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User Experience (UX) podcasts

I personally feel that 2015 was a year that we have experienced the ‘great podcast renaissance’. Years after their first became popular and after a long slump in their popularity, podcasts have surprisingly came back into fashion.

Podcasts are a great way to spend time when you are being ‘unproductive’, whether because you are driving, commuting, or just spending time at the office not doing any real work. I have been a fan of podcasts for a couple of years now due to my fairly frequent and long car journeys (I find that there are the most entertaining way to pass time in the car). When I first got interested in podcasts, I tended to listen to the ‘Freakonomics’  and the ‘Reply All’ podcasts, but I recently became quite obsessed with venturing out to more work-related podcasts, focusing more on design and user experience.

This is a list of my favourite UX podcasts that I found very useful (and entertaining) both for UX students and practitioners.

1.) The UX Intern

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This is one of the first UX podcasts I listened to, and I I went through all 12 episodes in a weekend. This is a monthly updated series where the hosts interview influential UX designers (such as Steve Krug, Luke Wroblewski) from the perspective of a UX intern as most of the episodes offer valuable advice to those pursuing a UX job or interneship.

Average episode duration: 1 hour

Recommended episode: Episode 4 with Todd Zaki Warfel on protoyping 

2.) UX Pod

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UX Pod is quite a popular podcast and unfortunately no longer running, but there is a huge archive of insightful podcasts on UX design. Gerry Gaffney who hosts this podcasts, originally set it up back in 2006 and interviewed UX professionals on topics such as web design, usability, and user research. The episodes follow the classic interview structure (with a slightly more formal tone than other podcasts in this list) but I still think they are insightful and offer practical advice which makes them very useful for UX students.

Average episode duration: 40 minutes 

Recommended episode: Eye tracking for UX: An interview with Aga Bojko 

3.) Design Review

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Design Review is a bi-weekly podcast that is hosted by Chris and Jonathan, both user experience designers and focuses on products and their user experience. The episodes have a slightly different format to the previous interviews-based ones where in each episode, they review a product and then discuss and analyse the user experience design to understand how they work and the take away insights from this. The two hosts have great chemistry and as a result these episode are less formal and more chatty.

Average episode duration: 35 minutes 

Recommended episode: Designing Playfulness into your UX and Nielsen’s Usability Heuristics 

4.) UIE Brain Sparks

Brain Sparks  is hosted by usability and UI design expert, Jared Spool. This podcast offers up a ton of value because you will hear many industry leaders  share insights on usability, UX design, and UI design. These episode follow the fairly common format of UX podcasts but Jared has managed to interview a number of very influential and thought provoking designers that share their experiences in solving design problems.

Average episode duration: 40 mins

Recommended episode: Kim Goodwin – Using scenarios to solve problems

5.) Design Details

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Design Details is a weekly show that is all about the people who design our favourite products. The format for this series is slightly more ad-hoc than the others on the list, and the hosts (Bryn Jackson and Brian Lovin) follow a casual approach to interview leading designs in UX,  visual, product and game design. Although these episodes don’t offer technical advice as such, and some of them can be quite long and self indulgent, the hosts have recently changed the format to more of a roundtable discussion format which is very interesting for those who are interesting in starting a career in UX.

Average episode duration: 1 hour +

Recommended episode:Design leaderships, careers and mentorships

6.) UX Podcast

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UX Podcast  broadcasting from Sweden is aimed for people who are ‘passionate about balancing technology and users within the realm of digital media’. The hosts (James Royal Lawson and Per Axborn)  regularly appear at UX design conferences, interviewing speakers right from the stage to bring on a thought leader to discuss topics like UX strategy, information architecture, cognitive neuroscience, story mapping, integrating lean & agile methods, and more. They also do what they call “link-shows” where they take a few key articles that are trending and discuss the implications of the ideas presented in the articles.

Average episode duration: 1 hour +

Recommended episode: UX designed ‘Imposter Syndrome’ with Amy Silvers and Lori Cavalucci

7.) The Web Ahead

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The Web Ahead  has a slightly different focus than the rest, where it offers weekly conversations about changing technologies and the future of the web. The only podcast in this list with a female host is more angled to those of you who have a technical streak and an interest in web design (although there are plenty of episodes on design research).

Average episode duration: 1 hour +

Recommended episodeBeing Tracked with Brett Gaylor 

8.) The Dirt

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The Dirt  podcast series comes from Fresh Tinned Soil design agency in Boston and  in these episodes the host interview guests from UX field with a specific topic in mind every week, but in a slightly more informal tone. However they also offer a slightly a multi-part series, where for example the y have a multi part series on how to design your UX career, and a another one how to create a successful product, which makes this podcast an excellent resource for students of UX.

Average episode duration: 40 minutes 

Recommended episode:Designing the Future/ Designing for Space Exploration with NASA’s Jesse Kriss 

This list will hopefully provide you with a starting point in your quest for UX podcasts. The majority of them are US-based (with a very ‘Silicon Valley’ flavour to them),  the medium of podcasts will continue to grow and we will soon see a UK-based podcast series on user experience design.

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