think we do. Let’s, let’s just everyone take off Friday. Don’t push yourself too hard.
Do we have too many meetings? I think we have too many meetings. So let’s all try to cut back on our discussions. And I have a fabulous boss right now who’s Canadian, and I just feel like everyone deserves a Canadian boss. Like, they’re just the best people in the whole world. So yeah, I can’t say enough good things about PayPal as well.

Sophia:
Okay, maybe then one day for Ukraine, you might share some ideas.

Lauren:
I’m going to send, I going to let them know the people of Ukraine are hungry. They are hungry for this. Give it to them.

What can you share about VoxPopin?

Sophia:
Yeah. Well, well, PayPal, that’s good. But I believe that it will be interesting to learn more about VoxPopin because it seems to be like your cage because of your inputs. So with the ideas like how, I don’t know, like what, what first comes to your mind when users ask you, hey, can you share something about VoxPopin? What is it that you want to share?

Lauren:
Yeah, it is a social media app that will connect people to those who can instrument change. So, whether that is politicians or business leaders, and I’m excited about it, because social media is just, I don’t know, I don’t know if I’m allowed to use this word. But it’s, you know, a – show, fill in the blank. Because it’s all about feeding the monster, right? Getting you more addicted, getting you purchasing things more. And it’s not at all impacting change the way that it could.
And so, what VoxPopin does is we’re trying to harness the voices of the people and get those voices to those who can instrument real change and have real accountability behind it. So yeah, I’m super proud of what we’ve put together. And we’re preparing to launch our alpha, and I’m just, I’m just so excited about it, I’m excited about it.
I think that it can be a catalyst for positive interactions in politics again, I guess. That’s the dream. That’s the dream where the people can have a voice in politics againtroubled instead of taking to the streets to do it. I mean, it’s I don’t know if you’re following what’s happening in America or not, but it is. I’m living in DC, so it’s right outside of our front door, all of the chaos that’s happening. So, this is our attempt at trying to add some peace into the world.

Protection from misinformation online

Sophia:
Which is a hard thing to do. But of course, it’s so important, especially right now; I’m doing some classes online for fact-checking, fact-checking. And there are some cases, especially from the US from the recent events, and I’m like following that news. But, oh, my gosh, that’s so hard to stop this social media from sharing the information, the misinformation, misleading information. But the idea is that we are the ones which are, who are using social media. So, we are the ones who are sharing all of that information.
So, if, with your, with your pitch about this VoxPopin platform, I haven’t liked, seen it yet, I don’t know how exactly it’s going to work. But now it sounds so good because, especially in the epidemic times when we can’t connect offline, online needs to be more protected. Yeah.

Lauren:
Well, and what we’re trying to do is, is you’re correct. The amount of misinformation that’s heading towards people or users is confusing. And it’s causing dangerous divisions between people, especially how they do algorithms and intentionally keeping people apart. And what we’re trying to do is flip that on its head and give the people’s voice to the politicians. I think that they’ve done it, they’ve talked to us plenty, it’s time for them to listen. And our algorithms are mainly done to allow people who might not necessarily agree to interact a little bit more instead of keeping everyone apart.
So, I’m excited about it. Hopefully, in like a few years, we’ll meet up again, and you’ll say remember when I interviewed you, and no one knew what VoxPopin was. And now it’s the reason we have world peace.

Sophia:
But it would be so good.

Lauren:
It probably won’t happen that way but, but it would be great if that were at least, yeah, even if it just writes it a little bit more peace than what we have, I’d be happy with that.

The process of creating a team

Sophia:
It’s all the time, you know, when you want to achieve something, you still need to enjoy the process. And it seems like you are enjoying the operation of this creation with your team, and that’s the most important thing right now. Yeah.

Lauren:
Yeah, absolutely. I just have; my team is all women as well. And that has been so wonderful. I can’t tell you how many of my interns have told me, ‘Thank you for bringing me on, and thank you for giving me legitimate work.’
One of my interns said she tried to, you know, get with another company. And they said, oh, well, since we’re remote, we don’t have any coffees for you to contact for us. So, we don’t have anything for you to do. And she was distraught that she wouldn’t be able to find any sort of internship.
So, I love that I just keep collecting these wonderful, miraculously intelligent, powerful women who would have been underestimated at any place else. And like, yes, come to VoxPopin, we shall take you all. My co-founders often like, don’t we need more men? What of the men having trouble finding work? Come on, like, ladies. There’s nothing wrong with that. We’ll get men eventually. But, but yeah, I’m all about empowering women who might not have the chance otherwise so.

