Office Hours: I’m a UX Research Manager at Chime. I’m Jessica Talbert. AMA!Featured

Hey Elphas!

I’m Jessica Talbert, a strategic UX Research Manager at Chime and an MBA from Stanford GSB. I’m passionate about human-centered design and have 10+ years of experience across technology, innovation, and retail.

Before Chime, I was the Lead UX Researcher for Lyft’s Rider platform, and before that my career was mainly in retail and CPG. I was a merchandiser in sports licensing for Old Navy, an entrepreneur in residence for ZX Ventures of Anheuser-Busch, and the Head of Customer Experience for a retail fundraising platform called Boon Supply. Throughout my career, I’ve always been keenly focused on the customer and how to better serve their needs.

During my downtime, I enjoy playing padel (it’s like a mix of tennis and squash), pickleball, and learning to knit.

Ask me about UX research, storytelling, human-centered design, management and leadership, or anything else!

Thanks so much for joining us @jessicatalbert!Elphas – please ask @jessicatalbert your questions before Friday, February 10th. @jessicatalbert may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
^ Hello Elphas - Just a quick update: @jessicatalbert will be answering your questions on Monday, Feb 13th - so you have a few extra days to get your questions in! ☃️
Hi Jessica - I'm new to Elpha and missed an amazing-sounding AMA! Is there a recording anywhere that I could watch? A little about me:I’m a recent Springboard UX/UI Design bootcamp grad. That experience wrapped up with a 5-week UXR internship with a health tech startup. I loved it! I’m looking for UXR roles now.I have an M.Ed. in Counselor Education and a B.A. in Experimental Psych. My background spans content writing, international ed, and more.Thanks for the great advice you posted below. I've gotten some great nuggets! I hope it's ok to ask a couple of belated questions:- What do you wish newcomers paid more attention to? - How could they make themselves stronger assets to the team from the start?Thanks!
Hi @jessicatalbert! I’ve seen a lot of layoffs in UX research (and tech in general of course). Is now a bad time to pivot into UXR? Do you have any advice for someone who wants to pivot into UXR while maintaining job security?
Hi Laurekee,Yes I completely understand where you're coming from. I think what is happening in tech right now is a reaction to the over hiring that happened in 2021, and now the uncertainty we are seeing in the markets today. I don't expect it will always be the case and there is likely to be a rebound in the future. But when you think about UXR, it is a research function (R&D). Companies want to invest in R&D especially when they want to build new products or improve current ones in a step change way. So if you're thinking about apply to jobs in the UXR field, start thinking about companies that still have a strong need for R&D. One sector I am seeing that is still going strong (at least in terms of venture funding and hiring) is climate tech. What opportunities do you see there? To sum up my advice, I would look at industries and company's you believe (or someone inside the company if you happen to know people working there) are growing and have reason to continue to grow.
So helpful - thank you Jessica!
Hi @jessicatalbert! Thanks for taking the time to chat about your career journey. Why and how did you make the switch from Head of Customer Experience to UX research? Curious what the process was like and what resources you leveraged.
Hello! The switch was an interesting one and something I am pretty proud of. Coming from Customer Experience I had a lot of experience with running a customer service team, hearing from our customers about our product (both the digital platform and the products we were selling) and I was continuously reminded that I would love to be a part of product development more upstream (before it got into the customer's hands). But to be honest, I didn't exactly know that that meant I could have a career in User Experience Research. What I started to do is identify themes across all of my past jobs (even back when I was a camp counselor in college!) to identify what the activities were that I was doing that helped me experience flow. Flow is where you experience high skill and high challenge. Musicians and artists often understand getting into flow state! Knowing that I wanted to have a job where more of my time was spent in flow state I started finding activities/moments across all past jobs to understand what those times were, and then see if I could make a job out of it. Low and behold, times of flow were when I was doing insights work, or facilitating discussions with strangers, or generally being propelled forward by my curiosity. This lead me to UX Research, but it also made it much easier for me to convince Lyft to hire me as UX Research full time because I did the work of finding examples from past jobs where I had performed the same activities as a researcher would, even if I wasn't a researcher in title.
