We welcome Victor to the Intuitive family by subjecting him to Bio Feature. We figured we’d take this opportunity to get to know him better along with you. He’s joining our research team and teaching us all how to orally spell OHIO the correct way. I’ll let him explain himself…
What is your role here at Intuitive, if you can quickly define it?
Well, my title here is Usability Researcher and Strategist and my role is to really bring the voice of users to the table when it comes to design. Find out what people want, are interested in, and deliver that to the design team as well as clients.
So you’re the voice of the user in the room with design.
I would like to think that’s what it is.
“I speak for the people.” So, you’re coming to us from Ohio?
Ohio, Columbus, OH. Not exactly the big city, but it’s a city. I’ve lived in Columbus for 15 years. I went to school there at Ohio State, so I guess I’m technically a Buckeye. It’s not where I grew up, but I definitely transplanted. I think you have to, if you’re going to stay in Ohio very long, you have to embrace the Buckeye culture.
It’s in the water, you just slowly become…
Yeah, you become shaped like a large nut. If you’ve ever seen Brutus Buckeye, that’s their mascot; a large nut with legs, like an acorn with legs.
Like the Planter’s Peanut guy?
Cooler than that. I think it should be what you are for Halloween this year.
So, what prompted this major transition? You aren’t just starting a new employ; you’re completely uprooting your entire life here to Philadelphia.
I am. This is all a big and exciting thing, so if I look calm, I’m really not. I’m relocating to Philadelphia, like I said, I put roots down in the central Ohio area and so that’s a big deal. I’m recently engaged, so my fiancé’s going to be moving with me. She’s going to be offered a job in the next week, I’m pretty certain, so that will get us here faster and I’m actually, I guess, switching fields. I’ve not been a completely focused on design or usability researcher. My background is a lot more broadly based in just research. The research I’ve done has always been focusing on people or sort of a psychological bent to it. What do people want and how do they respond? So I feel that that transfers across fields.
Creating surveys and interviews transfers across fields, but a lot of the topics I’ve been involved with in the past were around informal learning of people; what happens in settings like science centers or museums. Believe it or not, they try to evaluate that and determine if people are getting the message they put out there. It’s all very subversive. [Laughs]
Well, it’s the same thing; kind of figuring out people’s needs and wants and then the best way to send them a message, you’re just doing it digitally now.
Right, and I hope I do a good job at it because I’m super excited.
It’s pretty rad.
Yeah, it’s definitely cutting edge stuff, so that’s exciting. And I think that IC seems like a really good opportunity. I see everyone here is really into the collaborative approach. Other than you, most people have been really nice to me and welcoming.
You know what, I take that as a compliment. I appreciate it…
[Laughs] The research you mentioned and that we do, from my perspective, it often comes from the same place. You’re really just telling a story. So like for the more observational research in a museum, you’re observing the user’s narrative; what they’re learning, what they want to get from what they’re looking at, etc. Then trying to match or reconcile that with the narrative or goals of the museum, what the museum is trying to teach or tell. We do a similar thing here at IC. A person goes to a website because, at the core of it, they’re there for a specific reason; they want to learn something, look at something, get something done…
So, that’s their narrative. Then you match it with the narrative of the website, what the site is trying to get across.
I think that’s a good summary of that. Ultimately research is about trying to describe something and bring sort of a somewhat generalizable, “if you try this, this is what will work for a decent amount of people.” So, yeah.
It’s fun. And being here with all these smart and technologically savvy people, it’s in the air. You just end up learning more than you ever thought you would.
I know, and I can say cool stuff like, “I work for a software design firm,” but I don’t design any software.
It’s fun. I get to do that. “Yeah, I work for a design firm.”
People get really excited.
“What do you design!?” “Ehhh, I just do the research part….”
Then they just nod their head and slowly walk away. “I’m sorry I talked to that guy.”
“I thought you were important.”
Right. You seemed really cool when you said software. [Laughs]
So, what kinds of things are you most excited about with moving to Philadelphia?