Myth of beautiness

Sophia:
It’s so amazing. I’m just; I’m just recollected. I’m reading the book by Naomi Wolf. She has a book called Myth about Beauty, as well, the idea is how it’s hard for women when they are considered too old, or not that beautiful, to find a job, and that becomes so, so bad. And mostly what I’m sad about is that all this is all the statistics in this book is mainly about the US society, and which is unfortunate, because at the same time you want to see this, you know, like more opportunities. That’s what we think when we think about the US. So maybe that’s going to be changing.
And especially with the platforms with the, with the projects that you create, and you like, collect all these beautiful, talented women. So that’s, that’s a great thing.

Lauren:
Oh, I’m so excited about it. I’m glad about it. And it’s amazing the power a woman can have when you get out of her way and let her work.

Sophia:
Yeah, that’s it.

Lauren:
I’ve talked to some of my interns before and then like, so what have you been up to this week? Oh, well, I just put together this promo video in case you asked for it. In case I asked for it? This is beautiful!
Just let them work, just let them be, let them show you what they can do, and you will be impressed. I can’t say every time, of course, there are the outliers, and then, you know, everyone says, well, that one lady. But just let them work. Let them be in a space where they can grow and thrive. Even that one lady, let her work, let’s see what she can do. Anyway, I’m sorry. It’s a soapbox that I can; I will die standing on.

Sophia:
That’s amazing. That’s what the power of sharing ideas can motivate other people to create or come up with ideas. So, thank you for being so enthusiastic.

Lauren:
Yes, well, and it’s when I told you the Idea Factory, like why I cried when people would listen to me. So much of that was because I was raised in an environment where women were asked for ideas or ask solutions. And, and, you know, I luckily had a mighty family. My family was always like; you can do it, do whatever you want, and build whatever you want. But those outside influences had an impact on me.
And so, I don’t want any other woman ever to feel that way. I want her to feel like her ideas are so valid, and it has nothing to do with her gender, right? So, just say what your ideas are; your brain is a powerful thing. So, to give it to me, tell me what you want, tell me what you want to do. I’m sorry, I will cut myself off.

Sophia:
Okay, cool. Well, with your experience in the user experience field.

Lauren:
Yes.

How would you formulate what is user experience design

Sophia:
I’ve heard it’s like this phrase that the like, the harder the thing, like, or the more complex the thing is, the like, try to explain that to someone in the easiest way possible. So, the depth, the most crucial idea, comes to the person. So, if you were asked to explain your user experience design, how would you formulate that?

Lauren:
Well, I would say that user experience design is anything that you would interact with. And so, many people will say, Oh, well, do you do logos? Do you do graphics? Like no, you’re not interacting with that, are you? You’re interacting with an app. So, if you’re interacting with a website, any sort of, you know, screen, and you’re interacting with it, that is user experience design. And it’s the most straightforward way I can explain it to people.

Sophia:
That sounds good. That sounds good. I know. I know, now I understand what user experience design is.

Lauren:
There you go.

How would you explain what is user experience (UX) design in terms of involvement in social media?

Sophia:
Yeah. Okay. And if you had to also explain the user experience design in terms of its involvement in social media, you’ve worked, especially with social media, right? So…