@jessicatalbert Thank you for hosting this AMA. I have two questions if you don't mind. 1. When you pivoted careers, what is one thing you learned or piece of advice you'd give to someone pivoting?2. As a manager, what is something that you look for in a new, freshly, 1-year experienced pivoted/pivoting UXR?
Hello!1. This is very practical, but I would look at the job postings you're looking to apply to and understand the jargon/language they use for those jobs. Then when you're writing your resume, make sure to use that same language (where it makes sense and it is true!) This is because often times your resume is getting screened by someone who needs to tick off some boxes that you have the experience they are looking for to move you to the next round. By using the same language you are making their job easier and increasingly your likelihood of getting to the next round.2. Curiosity and grit all the way. If you have those two things I don't care what you've done in your past, you can excel here! UXR is also an amazing profession because it's about understanding people, so great UXR's can come from many different backgrounds.
Thank you so much for your response. This makes me warm and fuzzy inside because I definitely have curiosity and grit!
Hi @jessicatalbert. Thanks for leading an AMA with Elpha. For the past year, I have been doing some deep self-reflection and decided it's time for a career pivot. I've been in Employee Experience/EX (People Ops) and Candidate Experience/CX (Talent Acquisition) for 15 years, and I've lost passion for my job function. Over the past few years, I've been participating in UX studies with various companies like User Testing, User Research, and Google, and I have really enjoyed the experiences. Some of my work in EX and CX has components of UX involved, and it's an area I get excited about. I've had some surface conversations with the UX researchers leading the studies and I want to take my discovery to the next level and start educating myself in the field. Q1: Would you mind sharing some starter learning courses or programs for someone looking to transition into UX? Q2: What is one piece of advice critical for someone shifting from a nontechnical role to UX?Q3: Are you open to a 10-minute virtual connect so I can pepper you with questions about a day-in-the-life UX Researcher? 🤞🏾☺️ Any advice you can provide will be instrumentally helpful with my next steps.
Hello! Happy to address your questions below:Q1: So for learning UXR practices I would highly recommend anything from the Nielsen Norman Group. They are the central repository and preeminent authority on the User Experience Research field. I would start by reading all of their articles (they have so many great resources) and perhaps consider getting a certification from them. I personally did not get a certification but I did have some hands on training in UXR when I was with ZX Ventures and having people to walk you through methods and why they work is incredibly helpful. Q2: Practice! Great UXR projects can happen all over the place, even in your current role. Is there a workflow/process you think could be better? Does your company have a website you have hypotheses about that could make it better? Or a founder friend need help understanding their customers? There are opportunities to do small projects all over the place, and the best experience you can get is to try it out and see how it feels.Q3: I'd be happy to, feel free to DM.
Thank you so much for this great advice, Jessica! I appreciate you. I'll DM you to connect.
Hi @jessicatalbert ! Thanks for doing AMA w/ us! I first heard of Chime through Matt when he told me he was leaving us at Domino Data Lab for a great fintech startup 😊 I’m super curious about your experience in strategic UX Research. Prior to being in tech for 10 yrs, I was a retail buyer for my family business growing up. Being in strategic UX, are there many opportunities to get involved w/ the marketing team? Did you or your team get a chance to be involved in the recent Chime Manifest Money Candle or was that just kudos to strategic marketing? Absolutely ok if not allowed to share. I was telling my friends ah, I wonder whether their strategy must have been to target the housewives who not only love candles but that are also in charge of the money management in the family. Thanks in advance. :)
Hi DonnaLi! I thought that marketing campaign was pretty cool too and sadly I can't take credit for it! Our marketing team is excellent with insights though, so they too have people on their team dedicated to really understanding our member's wants and needs, such as from programs like Voice of the Customer where we pull in NPS feedback. And also by heavily monitoring our social platforms! I imagine that collective listening contributed to the Chime Manifest Money Candle.
Thanks Jessica! I appreciate your response. I've helped out on UX Studies for TripActions and Flow Club so just want to put my name down in case your team needs more participants in studies. :) Currently in the world of data analytics but would love to work in UX someday once I wrap up my portfolio.