Zuko Blog

22 UX Thought Leaders to Follow

A list of UX Influencers to inspire and inform your optimization work

Whilst at Zuko we focus primarily on form related UX, analytics and optimization, we do like to keep an eye on the broader UX space and check out the latest trends and research.

There is so much content out there on the topic that it can feel overwhelming. But a curated list of UX thought leaders can help you reduce the noise and find valuable insights, the latest research + stories from the front lines. 

Below, in no particular order, we’ve listed 22 of our favourite thought leaders across various UX and CRO disciplines who share exciting content that we're sure will be valuable to you.

UX Influencer - Ioana Teleanu

Talks about: UX, product growth, and technology. 

Ioana is the Senior Product Designer at UiPath and co-host of Honest UX Talks. Ioana has built several design communities, such as UX Goodies, with over 200k followers on Instagram and founded a UX Bootcamp—Mento Design Academy. 

Alongside design advice, Ioana shares her experiences of transitioning into UX later in her career, motherhood, and introspection on her career development. 

Follow Ioana on LinkedIn or Instagram.

UX Influencer - Adam Silver

Talks about: Form design, accessibility, and design systems.

Adam is an interaction designer who literally wrote the book on web forms. He shares insights and learnings from his 20-year career working with multiple UK government agencies.

Follow Adam on LinkedIn or Twitter and check out his book, Form Design Patterns

UX Inluencer - Torrey Podmajersky

Talks about: UX writing, content design, and UI copy.

Torrey is the UX Manager and Staff UX Writer at Google. She is the author of Strategic Writing for UX, a practical book which covers the tools you need to build foundational pieces for UI text and UX voice strategy.

Torrey also co-created the UX Writing Fundamentals curriculum for Seattle’s School of Visual Concepts.

Follow Torrey on LinkedIn and check out her book, Strategic Writing for UX.

UX Inluencer - Gyles Morrison

Talks about: Clinical UX strategy, behaviour change, and digital health. 

Dr Gyles Morrison is a rare breed of doctor who transitioned into healthcare UX full-time. Gyles works with healthcare companies to make products and services which clinicians and patients value. 

Gyles founded The Black UX Society and Clinical UX Association, a global community of clinicians, UX specialists, and IT professionals that offers the world's first and only online Clinical UX course.

Follow Gyles on LinkedIn. 

UX Influencer - Stephanie Walter

Talks about: Enterprise UX, user journey mapping and inclusive design.

Stéphanie is a UX research and design consultant specialising in enterprise UX—bridging the gap between users and businesses. Stéphanie co-organises UX in Lux and is the author of "User Journey Mapping." She also writes a fantastic blog with a ‘Pixels of the Week’ feature, sharing curated articles, resources, and tools. 

Follow Stéphanie on LinkedIn and check out her blog

UX Influencer - Tommy Geoco

Talks about: UI design, product design, and content marketing.

Tommy has spent the last 13 years designing user experiences and taking digital products to market. He founded and shipped five products with Sequoia-backed exits and built design teams and systems for early-stage, mid-market, and Fortune 500 companies. He is now focused on educating the next generation of competitive product designers.

Tommy published the workbook ‘Making Design Decisions,’ a step-by-step process for making good design decisions quickly.

Follow Tommy on LinkedIn and sign up for his newsletter.

UX Influencer - Abi Hough

Talks about conversion killers, accessibility, and usability.

Abi has spent 20 years working in UX and optimisation. She finds conversion killers, conducts user research and runs optimisation programs while focusing on accessibility and digital inclusion.

Her journey into the world of UX started when she saw her first usability lab session, where people struggled to use what she’d built. She advocates for accessibility, having experienced first-hand the inequality caused by inaccessible web experiences.

Abi was kind enough to run a conversion killers session for forms with Zuko.

Follow Abi on LinkedIn to keep up to date with her UX Autopsy series.

UX Influencer - Adham Dannaway

Talks about: UI design, design systems, and design tips. 

Like his profile picture, there are two sides to Adham—design and development, and this design concept led to Adham going viral in 2008. Adham often shares his nearly two decades of experience with quick, practical, and powerful UI guidelines anyone can follow. 

Follow Adham on LinkedIn and read his book, Practical UI.

UX Influencer - Andy Budd

Talks about: design leadership, personal development, and startups. 

Andy was an early pioneer of Web Standards, popularised by his blog and best-selling book, CSS Mastery. He set up the UK's first dedicated UX agency, Clearleft, and multiple UX conferences (dConstruct, UX London and Leading Design.)

Today, Andy is working as a venture partner at Seedcamp to ensure early-stage startups understand the importance of design. He also spends time coaching and mentoring others. 

Follow Andy on LinkedIn or Twitter. 

UX Influencer - Paula Angela Escuadra

Talks about: inclusion, sustainability, and game design 

Paula is a senior UX strategist at Xbox Game Studios Publishing. She is also a Co-Founder of The International Game Developers Association Climate Special Interest Group (IGDA CLIMATE SIG), which helps climate councils in every major game company to take action. 

As a sustainability champion, Paula works to define and measure what it means to engage in end-to-end sustainable game development. To help others in the field, Paula co-authored The Environmental Game Design Playbook, “a groundbreaking research paper that explicitly connects environmental psychology to best practices in game design…” 

Follow Paula on LinkedIn and download The Environmental Game Design Playbook.

UX Influencer - Kevin Liang

Talks about: User research, UX design, and leadership.

Kevin is a self-taught UX-er who ran research projects from his local Starbucks to gain experience. Kevin landed jobs at Google on the Android Wear smartwatch team and at Volkswagen, researching how people interacted with autonomous vehicles. He co-founded a research method and holds patents for his work.  

Outside of work, Kevin helps aspiring UX researchers land their dream job in the industry through his YouTube channel, Zero to UX, and an intensive 20-week UX Research master class. 

Follow Kevin on LinkedIn or YouTube

UX Influencer - Elijah Woolery

Talks about: Product design, design thinking, and entrepreneurship.

Elijah is a Lecturer at Stanford University teaching advanced product design and the Senior Director of Collaboration at InVision, where he helps large enterprises collaborate more intelligently.

Elijah also co-hosts the Design Better Podcast, where John Maeda, Debbie Millman, Seth Godin, Jason C. Mayden, and John Cleese have appeared as guests. 

Elijah created The Design Thinking Handbook, written for InVision, which is also used in the curriculum at UC Berkeley’s Jacobs Institute for Design.

Follow Elijah on LinkedIn and catch up on the Design Better podcast.

UX Influencer - Michele Ronsen

Talks about: User research, design thinking, and human-centred design 

Michele has a broad background in graphics, product, packaging, merchandising, retail, and service design. She’s a strong advocate for human-centred and socially responsible design. 

Michele has taught MBA students and professionals how to conduct user research, which she believes is a mix of art, science, and improv.

Follow Michele on LinkedIn and check out her blog.

UX Influencer - Noam Segal, PhD

Talks about: User research, personal development, and leadership. 

Noam is no stranger to building and leading research teams, with experience at Twitter, Airbnb and Meta. As Research Manager at Meta, he supports key initiatives in Facebook's Research Center of Excellence. 

Beyond this, Noam offers to take followers on "UX Quests" through the content, courses, communities, and coaching he provides. He also sells some funny UX-related merch and owns the website npsistheworst.com.

Follow Noam on LinkedIn or Twitter. 

UX Influencer - Tarah Srethwatanakul

Talks about: product strategy, UX research, and behaviour change. 

Tarah has previously worked as a UX researcher at Meta across various product teams, including WhatsApp, Novi, Facebook Groups, and Workplace. Today, Tarah is the Senior UX Researcher at Monzo Bank and is passionate about building products for underserved users, working on zero-to-one products, and informing product strategy. 