Lauren:
Yes

Sophia:
Yeah, sure about that

Lauren:
So, the user experience design in social media has, and I can’t speak for, the entire industry. However, I have seen that the user experience ikeeps people on the app, keeps people addicted, and keeps people interacting with advertisements.
And user experience design is something that you need to practice with some honor system because it’s straightforward. When we start to learn things, we begin using these strategies to keep people invested, to keep people or users looking, you know, to track where their eye movements are, where they are on the page. You can use that to the detriment of the user and for the betterment of the company.
And so, I feel like social media especially can be true in some instances. And so, what we’re trying to do at VoxPopin is, we took apart every single feature of social media and said, is this how this is done? Is it benefiting the user? And if it wasn’t, we got rid of it.
So for instance, we saw that a lot of, we will, we did how we do comment because there was so much hate, and bullying, and just floods of these trolls which is a horrible word, they should be something much viler because trolls, trolls are kind of cute, and they’re in Norway or whatever. But no, like these, these, these horrible people are posting awful things, and it’s very much so affecting people’s mental health.
And so, we’ve got rid of how we do comment, we’ve gotten rid of that. And we have what we call swapping ideas, where you have to do a video form of commenting where you and then you send that off to the user, and then they can approve it or reject it.
And so, we’re one, teaching people to put their face behind what they’re saying, and two, we’re trying to teach something called consent. Like, you have to have the person approve or disapprove of that before interacting with them, which is terrific. I, we rethought all of this right; we rethought how people are interacting with each other. How are they learning about each other as well? We look at the algorithms and how they keep people apart, keeping people or users feeling into their own confirmation biases.
So, they say, oh, everyone believes what I believe because that’s all they’re being seen. And so, they get deeper and deeper and deeper into, they’re wrong, and we’re right. So, we’re trying to get people who disagree about 20% of the time to see each other for our algorithm. We’re not talking about extremes here. We don’t want a bloodbath, but just this little middle ground, right?
For example, you know that you could have a very religious mother but also has an LGBT child and thinks, why does part that I am a part of feeling the need to say bad things about LGBT people, my daughter is wonderful. But I still want to protect religious rights. So there are all of these complexities about people, and they want us to believe that we fit into two categories, and that’s just not the case.
So, we want to highlight this middle ground that people can have and rebuild it again because social media has completely demolished it.

Sophia:
Evolve this new format of commenting, that some of commenting that’s something so like crazy, I mean, in terms I’ve never thought about that.
But honestly, when you do something anonymously, it kind of gets some parts of responsibility from you because no one is going to see you, but when you like in this way, like showing your face, it makes you more responsible for what you say and how you say, well, that’s so interesting.
And I believe the number of comments will also decrease because no, no, not everyone would like to post a video, so you also kind of like to regulate the number of those comments online.

Lauren:
And that’s everything, everything we did, we just thought, what is the best for the mental health of our user? And I don’t know if anyone’s thinking about that. But we try. And I’ve told my interns, I’ve told everyone, you must always think about the mental health of our users first; that is an absolute top priority at all times.
And so, we’ve approached the user experience design for that, with that one main goal of making it a healthy experience.

Did you have any other ideas for making commenting better?

Sophia:
But before we came up with this idea of having the videos by posting and then checking whether they are accepted or not. What other ideas were because, did you have any other ideas for making those everyday things better?

Lauren:
Oh, yes. Yes. What an excellent question? Let me pull up my binder.

Sophia:
And it’s going to be like a massive suitcase of

Lauren:
There’s a mood board, and oh, yeah. Well, we make it sound elementary, right? Because that’s what design is. This is the problem; this is the solution, and we just came up with it magically.
Um, you know, many of it was seeing what other social media platforms are trying to do with commenting, right? So there’s a lot where we thought that the more likes that something got should be higher and the ones that, you know, dislike, it’d be lower, kind of like reading it. So we explored that option; we’ve explored only people that your friends can comment on; we’ve explored all sorts of different things.
But at the end of the day, the thing I just kept coming to is that it’s easier to post hateful things when your face is not on it. And we have a society where that’s now perfectly acceptable. And I felt almost like a mom when I’m not a mother. But I did feel like a mom when I was designing this. And I thought, or even like a teacher, like, no, I’m sorry, you’ve lost your commenting rights, you have not been pleasant. You have not been nice; you’re not going to be commenting for a little bit.

Sophia:
Think about your behavior.

Lauren:
Yeah, you need to think about what you say to people, mainly because this app can be heavily focused on politics; I don’t say it’s only focused on politics; it’s not the case. It could be business leaders; it could be other people too. But because there will be a heavy political influence in the app, this could have easily turned into a bloodbath. And I don’t want that; I do not want that. I want people to be able to talk about these things healthily. So that is my top priority.
So, and also, because we as a society have this issue about consenting to an experience, right? I wanted them to have an option to approve or disapprove someone’s idea or, you know, when they send them a video and say, oh, this is what I think about what you’ve just said, I wanted them to be able to have that buffer.
Because part of the trauma I think about social media right now is that you can say your 16-year-old girl, you can post something, go to sleep, wake up in the morning, and the world has discussed what you said. And everyone has posted, you know, they could be posting very mean horrible things about you, and you know that everyone has seen it. And that’s part of the trauma, right? Is not feeling like you have any say in that, and now your words have been taken from you and been mulled over, and you’ve been spitting out alive. So that’s what I wanted to avoid, and so we have this, I call it swapping of ideas.
So, people can go back and forth once it’s been approved and, and they can discuss these ideas. And then afterward, you rate users on three fundamental things; was there hate speech, was there personal attacks, were there any threats made? That’s the only thing you, you view the person on.
So, even when a swap request comes in, you can see their percentage of how often they break those three rules. And it is very, very simple. Don’t do those three things, don’t, don’t use hate speech, don’t call anybody those kinds of names; no one needs that. Don’t attack a person, don’t threaten a person. That’s it. That’s all we require at VoxPopin, just don’t do those three things.
So yeah, the teacher and we did step in, and I was like, we’re done, we’re done with that. Huh? No, no, no, no. But they want to make mean comments go somewhere else.

