Former Community Engagement Director, Jake Rhodes, is Taking the Reigns as the New President
UX Research and Strategy started out as a crazy idea. Jen was attending design meetups in the local Dallas, Texas area, when people would comment to her, “I would love to have meetups cover topics like UX research: interviewing participants, creating journey maps and personas, knowing which research method to use when. That sort of thing....” That was the early spark that inspired the co-founders of UX Research and Strategy to form this group over 4 years ago.
A lot of growth has happened since that local meetup group had its first meeting in May 2019. Mainly, the pandemic hit. Pow! All events went online immediately and UXRS became the global community you are part of today. Not only did our events go online, we popped up all over social media too, offering educational tidbits and a community to meet other friendly UX folks. UXRS likes to shake things up. Jen never would have guessed that UX Research and Strategy exploded into what it is today. And it’s still growing and packing a positive punch in the UX world.
And we are shaking things up again here at UXRS. It’s how we roll. We are excited to let you know we have a new president taking the reins for UXRS, Jake Rhodes. Don’t worry, Jen is not going anywhere. She is still going to be heavily involved in the group, planning fantastic events to bring the UX community together in 2024. Jen is extremely excited to see the next phase of UXRS develop. We hope that you will support all of the changes and growth as well.
Here’s a little more about Jake Rhodes, the incoming UXRS president:
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Jake Rhodes, the former Community Engagement Director for UXRS. By day, I’m a UX Researcher for Microsoft’s developer division. I’ve worked in program management or UX roles since 2007 for products ranging from Bing Search Ads, Windows content experiences, and developer tools. I’m more passionate about people than technology, but I get energized by the merging of science, technology, and creativity in human centered design. These days, my customers are mostly software developers and I get to see first hand the challenges and rewards of making products that fuel the modern information economy. I feel lucky to be doing this work and living in this era.
2. What attracted you to get involved with UXRS?
Like many researchers in our community, I discovered UXRS during the pandemic while looking for ways to adapt contextual inquiry to remote research methods. I attended my first UXRS event and discovered a community that felt like a welcoming home for established practitioners and new URs entering the field. I was hooked. Since joining the board last year, I’ve been inspired by the passion and energy of the founders and the volunteer board and committee members who make our monthly events happen.
3. What was your favorite thing about UXRS and why?
It's the diversity of the community that I love. It’s easy to get into an echo chamber in your organization but in UXRS, there’s a range of practitioners that come from different industries, occupational backgrounds, methodological philosophies, who you can connect with and grow. It’s a great place to ask questions, connect with new people, and learn. In addition to the practical news of networking and career building, there’s an underlying respect for the kind of work we’re doing that seems to bind folks in the group together which is really rewarding.
4. What would you like to see in UXRS's future?
UXRS has a mission to help grow the UXR community through education and networking events. The founders have done a remarkable job of establishing this community and I’m humbled by the responsibility to help keep this group moving forward. My goal is to preserve and advance that core goal of helping our membership learn and connect with each other. Looking forward, I also hope to work with the board to adapt our organization to new challenges on the horizon. The online community that most of us know as UXRS formed during the pandemic, during economic conditions that are shifting rapidly. Organizations that hire researchers are changing and the technologies, methods, and demands on the UXR practitioner are likely to shift in response. My vision is that UXRS can be a hub of growth and adaptation to these changes -whatever they may be.
UX Research and Strategy
We are here to serve the UX community: keep you in the know, connected to each other and always learning.