UX Researcher, Chloe Cauley, talks empathy and acceptance during the COVID-19 Pandemic
In this issue of Designer Spotlight, Practice Makes chats with Chloe Cauley, a UX Researcher with a passion for photography, museums and all things art. Chloe has professional experience in Digital Marketing and Web Design, and she has leveraged her creativity and empathy to hone a career in UX Research.
“I didn’t one day wake up and say I’d like to be a designer”
In the product design community, it is not at all uncommon to have an untraditional path. Human centered design is at its core an exercise of empathy. Throw a little creativity and an aptitude for problem solving in the mix and you have the makings of a great designer.
“My life as a designer started by making layouts and editing photos for Myspace and Xanga, using a pirated Adobe Photoshop 7,” says Chloe on her earliest experiences with design. “I definitely didn’t have a traditional route, as my Bachelors’s is in Korean, but I have used that experience of being able to interpret and translate ideas and concepts fairly well.”
“I got into Digital Marketing and used every chance I got to re-design landing pages and experiences,” says Chloe on how she ended up in her current role. “I didn’t one day wake up and say I’d like to be a designer, it’s more of an amalgamation of my life experiences that has led me to this point.”
“Take a deep breath and don’t take yourself too seriously”
As we march on into in the New Year, it’s impossible not to reflect on how COVID-19 has impacted society and the workplace. As we adapt, there are entirely new factors to consider within our craft and ourselves.
“People are undergoing serious and even traumatic changes in their life,” Chloe explains, on how the pandemic has affected her work. “How I talk to and interact with our research participants is more consolatory. Empathy in product design and research is needed now more than ever.”
“At the start of the year, I, like so many other people, was filled with anxiety and uncertainty. I’ve learned not to lean so much on my emotions. It’s unsustainable in the long-run. Instead, I’m cautiously optimistic for the future and I have settled into being more precautionary than completely on edge. In doing so, I’ve learned not give into my fear-based emotions and accept what I can and cannot control.”
“It’s okay to do nothing,” Chloe advises, on staying positive during this hard time. “It’s okay to do things for fun. It’s more than okay to not monetize your hobby or ‘build a following.’ Post an unsavory pic of your lunch on Instagram if it makes you happy. Take a deep breath and don’t take yourself too seriously.”