Sophia:
You know what I’m like listening to you. And it fascinates me because I thought that we would be speaking about user experience design in terms of where it should be. Like this design is better, that design is better. This journey is pleasant; this journey is good. But now what I’m listening to is like, a lot deeper things that you have to think about, and we even took the topic of mental health. I don’t know if many users think about user experience design and mental health being connected, but it is.
And I just recollect my friend; she’s the blogger on YouTube. And I could never understand what it means to be hated online. And when I could see her reading, the commenting, and like she would be crying, I was what’s happening? And it affects users very hard. And then what she told me is that sometimes she would be receiving good comments, sometimes she would be receiving nasty words.
And so, to save herself from those emotional, wrong states, she decided not to pay attention to any of them, which is also not a good solution, right? Because you want to receive some support from people. But that’s when it comes to having this good environment on social media and understanding how you access and can be the tool for you to create this environment. And what you’re saying sounds so cool, like I see this, your brains on your team working on accepting, is this good? Is this bad?
And you also have the psychological team, right? Because like when you have to understand what motivates people to write this on that thing, you have to analyze it deeply.

Lauren:
Absolutely. And when it comes to giving good feedback, that’s part of the heart of what VoxPopin is. So how we separate commenting, or videos or posts out is by geographical location.
So, you can say, for instance, we need a stoplight here in front of the school; my kids are trying to cross the street every day. And it’s like they’re trying to dodge cars, and people are going too fast, whatever it is. You can make a video about that and post it to your local Mayor. And everyone who is in your area that also is being represented by that local Mayor has the option to vote up and down on it. If it reaches over 20% of active users, it gets posted to your Mayor’s profile. And she can respond accordingly.
And this process of letting people in your area know about something and then actually getting it to the person who can make a change is where I see the political side of this thriving. Because like what your friend says, you receive so much hate that you don’t read anything.
I look at these politicians; I look at these politicians’ profiles and their comments; it is pure hate; there is so much hate that they aren’t listening to the people’s voice anymore. Because I would imagine many of them aren’t even people in their voting districts, it’s just so much hate.
So, what we’re trying to do, and really, is just to pull out the best, pull out the commenting that does represent the people’s voice, and then hold the politicians accountable for responding to the people. And this is something that has never happened before in social media, where they’re saying the collective voice feels this way; how can you respond to them?
And you know, and in our users will see if these politicians are not responding. And that also gives them an indication like, hey, do we want to continue to vote for someone who doesn’t respond to the people?
So, you know, we’re just trying to save democracy single-handedly. That’s what we’re trying to do here.

How to eliminate fake ideas?

Sophia:
This is a task on our daily schedule. But you know what I hear from this speech is also you creating this space for communication, but you also give the feeling to people that what they do is have some impact on the regulators. And that’s what I heard today that why people believe so much in different theories, like these conspiracy theories.
And one extensive explanation is that when you can’t impact your life when you can’t affect what’s going on around you, you start thinking that it’s not you who takes responsibility, but something or someone else out there.
So, to eliminate these fake ideas in the world, the first thing to give is to provide power to people or users, and what I hear from your platform is that’s going to happen. Amazing.

Lauren:
Absolutely. Well, it all started because I had gone through something myself, rather unimaginable. Something that you hope would never happen to you in your life. And I went from this beautiful, thriving individual to ultimately self-destructive because I felt I had lost my power. Power was gone, and I didn’t know what to do except to destroy because I, you know I didn’t know what to do.
When I finally realized I needed to re-harness my power, re-harness my creative control, that’s when VoxPopin came about. I kept thinking of, I kept thinking, the problem is that I’ve lost control, I’ve lost control. So I will just keep going in my head; I’ve lost control, I’ve lost control. And then I thought, I just need to come up with a solution where I regain control, where I recovered my voice and regained my power. And that’s when I came up with VoxPopin.
And so, when I saw what was happening in my country, I saw the destruction that we were doing to ourselves, the violence, and the hate. I recognize that I recognize that. It was so crystal clear to me; this is a symptom of feeling powerless. I know that problem, I see the solution, I know it. We need to give the voice back to the people; we need to stop, explain, stop this flow out of stuff on top of the people. Let the people speak. And they don’t feel like they can, so they take to the streets. And it is the year, what year is it, 2021?

