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Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown

Design Lead
ANZ Bank
Te-Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand

Ruth loves people. She has spent much of her career understanding how people think, feel and behave. She cares a lot about making things that make people’s lives better. Her first love was engineering, until she realised that people were more interesting than maths. On a good day she gets to do both.

Ruth is a freelance researcher and design leader. She currently works in the design team at ANZ. In the past she has been GM of Design Research at Xero and Head of User Experience at Trade Me.

Upcoming Talks and Workshops

When expertise becomes our achilles heel

We all want to be experts in what we do right? We train, we practice, we keep learning. We even do 10,000 hours of something believing it will make us an expert.

But what if our ‘expertise’ actually comes with some pretty big downfalls. What if experts can be less creative and innovative than their less experienced counterparts? What if they lack flexibility and can be more prone to error?

In this talk, we talk about the paradox of expertise, how it shows up in design (and especially design research), and most importantly what we can do about it.

Past Talks and Workshops

“Bipartisan” UX - a call for the middle ground


We live in a world where political opinions have become more polarised in the last 25 years and social media leads us deeper into our echo chambers. At the time of UXNZ, the US and NZ will have just come out of elections. During elections attempts to understand each other can go out the window, in favour of becoming further entrenched in our own views.

I will explore the reasons behind this polarisation. Why humans are psychologically vulnerable to it, and the way in which the technology we use amplifies it. I’ll give examples of how products (and the UX people behind them) are trying to reverse this trend.

Lastly I'll turn the attention on ourselves - our UX community. Do we fall into the same trap of polarisation?  What do we lose as a community by this polarised thinking and what do we gain from spending more time finding common ground.

In this talk: