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Interview with UX Expert Susan Weinschenk

05/01/2013

We’re so excited that Susan Weinschenk will be sharing her UX wisdom at our upcoming event, 31 Awesomely Practical UX Tips!

Register yourself—or your team&#8212for the May 29th day-long (10am-5pm ET) virtual conference. You’ll learn from and interact with UX experts you know and respect: Steve Krug, Luke Wroblewski, Susan Weinschenk, Aarron Walter, Jeffrey Eisenberg, and Whitney Quesenbery.

This week we pick Susan’s brain about what the heck neuropsychology has to do with UX and how she entered the field to begin with. Here’s what she had to say:

Rosenfeld Media: There don’t appear to be many neuropsychologists running around the world of UX. How did you find your way into this field?

Susan Weinschenk: I was in graduate school getting a Ph.D. in Psychology and took my first programming class. I became fascinated with the relationship between psychology and interaction design. This was quite a while ago, when only specialists and scientists even USED a computer. I realized that as computers became more ubiquitous there would be a clash between the “user’s” mental model of how to get something done and the “system’s” mental model.

Then I discovered that there was a field of study—human factors&#8212that specialized in this human/computer interaction and I was hooked! I was studying the brain at the time (left brain/right brain) and doing EEG studies (this was way before fMRI was available), so the neuropsychology applied to design was pretty much inevitable. I worked in usability and interaction design for many years, and then in the last 10 years I came back to my neuropsychology roots&#8212the research on brain function in the last 10-15 years has really grown, and I ended up kind of where I started!

RM: Are there other major branches of psychology that could be applied to UX in a useful way?

SW: Many specialties in psychology apply, and I use all of them&#8212cognitive psychology (memory, thinking), perceptual psychology (vision, hearing, tactile processing), personality, social… they all apply in my opinion and I use them all!

RM: Thanks, Susan!

There’s still time to sign up for 31 Awesomely Practical UX Tips! Join Susan along with five other experts for this awesome virtual event on May 29th.