Speakers and facilitators

We are really excited to share our amazing line up of speakers and facilitators for User Research London 2018


Ana Roji

I am a design research lead and strategist. With over 13 years working –and having fun- in UX design and research, I specialise in creative methods to make design research tick with multidisciplinary teams. Applying my design eye to turn observations into tangible assets, I bring teams on the journey to improve their products. I believe in the power of design thinking, visual storytelling and Kaurismaki’s films.

I feel at home in international settings. After living in Spain, Canada, UK and US, and with a wide understanding of emerging markets, I worked in different teams at Nokia for the last 8 years. Being such a large corporation, Nokia has been the perfect ground to explore and developed frameworks to improve their mobile, VR and wearables experience.

I have now decided to join Collective Health to focus on digital health and behavior change


Ayush Chauhan

Ayush is the Managing Partner and Co-founder of Quicksand, a design strategy and innovation consultancy working in emerging markets at the intersection of business, international development, arts and culture. At Quicksand, he promotes design for social impact by connecting the best practices of design with development programs to address the pressing and complex issues of social equity, public health, education, financial inclusion and humanitarian aid. In this capacity, he has worked with global organizations such as Unilever, World Bank, International Rescue Committee and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to design products and services that promote sustainability and quality of life for low-income communities. An entrepreneur, educator, and mentor, Ayush is also the co-founder of UnBox, the first interdisciplinary festival in India bringing together leading voices from across the world for inspiration, debate and reflection. 

Ayush received his engineering and business degrees from IIT, Delhi and IIM, Ahmedabad in India. In 2012, Ayush was selected as a Yale World Fellow from India, one of Yale University's flagship global leadership programs bringing together emerging leaders from across the world for a semester long immersion in the academic and leadership discourse at the University. He currently serves on the board of William J. Clinton Foundation in India.


Babitha George

Babitha George is a director and partner at Quicksand and anchors their Bangalore studio. Her prior work in education in India prompted her to actively think about the role of design thinking in social impact contexts, leading her to steer several of Quicksand's social innovation projects. She is a management graduate from IIM Ahmedabad, prior to which she studied English, Journalism & Psychology. With this background, Babitha believes strongly in the strength of multi-disciplinary approaches.

She is one of the co-founders of the UnBox Festival, leading on networks and collaborations bringing together efforts around social change, art & culture, thoughtful design and open research. She is also on the Advisory Board of the Victor Papanek Foundation and was featured in the British Council's 'Blurring the Lines' exhibition in London, as one of sixteen people from around the world who are reinventing creative exploration and participation in their respective communities. She is a member of the Mozilla Foundation's first cohort of "Network50”, for outstanding work in Internet health. 


Ben Cubbon

A Senior User Researcher at OVO Energy understanding emerging user needs in a world of increasingly complex energy choices, electric vehicles, and connected devices. Previously in Government, at HM Courts and Tribunals Service leading on the Strategic Service design of a Reformed Justice System and at the Office for National Statistics. I’ve expanded and led research teams of various skills. I have a strong methodological background with a Masters in Investigative Psychology.


Christina Li

Christina is an independent consultant with over 10 years of experience in user research and design. With her background in psychology, she is passionate about understanding people's behaviours and insights, and translating them into designs that improve lives.

Previously, Christina led the design team at Department of Work and Pensions to deliver welfare digital services, was part of the team which launched Ubuntu Touch phone in Asian and European markets, and was instrumental in changing how Vodafone Australia interacts with their customers digitally.

In her spare time, she mentors teams at Bethnal Green Ventures and children at Design Club to become design thinkers.


Cyd HarrelL

Cyd is a user research expert who believes you can answer any question as long as you are fearless and creative about methods. She was the VP of Research for SF-based UX design firm Bolt | Peters until June 2012, when Facebook acquired the company. While there, she helped clients such as Sony, Volkswagen, and Rdio to conduct remote research and real-time usability studies. In the early 2000s, she led desktop experience and design standards groups at Charles Schwab. Since 2012, working with the Center for Civic Design, Code for America, and 18F, Cyd has helped multiple government agencies in the US apply user-centered practice and techniques to serving the public. Her favorite tools are metaphor and (metaphorical) duct tape.


Laurissa Wolfram-Hvass

Laurissa Wolfram-Hvass is the Director of Research at MailChimp. Her team uses qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research to understand MailChimp’s customers, products, and competition—all of which play a vital role in prioritizing product decisions, guiding feature development, and designing the customer experience. Laurissa earned her PhD in English Rhetoric and Composition from Georgia State University, where her work focused on how user experience research is used to inform and influence product decisions. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and in her free time enjoys wandering around farmers markets and refurbishing old furniture. 


Meena Kothandaraman

With 25 years of experience, Meena has consulted to emphasize the strategic value of qualitative research in the design of product, space and service. Meena is fascinated by the complexity of human behavior, and applies a credible and structured approach to integrating human stories and anecdotes into mainstream processes. Qualitative research serves as a key vehicle to bringing human stories into a business, and additionally serves as a foundation for internal discussions and directions about product design. Her experience spans multiple verticals, with companies who believe in the value of qualitative research.
Meena is a founding member of twig+fish, a research and strategy practice based in Boston, MA, that espouses these research beliefs, while maintaining a utopic work-life balance.
Apart from her core consulting practice, she has been a key contributor to the Bentley University Human Factors and Information Design (HFID) graduate program in her 15 year tenure.
She holds an M.S. in Information Resources Management from Syracuse University and a B.Com. in MIS from the University of Ottawa, Canada.
Meena hails from Canada and is absolutely fluent in poutine and beavertails.

