Our 2021 UX Resolutions


EchoUser Team

With 2020 being an infuriating year, we at EchoUser wanted to start this new year with new goals and refreshed energy! EchoUser designers and researchers got together to write their visions, hopes, and plans that they would like to evolve and grow in 2021.

The written word

Conner Hunihan, Experience Designer


To be a better communicator. Not to get too meta, but what is our job about – really – if not communication? 

Consider a typical project; Client ABC hires us to redesign the core toolset in their flagship product. What do we do? We ask ABC about their business and product and reflect back on what we hear. We talk with users about their experience and model our findings. Yes, we deploy fancy methodologies and iterate towards effortlessly intuitive solutions, but ultimately, we are successful when we connect, interpret, and communicate. And we do this everywhere! In writing, graphically, in the meetings, we run, and in the conversations we facilitate.

For me, 2021 will be spent honing the craft of communication.


Jiyoon Shin, Experience Designer


This year I want to stay rooted so that this storm of reality won’t knock me down. Roots such as my core values, sense of self, and the motherland will keep me grounded and unwavering no matter what life throws at me.

I want to be more disciplined about the technical skills of UX. At this point, the core nature of empathetic UX is second nature. But my execution of it could be strengthened with a fuller toolkit.

Create more. Consume less

Leslie Garner Franklin, Director of projects + partnership


There has been SO MUCH NOISE over the last year. The pandemic. The election. It felt difficult to pull myself away from the news in particular. And every second I was consuming was one I wasn’t able to create. This year I’m hoping to keep this mantra in mind and make more --- poems, crafts, impact, and everything in between.

“I can’t believe we get to work on that…” is a phrase I hope to hear myself and my colleagues say in the year ahead. What this means for how we present what we do, who we network with, and what opportunities we unearth is an existing pursuit for the year ahead. My deep hope is that a year from now, each one of us will be able to feel confident that we made a meaningful impact through our work.  We’ll all define “impact” differently, but I want to help steer us toward the opportunity.

Enhance our collective wisdom

Jenn Gross, Experience Researcher


2021 feels like a new opportunity – to breathe more deeply. To take a few minutes to appreciate the people around me. And to think about how I build relationships, recognize the privilege that I have and have had, and on a personal level, explore how I will use my energy to create more opportunity for those who have been and continue to be marginalized.

In the upcoming year at EchoUser, I plan to:

(1) Enhance our team’s collective knowledge by sharing what I learn about different UX research techniques and ways to disseminate research findings.

(2) Strive to balance my interest in honing my UX research skills and being comfortable and accepting where I am.

I look forward to continuing to develop my UX research skills through my own practice, sharing what I learn, and applying new skills and knowledge to create better experiences for our clients and their customers.

Charge into rough, unknown seas. Let's go!

Mick McGee, Co-founder and Vice President


To think of a resolution post-2020 is a bit daunting. What an eventful year. Last year I wrote about anticipating life after passing the CEO torch, after more than a decade in the role. Pretty momentous for my career. Now a footnote to world events. And already knowing that last year’s pandemic will define much of 2021 as well. So then should a 2021 resolution be called, Disappear? Phoenix Rising? Waiting to Exhale? The widespread, everlasting transition feeling seems to be the prevailing zeitgeist. As I let my mind drift through these thoughts, an old indomitable tenet manages to shimmer through the haze, catching my attention, once again: that there is always opportunity in these moments. 

Clearly a lot of challenges out there. More drive and initiative will be needed than normal. Maybe a little more caution and intent. Maybe. Charging into ambiguity and pursuing opportunity is never simple. But then that’s part of the fun. So while things might be “daunting” or with “challenge”, it’s a deeply ingrained principle in me that I will embrace as I hail my 2021 battle cry. I will charge into discovery. Charge into rough, unknown seas. I will mix metaphors. Thrust my face into raging winds. I will have fun. I won’t be defined. I will write poems. (Blech, no, I hate poems.) Whatever; I will embrace all that comes with 2021 and charge into it. Let’s go!!

Health, Loved Ones, Recovery and Prosperity

Deniz Ilhan, Experience Researcher


It has been a taxing past year for everyone and will likely continue to be so. I am looking forward to seeing that health conditions improve, more and quality time gets spent “with” loved ones and world societies recover from the great burden we all had to face in the past year.

I want to invest in my hard-skills, knowledge and strategies to elevate my capacity as a practitioner. Having worked the last few months of 2020 on an embedded project, I’ve come to experience a new face of consultancy work. Performing as a member of internal teams and navigating the ambiguities of the big company space demonstrated to me how a variety of skills are needed on a daily basis. I’d like 2021 to be a time where I continue to sharpen and master skills as a flexible team player, who can quickly respond to all reasonable asks.

"I don't think any of us are normal people"

  • Wes Anderson


Astha Vagadia, Experience Designer


Last year was pretty eventful for us as a family and I believe for everyone else too. But one of my biggest takeaways from last year was learning to empathize with people more and not treat everyone the same way. This included bleeding that skill into my profession as a designer. Last year, I saw a lot of Wes Anderson movies and read his book for their colors and composition and this famous quote from his movie Moonrise stuck out to me.

I want to add emotion into me, my design process, and UX processes: 

COMMUNICATION: Learn to facilitate and conduct interviews with more sympathy and emotion in my process. Use this even to facilitate workshops or candidate interviews. I think I do come off pretty robotic and usually am just talking for work and not to actually learn.

UX PROCESSES: Learn to weave user emotions into other UX processes like maybe always have an emotion curve with the concept model? or explore more UX processes with emotions into it.

Get loose

Mary Yeh, Experience Researcher


This year was a year to move forward and push beyond, but almost never as expected or planned. Last year’s resolution was all about digging in and enhancing my personal UX practice, and along the way, I have become better at articulating what is most important to me. Now, I am excited to color a little more outside the lines and go with the flow. 

Last year, I became more confident in my personal practice and started the shift from thinking I need my colleagues to validate my work, but more so, I want to collaborate with my colleagues to strengthen my work. The actions I take are the same, but my frame is different.

This year, I want to continue to think about my practice and play a little more with methods. To get a little loose, color outside the lines, and combine techniques for greater impact.

Leading us with a much better sense of purpose

Rally Pagulayan, CEO


I look forward to leading us with a much better sense of purpose. As a new CEO last year, I sometimes felt like I was trying to drink out of a firehose. With a year under my belt now, I’ve gained a lot more clarity and I’m energized by the idea that I can be more purposeful.

My overriding intention this year is going to be around doing things to help me focus. There’s a lot of noise out there, and I’m pretty susceptible to being distracted by it. But I think there are a lot of things I can do in my day-to-day life to minimize my distractions and maximize my focus.

Published on February 8, 2021

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