Well, I’m really excited for the whole neighborhood feel of the place. I’ve heard a few people describe it as a city of neighborhoods. I’ve walked the streets and it really does seem that way. Each neighborhood, each area has it’s own feel and it’s own sort of culture, and it’s all really cool. So, I’m looking forward to spending free time, after hours, learning about the different areas of the city. And, you know, I like drinking beer so the bars excite me, but we have bars in Columbus, too.
Yeah, but it’s like a micro-brew mecca here.
Yeah, that seems to be a common thread now. A lot of places that are growing and craft beer is what ties everybody together. What else am I excited about? Music venues, I guess.
There are a butt-load. Not just in Philly, too, it spreads out.
I want to experience the whole butt-load of music venues.
Also, too, Philadelphia is really centralized. You’re within two hours drive from everything. You’re two hours from New York, Atlantic City, DC. You can take sweet weekend trips.
No, you’re right. It makes other places very accessible and I have family on the east coast. My fiancé, her family is in Delaware and I have a lot of family in Maryland, so I don’t know if it’s a good thing or not, but we’ll be closer to them.
Close enough, but far enough?
Yeah. Hopefully, it’s far enough to leave if we know they’re on their way and we’re not interested in being here.
We don’t have to print that…
No, feel free. My mother would probably say the same thing about me, “Oh, he’s moving closer, but far enough away.”
What else are you looking forward to?
I think I’m interested in the Philly sports scene, but I don’t know. I’ve grown up around my sports teams and made allegiances with like, local teams. I love the Washington Redskins because I grew up right outside of DC. I love the Cincinnati Reds because I just started liking baseball when I was in Ohio and that was the team I really gravitated towards. So, I’m excited, but I don’t want to wear the opposing team’s colors and get beaten up or anything.
It’s not as bad as you think. It’s more of a bad rap than anything else, and none of the teams you noted are significant rivals. You should be okay. You’d get a couple of chants or hollers, but other than that, you’ll be fine. I went to an Eagles/Bears game and I was born a Bears fan. I got out alive.
I saw the lunch box
[NOTE: Yes, I do have a Chicago Bears lunchbox and I use the hell out of it.]
We went in full Bears garb and you get a couple of yells, “F you,” “Go home,” but then they smile and share a beer with you because we aren’t rivals.
So, who would be considered a rival? I know football-wise…
Cowboys and Giants.
What about the Phillies? Who are their rivals, is it the Cardinals? Who do people hate when they come to town?
I’m not sure. The Red Sox?
I don’t think you know anything about baseball, Noel.
No. Not really.
What about hockey? The Flyers and the Penguins. Do they hate each other?
Yes. That’s a big one.
That would make sense because both teams are really good.
I’m thinking and I’m stumped, I’ve only been here for 3 years. What is the baseball…
I don’t know. The Phillies are usually really good, not so much this year, but I thought that maybe the Cardinals would be but I guess not.
We can ask. For the purposes of this interview, we can ask and learn together.
Yeah, we should probably not drag the interview on any longer by just trying to figure out who the Phillies’ rivals are.
We both have smartphones, too. We could look it up…
So, I am actually interested in attending some sporting events, I just don’t know if I can be… Oh, you know what I’m really excited for? This is weird, but true, it seems like my fiancé will be offered a job with the University of Pennsylvania. I’m excited to pretend like I have some real affiliation with an Ivy League university.
Right?! How awesome is that?
All my degrees are from state schools but I’m going to be a Quaker to the heart now. You’ll see me with pins, family crest t-shirts. People will ask, “what class were you?” I’ll say something. I’ll have a number. 20-0h-7
[Michael walks by wearing a Phillies shirt]
Oh, let’s ask him! Michael, what would you say are the Phillies biggest rival?
None of us have been able to nail it down.
None of the two of us.
Michael: Hm, Nationals I think. Same division.
No. I have an excuse for not knowing.
I do too.
We should end it there and I’ll ask other real fans who the Phillies rivals are…
No final question or anything? Good. I’m trying to eat.
There isn’t a final answer that can beat that. Enjoy your lunch.
Based on other Phillies fans’ assessment of the question, the most common team mentioned was The Mets. So, apparently they are Philadelphia’s biggest baseball rivals. Trust us, we did the research.