Steve interviewed by dscout for People Nerds

I was interviewed by dscout for their People Nerds blog. Check out Finding the ‘Aha!’ Moment!

Expert user researcher Steve Portigal breaks down why thinking about bias and mistakes is the key to joyful discovery.

Steve Portigal says being a researcher allows him to do things he would never do as his “civilian self.” A self-proclaimed introvert, Portigal recalls the kind of uncanny magic of going to dinner with a friend who’s particularly extroverted. “We joke about all of the service experiences and interactions it unlocks,” he says.

The structure of research work, Portigal says, allows him to have those kinds of interactions, the ones he’d normally feel locked out of in everyday life. It’s why he posits introverts are so common in the research field.

“Introversion’s not about shyness or dislike of people,” Portigal says. “It’s about energy. One of the coping mechanisms for introversion is to play a role. And in a research situation, there’s that kind of structure to talk to strangers and ask them questions and learn about them, and do all of the things you’d never be able to do as your civilian self.”


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