Sophia:
It is

Lauren:
It’s already 2040 for me. But, you know, we need to have a better solution than having to take to the streets to get the attention of our politicians. And that’s really what I’m trying to do. I know the problem; I found the solution. I want to give this to the people, and I think we could have more peaceful, productive conversations.

Why bad user experience or conditions are useful

Sophia:
But how amazing it is that sometimes we fall under some nasty conditions, and at the same time, the beauty of this is that you, like these bad things, bring you ideas on how you can solve it. And then you can share this idea with the rest of the world. And that’s the beauty even of bad experiences.

Lauren:
Oh, yeah, I can’t remember the woman who, the comedian who did the Hannah, the comedy show on Netflix, but she said nothing more potent than a broken woman who rebuilt herself.

Sophia:
Whoo Yeah.

Lauren:
I, I turn trauma into comments every day, every day, we’re adding those comments. No, not yet. In the year 2040, I have.
No! But, but that’s, again, the power of a woman, right? So let her do her work. And that’s what I’ve learned from this experience is you have to take the things that have hurt you and use them against them.
Use that power and build it for yourself. It’s anyway, that’s a whole conversation I can have another time. But it says

Sophia:
An inspirational speech, and that’s amazing.

Lauren:
It’s, it’s something I know all of us girls can relate to some degree.

What could you recommend startups in terms of user experience design

Sophia:
Yeah, we can. Well, okay, if let’s maybe give some recommendations, especially if I understand that correctly. So VoxPopin well starts, right. So, you are in this process of building yourself.
So, what would you recommend to other startups who are concerned about their user experience design? What should they do to make sure that their user experience design is good?

Lauren:
Oh, yes. What a great question. Um, first off, I think, when I recently got done with an accelerator for Microsoft, for startups specifically for female founders. The female founders’ women teamed up and put it on, and this was the first time they had done this accelerator for female founders.
And I got in, and I was so, so pleased, and I can’t say enough good things about it. But what I saw consistently through the different other startups or the other startup founders is that they had these great ideas and didn’t know how to execute them.
So, I recommend to everyone who is a brand new starting who’s into startups, learn Figma. It’s effortless. It’s very user-friendly. And there’s also a website called “Envato,” e-n-v-a-to. And you can download templates to put into Figma, and then you can change it according to what you want to do. So, I recommend those two things first and foremost because many startups have user experience design ideas, and they don’t know how to execute them. So those are the first two things I highly recommend to everyone.
And then second is to have your grandma or your mom try to interact with your designs or explain them to your grandma. Oh, the grandma test works every time. Yes, I wanted to get them to work within your plan or to have them explain back to you what you have said or what you’ve shown. Everyone will say, oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, I get it. I get it. Oh, what a good idea. Lauren, you’re so intelligent. You’re just so cool.
And then you say, okay, well, can you, what did I just say? Well, you are going places, you know, like, they have no idea that you’ve just said or explained or designed out.
So, those are my three tops, you know, things figured out Figma, Figma or Envato and then tell your grandma, or any older adult, you know, they, they’re great.

Sophia:
That sounds so amazing. And it just recollected how, my grandma, she always asks me, what do you do in this, on this laptop? Because, you know, she used to work at the factory, that’s work. What I do online is like, it’s not working. So, she asked me, what did you have this laptop? And I explained, she’s like, okay, and she didn’t get it.
So, I thought, how do I explain that? And I told her, Grandma, you know how you go to the garden and then you like, start digging the holes to plant the flowers? And she’s like, yeah, so this kind of the same to what I do but online. So, I started building these links, and she got it. So, your advice on exposure, finding the way to explain that to older people, it’s a great thing.

Lauren:
Oh, yeah, well, that’s what’s fascinating about user experience design in general, is that I, when I was in school, this did not exist, this field is so brand new, we are so new to this. And it’s funny because you don’t think you are at the beginning of something like, I’m sure, that people in the Gold Rush didn’t know they were in the Gold Rush or the industrial revolutions didn’t realize that.
And we have an opportunity to define what it is to be a user experience designer. And so, do it well, and do it nice and do it with old people in mind too, they’re people or users too, they’re users too.

