Steve Fadden: Research Lead, Google & Lecturer for UC Berkeley; on his blended experience in technology & academia; learning, positionality, ethics – The Human Show Podcast 49

Steve Fadden: Research Lead, Google & Lecturer for UC Berkeley; on his blended experience in technology & academia; learning, positionality, ethics – The Human Show Podcast 49




Steve Fadden is a Research Lead at Google, where he serves as manager for the Measurement UX Research team. He is also on the faculty as a Lecturer for the School of Information, University of California, Berkeley, where he teaches User Experience Research in the Spring semesters. He received his Ph.D. in Engineering Psychology (Human Factors) from the University of Illinois in 1999, where he studied cognitive and perceptual factors associated with navigation (especially head-up display design), decision making, air traffic control, reading, and task switching.  Steve has worked in industry (Salesforce, Dell, Intel, PeopleSoft, Lockheed), consulting (Booz Allen Hamilton), and academia (Landmark College Institute for Research & Training), serving in both management and individual contributor positions. In addition to his work in analytics, Steve has had the opportunity to work in consumer technology, financial operations, network security, intelligence analysis, and aviation and transportation. He has worked with a number of clients and organizations to research and develop solutions to address the needs of people with diverse learning profiles, such as students with disabilities and those from undeserved environments. In the past, Steve has been fortunate to have the opportunity to teach at George Mason University, Brigham Young University, Landmark College, and Marlboro College Graduate School.

In today’s episode we talk to Steve about his blended experience in both the technology sector and the educational field; the individual and collective manners in which people (both consumers and product teams) learn and the challenges of addressing that in an inclusive way; how learning happens in a multidisciplinary team; implicit vs explicit knowledge transmission; how to read and incorporate implicit messages into projects; 3 principles of incorporating ethics into product development; how to address the positionality of a researcher and the role of collaboration and using questions to re-frame the conversation; 3 pieces of advice for social scientists considering the business sector; advice for business considering to hire social scientists.


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Mentioned in Podcast



Steve’s work:

 Article based on some of Steve’s dissertation work:

Fadden, S., Ververs, P. M., & Wickens, C. D. (2001). Pathway HUDs: Are They Viable? Human Factors, 43(2), 173–193.


Coverage from academic grant and consulting work:

Marchand, Ashley. (March 7, 2010). 2-Year Colleges Help Learning-Disabled Students Break Into Math and Science, The Chronicle of Higher Education.  

Retrieved from

Maimin, Sybil. (December, 2006). Research in Learning Disorders at Landmark College, Education Update Online.

Retrieved from


Industry research on role of color in analytics:

Fadden, Steve & Geyer, Mark. (May 1, 2018). Two Fascinating Things Salesforce Discovered when it Studied Color. Retrieved from:

Fadden, Steve. (May 19, 2018). Color Affects Performance — What Salesforce’s Latest Design Studies Reveal. Retrieved from:


Other interviews with Steve:

CanvasFlip blog post (June 24, 2017). Steve Fadden on his journey of user experience.

A Q&A session to learn from his experiences as a UX practitioner, lecturer and a mentor. Retrieved from:

Abhay Vohra’s NetSolutions blog post (October 15, 2018). Designing for the Whole Human: User Research and the Impact of Emerging Technology

Retrieved from:


Social media and other links:


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