Top 10 Podcasts for UX Designers

By BrainStation October 7, 2019
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Design professionals know that continuing education is a priority in their field. BrainStation’s 2019 Digital Skills Survey found that 77 percent of Designers had participated in workshops, and more than half relied upon blogs, online forums and other skills training avenues to make sure they’re staying on top of a field that never stops moving.

But there’s another convenient way that in-the-know Designers are keeping their skills sharp: podcasts. With that in mind, here are 10 of the best podcasts for UX Designers. 

UX Podcast

Dating back to 2011 and recorded in Stockholm, Sweden, this twice-monthly podcast – co-hosted by Per Axbom and James Royal-Lawson – regularly reaches beyond the realm of user experience and seeks to engage anyone involved in digital media.

Certainly, though, UX Designers will be especially interested in the show, which features an array of co-hosts and is produced in one of four formats: a link show, a guest show, a topic show, or an event show.

In a popular recent episode, Stephen Anderson – author of Seductive Interaction Design and the person behind the Mental Notes card deck – joined the show to discuss facilitating discovery, while another highlight episode found Know Your Team CEO Claire Lew exploring the feedback loop.

User Defenders Podcast

If you’re interested in knowing more about some of the world’s top UX Designers and what makes them tick, Jason Ogle’s inspiring and increasingly popular podcast is for you.

Jasmine Oh, a UX Designer at Microsoft, recently joined the show for a stimulating discussion on how AI will drastically change UX, just a week after a great conversation with Nir Eyal on how to harness the power of being immune to distraction. 

Most episodes are around an hour, though a longer form June interview with Joe Natoli found the consultant and author discussing how grit and resilience can propel any UX Designer to great success (as well as his distaste for jargon).

UXpod

A pioneer in the world of UX podcasts, host Gerry Gaffney – an author who runs the UX consultancy Information & Design in Melbourne, Australia – has published 100 episodes of his podcast dating all the way back to 2006.

His guests tend to be just as seasoned. Recently, he interviewed Torrey Podmajersky, author of Strategic Writing for UX and UX content strategy consultant at Google, on the art of UX writing, while another recommended recent interview found Celia Hodent – author of The Gamer’s Brain: How Neuroscience and UX Can Impact Video Game Design and a veteran of Ubisoft, LucasArts and Epic Games – exploring UX in video game design.

UXpod also helpfully archives transcripts of all of Gaffney’s interviews.

UI Breakfast: UI/UX Design and Product Strategy

Userlist CEO and head of product Jane Portman hosts this wide-ranging podcast, which features industry experts sharing actionable knowledge on UX/UI design, SaaS products, marketing and beyond.

Looking for a place to start? Try a recent interview with startup coach, game designer, author and Game Thinking founder Amy Jo Kim, who shares how to use her method to shape the customer journey from discovery to habit building and mastery.

Another recent highlight found Jeff Gothelf, author of Lean UX and Sense & Respond, discussing design methodologies – lean, agile and design thinking – and whether they can be used side-by-side.

Design Details

Billed as a weekly discussion between Marshall Bock, design lead at YouTube Gaming, and Github designer Brian Lovin, Design Details doesn’t need guests to hold your attention – although they are often joined by industry-leading experts.

In this approachable podcast, Bock and Lovin often field questions from their listeners, discuss industry developments, dig into stories from their own careers, and share any cool things they happen to come across – for instance, in a September instalment, a 64-button mashup and a state-of-the-art mouse.

Sometimes, their guests help answer fan queries. Diana Mounter, who manages the design infrastructure at GitHub, recently jumped on the podcast to provide a detailed response to a listener question about the role of a design systems manager.

ShopTalk Show

A podcast about building websites, Dave Rupert and Chris Coyier’s long-running live show – which is now approaching 400 episodes – covers design, development, accessibility, tooling, performance, and everything in-between.

Some of the show’s most popular episodes simply find Rupert and Coyier answering questions from the audience – recently, they’ve covered how to go from a single design comp down to a responsive implementation, while a May episode found the hosts offering advice on how to transition into UX.

They book great guests, too. On an informative recent episode, Christopher Schmitt and Nicolas Steenhout hopped on to share their expertise in all things accessibility, exploring how much work needs to be done and the issue of whether accessibility transcends the web.

367: Accessibility with Nicolas Steenhout and Christopher Schmitt

Beyond Users

Looking to boost your business sense? Check out Alen Faljic’s podcast, which mixes interviews that usually run about an hour with bite-sized instructional instalments that will give you something to think about in 15 minutes or less.

In the latter category, check out a recent episode in which Faljic argues that it’s sometimes self-destructive to listen to customers, while another looked at how product strategies affect design work.

Meanwhile, recent highlight interviews have included Jules Ehrhardt, founder of FKTRY, discussing why “paid for time” is the biggest problem of the creative industry, and IDEO’s Amy Bonsall answering the question: What is venture design?

Health Redesigned

Anyone working in the health and wellness industry would be wise to check out this weekly podcast, in which leading specialists in the field share how they’re using design and technology to build life-changing digital products.

But the show’s appeal isn’t limited to those working in the health sphere. Recently, Wendy McKennon – VP of product and user experience at Color – explored how genomics could be used as a preventative tool for whole populations of people as part of routine care.

In another interesting instalment, Omada’s senior director of product design, Patrick Weiss, joined host Matt Lenzi for a fascinating conversation about designing for behavior change.

99% Invisible

Initially a collaboration between KALW public radio and the American Institute of Architects in San Francisco, 99% Invisible has come a long way since host and creator Roman Mars produced the podcast from his bedroom.

The show is about all the elements of design hidden in everyday life that nevertheless shape the world around us. It’s an entertaining listen regardless of your background, but will prove especially engaging for Designers.

Dive in with a recent episode documenting the rise and fall of the custom ringtone, or an interview with Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men author Caroline Criado Perez looking at how often women are ignored in a design process that tends to favor men.

Once you’ve absorbed an episode or two, check out the show’s website for supplementary articles and features for each instalment.

Design Matters

Touted as the world’s first podcast about design, Debbie Millman’s podcast – a fixture since 2005 – is a great thought-starter with guests from far outside the world of tech.

For instance, Millman and former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth recently sat down for a wide-ranging conversation that covered his career as well as martial arts, tattoos and the late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain.

Looking for a show more closely aligned with UX design? Check out a live interview with Jamie Myrold, vice-president of Adobe Design, who delves into her career, her professional advice, and what she considers the ultimate UX challenge: redesigning an existing system.