Now Available: Duly Noted by Jorge Arango

The Rosenfeld Review Podcast: Lisanne Norman on Why She Left UX Research

Lisanne Norman entered the tech field as a UX researcher in 2015 and quickly advanced to lead researcher at Dell, then Visa. She founded Black UX Austin and was the UX lead researcher at Gusto.

And then she left in 2022. Because she had had enough. And because she wanted to make a difference. She is now co-director of DEI at the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut.

In today’s interview, Lisanne shares her career journey and the tools she acquired in various positions along the way. We get a glimpse of what it’s like to be a Black woman in tech. We also get a hint at what it might take to keep a Black woman (or other individuals from marginalized groups) in the space. We hear of the microaggressions that can and do occur in the workplace, and Lisanne helps us imagine the exhaustion of functioning in such an environment day after day. She has worked in established, entrenched cultures and in young, seemingly flexible startups, and she found that both environments are lacking in their efforts to bring marginalized people groups to the table.

Lisanne will be sharing more at Advancing Research 2023, March 27-29. Her talk is “Why I Left Research.”

What you’ll learn from this episode:

  • What the UX research world looks like from a Black woman’s point of view
  • The types of microaggressions Lisanne endured in the workplace and public places like airports
  • Why being a marginalized voice at work – even in a young, flexible culture – can be exhausting
  • The difference between culture-fit and culture-add
  • What companies need to do to attract and retain BIPOC employees – and why it’s worth the effort to do so

Quick Reference Guide
[00:15] Introduction of Lisanne
[01:38] Lisanne explains how she stumbled upon research as a possible career and found herself working for Dell
[05:19] Lisanne’s time working directly with Dell as part of their design team and her later transition to Visa
[12:40] Lisanne explains the frustrations she endured at Visa and her switch to a young e-commerce company
[19:13] Feeling weighed down by microaggressions, keeping notes, and educating those who should know better
[21:13] Covid, taking a break, Black UX Austin, Gusto, and George Floyd
[27:55] BREAK: Books recently published by Rosenfeld Media
[30:08] On what it would take for Lisanne to get back into UX research
[35:01] On the potential of learning from past modules of successful “adding”
[37:41] Lisanne’s gift to our listeners: POCIT (People of Color in Tech)