Tarah has mentored extensively for UXPA, Hexagon UX, Women@ Facebook, and UX Coffee Hours and created a fantastic resource for people new to UX research.

Follow Tarah on LinkedIn

UX Influencer - Thorsten Jonas

Talks about: sustainable UX, usability, and user experience. 

Thorsten has spent over 15 years in UX, service design, and strategy consulting. But after suffering from burnout, he quit his job to focus on the significant issues we face as humans.

Thorsten started a global initiative and community called SUX—the Sustainable UX Network to promote sustainable UX within the digital creative community.

Follow Thorsten on LinkedIn and check out SUX.

UX Influencer - Sarah Doody

Talks about: UX jobs, user research, and UX design. 

Sarah is the Founder and CEO of Career Strategy Lab, where she helps high-performing UX professionals future-proof their careers and get hired.

Sarah has held many user experience and product strategy roles, working with companies such as WeWork, General Assembly, and CitiBike. Sarah frequently talks and teaches workshops worldwide, including UX London, StartCon in Australia, UXLX in Portugal, Productized in Portugal, AIGA National Conference in Minneapolis, The Family in Berlin, INDUSTRY in Cleveland, and many more.

Follow Sarah on LinkedIn or Twitter.

UX Influencer - Tony Moura

Talks about: Lean UX, UX architecture, and technology. 

Tony has spent almost 30 years in UX, within roles spanning the public sector (The Federal Reserve, Library of Congress, and GSA) to commercial work for Bank of America, Meijer, and Home Depot. Currently, Tony is Federal Garage Lead and Senior UX Architect at IBM.

Tony shares stories about implementing LeanUX at various companies and changing corporate culture. When Tony has the time, he shares links to Zoom meetings and offers to hang out and chat with UX folk, review portfolios and be a sounding board for designers. 

Follow Tony on LinkedIn. 

 

UX Influencer - Vitaly Friedman

Talks about: usability, accessibility, and design patterns.

Vitaly started as a web designer back in 1999 and went on to launch Smashing Magazine. Today Vitaly is focused on consulting, editing Smashing Magazine, and running front-end/UX workshops.

He shares an incredible wealth of valuable information with UX designers at any career stage. 

Follow Vitaly on LinkedIn or Twitter.

UX Influencers - Debbie Levitt

Talks about: UX, product-market fit, and customer-centricity.

Debbie is known as “The Mary Poppins of UX.” Since 1995, she has worked in CX, UX interaction design, usability, process flows, IA, research, and testing.

As well as being the founder of Delta CX, Debbie teaches and trains teams on how transforming businesses towards customer-centricity improves everything—user outcomes, satisfaction, loyalty, staff morale, and process efficiency, all while being more Agile and Lean. 

Debbie has over 600 videos on her company YouTube channel and is live 2-4 times per week, offering viewers the chance to ask her anything. 

Follow Debbie on LinkedIn or YouTube.

UX Influencer - Cal Thompson

Talks about: service design, digital health, and UX teams. 

Cal is currently the Vice President of User Experience at Headspace Health, leading teams of designers to build digital and physical products and services that shift human health, behaviour and culture. Cal provides an inside look at how the design team works together to create inclusive and compassionate mental health products. 

Follow Cal on Linkedin.

UX Influencer - Jeffrey Zeldman

Talks about: web design, leadership, and remote work.

Nicknamed the “King of Web Standards” by Bloomberg Businessweek, Jeffery is the Principal Designer at Automattic, Inc. and founded A List Apart in 1998.

Jeffrey also co-founded the multi-city user experience design conference An Event Apart with Eric Meyer. Most notably, Jeffrey wrote the foundational web standards text, Designing With Web Standards, currently in a 3rd Edition and translated into 15 languages.  

Follow Jeffery on LinkedIn

Did we miss someone who should be on this list? 

Is there a top notch UX expert you think we should be featuring? Let us know and we'll add them to this list or an upcoming article.

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