What books would you recommend?

Sophia:
That’s so good. Well, okay, and maybe we always ask for some good recommendations for books, because we all spend so much time online, but sometimes, you know, it’s good to take your book and just to relax.
So, what would you recommend? And maybe there’s something you read you’re reading right now, and you can share with our audience.

Lauren:
Yeah, honey, I have a library in my bathroom.

Sophia:
And now this massive case.

Lauren:
All of my books are covered in water. But it’s because every single night like that’s how I have to relax; I’m also scared of relaxing without reading a business book. So, yeah, I’m always afraid that if I stopped reading, I would stop learning, and then I’ll stop being, you know, productive.
So, there are some that I would highly recommend “The Innovation Stack.” Yes, yes, yes. Fabulous book. Let me see what The Innovation Stack is written by, Jim somebody, huh, Jim McCelvey.

Sophia:
Okay, I just found it.

Lauren:
He is the, he’s just the CEO founder, or the former CEO and founder, I believe, of the square. Little square thing that you slide your little thing through. And it’s great for me; I needed permission from him too, he is saying, take what people have done before, and that can be your base; you don’t have to re-innovate everything. But you can change one thing. And then as after you’ve changed that one thing, think what else needs to be changed if anything needs to be changed? And then that’s the next step of your innovation stack.
So, it was beneficial because when I first took out, started on this journey of redoing and reimagining social media, I was like, oh no, I have to redo everything. And he was great at, like, give yourself a baseline and then stack it up.
And then the second book I also highly recommend is “How I Built This” with Guy Raz.

Sophia:
Oh, yeah.

Lauren:
Oh my gosh, oh, it’s so good. I read it in two days. I just was like, flipping through every page like, I am such a fan of learning from other people’s mistakes. Oh my gosh, I love it. I love talking to people or users who have made many errors. So I’m like, yes, give me all that knowledge. I don’t want ever to make the same mistake you did.
And so, it’s great. It’s a beautiful book that I highly recommend to anyone who wants to get into startups. And then also for The Innovation Stack is more for user experience design. Even though it’s not meant explicitly for user experience designers, I think; The Innovation Stack idea is always good for us because we typically jump into a new design and then want to redo everything, just to be different.

Sophia:
Well, thank you so much. I believe that as soon as I finish this book, I’m going to start with this, with the books that you have recommended.

Lauren:
They’re both delicious.

Sophia:
They’re both delicious. But I sometimes try to read-only business-related but more like life concerned, life-related. Because sometimes when you get too much into business books, you just start being too, too motivated and too energetic and still, you need to take some, some pause for yourself as well.

Lauren:
Oh, yeah, oh yeah, I’ve forced myself to listen to some fiction books recently; I listened to “The Invisible Life of Addy Larue.” And as I was like, walking through the forest, there’s like a park nearby, I was walking through the woods, and I was finishing that book. And I just thought, I’ve done everything wrong. I shouldn’t be in business; I should be an authentic writer. And I got my master’s in creative writing.
So, I think, but I just was like, no, I must give up business and become a writer. That lasted for about three seconds, and I was like, naa, I think I’ll probably stick to what I’m doing. But it is good to step away from it for a little bit.

Sophia:
But that it would be so lovely to have some book written by you in the future. So maybe, yeah, don’t, don’t quit this idea. But, you know, everything can happen.

Lauren:
I’ve done a lot in the year 2040. I’ve written books, and I’ve made my billions, and you know, just like you and me, the next time we speak that’ll, that’ll better

Sophia:
Cool. Yes, absolutely. Lauren, thank you so, so much. This was, honestly, I was expecting that to be like, okay, let’s talk about user experience design. But this turned to be such an inspirational conversation.
Thank you so much for being so open, and from now I’m going to, where can I learn more about VoxPopin and so LinkedIn? Okay, where else is there any other?

Lauren:
Yeah, we have a website called VoxPopin.com.

Sophia:
Okay. Yeah.

Lauren:
And you can always e-mail me at [email protected] and its “VOXPOPIN,” VoxPopin. And we’re always so happy; I’m always so excited to talk to people or users. Just let me speak to you. You want, you want to give me some money, I will speak to you all day. You want to tour through the thing; I will show it to you and see the prototype. Yes, my branding on point. I will talk to anybody about this.
So, VoxPopin is also looking for social media influencers to join our alpha. And so, if you are at all savvy on social media and feel like you want to have some sort of voice on our platform, please let me know. Its [email protected]