UX Research That Serves Communities 

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In a difficult and challenging time for society as we know it, we believe it's crucial to shed light on those working in research roles that help others in need.

So we brought together researchers at local, state, and federal groups & nonprofits to share how their research serves their target communities—and how yours can better serve your audience, too.

Learn how their work impacts lives and livelihoods, how it's shaped by the unique and transformative moment we're living through, and thoughtful strategies to ensure your research makes a difference.

Bring your questions for the Q&A!

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Meet the speakers


taranamol kaur
Researcher, Code for America

Taranamol is a design researcher with Code for America’s GetCalFresh team, where she spends her day advocating for a more inclusive people-centered safety net. She does this through centering all decisions and work around clients and their experience within the food benefits system.

Her thoughtful design & research has allowed her to serve many different spaces, such as transportation, education, social justice, and community organizing.

Taranamol also works to create sustainable solutions within the Sikh Panjabi community through her work with organizations such as Jakara Movement. She holds a BA in Political Science and International Development with a minor in English from UC San Diego.


Aditi Rao
Senior Researcher & Designer, 18F

Aditi is a Senior Researcher & Designer and co-lead of the Research Guild at 18F, an office of the US General Services Administration (GSA) that works with a variety of federal agencies to improve the user experience of government services for all people. Her work is driven by a deep curiosity, undergirded by a culture-based, human-centered focus, and embedded in a contextual, systems-oriented, collaborative approach.

Aditi has a diverse background with experience in service design and strategy, ethnographic research, UX design, urban design and architecture, and web development. In her spare time, she loves exploring urban green spaces, playing the piano and singing, and volunteering with community advocacy organizations.

Aditi holds dual master’s degrees in
Architecture and City Planning from
UC Berkeley.



Nate Mahoney
Senior User Researcher,
City & County of San Francisco

Nate is a design and UX researcher with a background in video ethnography. He enjoys collaborating with designers and product teams and use visual storytelling to organize recommendations into compelling deliverables.

He and his team at San Francisco Digital Services works with other City departments to improve public services. They use technology to make it easier for people to use critical city services such as: COVID-19 response, affordable housing, small business support, legal aid for immigrants, and more.

Nate has an MFA in Design from the California College of the Arts.



Moderated by
Ben Wiedmaier
Research Evangelist, dscout

Ben is the research evangelist at dscout, where he spreads the “good news” of contextual research, helps customers understand how to get the most from dscout, and hones impressions of his coworkers.

He has a doctorate in communication studies from Arizona State University, studying “nonverbal courtship signals”, a.k.a. flirting. (No, he doesn’t have dating advice for you.)

Curious about the world where design and research meet, Ben transitioned to the user-experience space.

Today, he leverages his doctoral training to create, organize, and deliver content focused on evangelizing human-centeredness in design and research.

What's covered

Taranamol, Nate, and Aditi will share:

  • How their work is different than traditional, business- and capital-focused research
  • How the COVID-19 pandemic and response to police brutality are shaping their work
  • Strategies for making UX and design practices at your org community and service minded

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