For more info, you can follow Meena on Twitter at @meena_ko


Nick Leon

Nick is an ethnographer. He is the founder of Naked Eye and a pioneer of ethnographic film methods to understand human behaviour. He trained as a Human Factors designer on the MSc programme at UCL and with design company IDEO on innovative user-centred research methodologies. He has worked across different industry sectors for clients including Microsoft, Amazon, Unilever, GSK and others to improve customer experience and engagement. Projects have taken him to Townships in South Africa, clinics in Taiwan, rural villages in Tanzania to campuses of tech giants in Seattle to observe start-up culture. His ethnographic film and VR work has been shown at events including New Scientist Excel exhibition, Houses of Parliament, global medical marketing conferences and TV channels. His company Naked Eye is part of Chime Communications and is based in the offices of advertising agency VCCP. Away from work, he is an Exec producer on a feature-length film on endurance swimming with the Oceans7 BAFTA and Emmy-nominated filmmaking team.


Nic Price

Nic is an information architect and user-centred designer based in Bristol. Through his company People Thinking, Nic works on product strategy, design and research with clients large and small, in both public and private sectors. Prior to that he headed up digital product design and development teams at the BBC.


Zarla Ludin

Zarla is the co-founder of twig+fish, a research and strategy practice based in Boston, MA. Bringing an anthropological perspective to every project, Zarla is passionate about helping people build stronger connections with each other. Zarla’s expertise lies in her ability to help people reveal, reflect, and describe the parts of life everyone takes for granted. Zarla has a knack for helping teams access their natural curiosity and bring a more empathic lens into their work.

Prior to twig+fish, Zarla was Director of Insights at Motivate Design and a Senior Researcher for Essential. Her many years in consulting have given her the insight into team dynamics that make twig+fish a unique form of human-centered consulting. Zarla has worked for design, marketing, engineering, and brand teams in a number of domains including civic services, financial, healthcare, consumer packaged goods, and engineered products.

Zarla has a BA in Anthropology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and an MS in Human Factors in Information Design from Bentley University. Outside of work, Zarla is a certified yoga instructor and avid sea glass hunter!

For more info, you can follow Zarla on Twitter @zarlashtah



Dan Szuc

Dan is a co-founder and principal at Apogee and co-founder of Make Meaningful Work , as well as the co-founder of UX Hong Kong . He has been involved in the UX field for over 25 years, and has been based in Hong Kong for over 21 years. Dan has lectured about user-centered design globally. He has co-authored two books including Global UX with Whitney Quesenbery and the Usability Kit with Gerry Gaffney.


Josephine Wong

Jo is a co-founder and principal at Apogee and co-founder of Make Meaningful Work , as well as the co-founder of UX Hong Kong .She has been involved in the UX field for over 21 years. She collaborates with global teams conducting research in Cantonese, Mandarin and English. Jo is passionate about the environment, political and economic systems and how we can live healthier and happier lives while not adversely impacting less fortunate people.


Jess Lewes

I am a specialist in user recruitment and have been pushing for new ways to approach and improve user recruitment over the last 5 years to match the expectations of the sector we support – UX. There is no formal training or qualification that will help prepare you for the recruitment journey, but I can share insight on how to apply a user-centred design mindset to the research process to get the best from the participants and provide practical tips for how to embrace recruitment as part of your research. 

My experience comes from supporting over 350 different clients, from government departments and global technology companies to leading UX consultancies and digital agencies, and recruiting over a 1,000 participants for different types of research projects. I have made significant changes to the way we run our business to help us grow so we can be a comprehensive partner to clients going through complex digital transformation.


Paul Andre

Paul is research lead for Workplace, and helped establish and grow the research team in Facebook's London office. Prior to Workplace he worked on various Facebook teams in California. Before focusing on product and strategy, he spent time at Microsoft Research, Carnegie Mellon, and earned his PhD in human-computer interaction and social psychology. He enjoys eating all of London's pancakes and trying to see one new film a week.


Maria Santos

As a Digital Marketer specialising in technology, I made a move from fintech and business to the user recruitment industry three years ago, and so much has changed in such a small amount of time. We've been witnessing an exciting shift, as the UX industry is broadening its focus to embrace not only the technical side of digital and service design, but a more user-centred approach to recruitment and research as well.

Over the last three years working at People for Research, my team has supported over 2,500 user recruitment projects for a diverse group of clients, from government departments to leading UX and design agencies. It's a work in progress, as every new project equals a new audience and type of user – and this means refining our content and rethinking our recruitment strategies each time, always with the user at the centre of the process.


Kathleen Asjes

Kathleen is Head of User Research at Schibsted Media, leading a team of 6 researchers that do research for the largest online publishers in Sweden and Norway. She is a Dutch national currently based in Stockholm and has worked with UX research for over a decade.

Her broad interest in the interactions between people and technology has informed the variety of her work experience, from research for the development of accessible music services to document management systems for offshore engineers. Her main aim with UX research is not so much understanding end users, but mostly having an impact on the product development teams by encouraging them to learn about these users