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Slightly delayed due to starting 2021 with a nasty dose of COVID (Stay safe, try not to get it, it isn’t nice). I thought I would take this opportunity to write some thoughts about my new role as Research Coach here in the Redgate Product Division and outline some early thoughts and plans for how I see the role progressing and offering value as we tackle the new year. It’s going to be an interesting journey establishing this new role and I hope to blog regularly on how it’s going.

Why introduce a research coach role?

Talking to our customers and testing our ideas, concepts, products…

On the first day of lockdown, when all the decisions to move to work from home, and full-time remotely had been made, I had a new starter, Divya, join me in my team to work alongside me. I was tasked with onboarding her, getting her up to speed, and trying to make the experience of joining a new company and team a good one.

I’ve never done this remotely, nor has anyone else in our workplace, it was kinda short notice that she’d be joining my team and I have to admit I had a lot of concerns about how…

We all know that being able to conduct good Qualitative user research sessions is vital to successful UX and Product Design. However, I’m noticing that many juniors and graduates (along with more experienced people in roles such as development or engineering) struggle to know how to get started with it.

People entering the industry from HCI or other design courses seem to have been taught about its importance, but their portfolios are way more focused on the execution aspect of design rather than identifying the problem or user needs. …

Whether you’re recently graduated, looking for a career change or already working on the fringes of UX, whether through graphic design, a research background or similarly related fields, formally making those first steps (particularly early in your career) into UX or Product Design can be a minefield to navigate.

As part of Redgate’s #NewJobJune, we put the question out to Redgate’s product design team to understand their top tips. We’re a diverse bunch, with different routes into this field, so everyone has something different to offer.

Be a sponge

Learning throughout your UX career is an essential skill and mindset to adopt.

First things first, when breaking into a new industry, you need to be absorbing…

Here in the Redgate Foundry, we’ve been conducting research to understand ways to help data professionals manage their server estates more effectively.

Our aim is to support you in providing a single source of truth about what is happening in your estate, provide foundations for you to build and plan from, and empower you to be more proactive vs reactive in delivering the best service possible to your customers.

Why is this a problem?

From our conversations ,we’ve learned that despite best efforts every estate reaches a point where it’s difficult for people to keep a grip on the ever shifting landscape and complexities of…

Or, how giving yourself time & space unlocks hidden potential in your live sketchnotes.

I’ve been using visual thinking, sketchnotes, and drawing in general to benefit my personal life and professional projects in a multitude of different ways for years. Still, even though they’re now ingrained as a habit, every so often something strikes me out of the blue, an epiphany that reminds me just how powerful visuals can be, in developing understanding and processing information in new and different, but fundamentally connected ways.

Recently I attended one of my employer’s (Redgate Software) community events, the SQL in the City Summit in London. I went for numerous reasons; the opportunity to meet our customers…

I have no idea if I’m a ‘leader’ of anything, and would be very hesitant to make the claim, but I have been reading things about it recently and it’s got me thinking of a few things that I feel are important to support others, might be relevant…

1 ) In EVERY interaction touch upon both personal AND professional wellbeing. The folks we work with are human beings first, their life is more important than the work no matter what anyone says. If they’re not okay in real life, they won’t be okay at work. Make sure you check.


Recently, we in the Foundry Team at Redgate have been looking into how data professionals manage the complexities of their wider data estates. One aspect of this is configuring, deploying and monitoring drift across their numerous servers.

I recently wrote a deep dive into our qualitative research findings that you can read here.

However, alongside our qualitative research, we also conducted a survey, with 95 SQL Server focused professionals in conjunction with the user interviews to further help us develop our understanding of how people within larger organisations approach configuring and deploying their servers.

To try and outline this in…

We are running a survey to delve deeper into our understanding of the points around SQL Server Configuration outlined below, it only takes a few minutes to complete and you can win $100 in vouchers for taking part. To enter please visit the survey here.

SQL Server configuration plays a vital role in health of your SQL Estate. Your needs may vary depending on the purpose of the server, or its role within a business, but a healthy configuration ensures availability and performance for your customers.

We’ve been thinking hard about SQL server configuration in Foundry, Redgate’s R&D division. We…

I previously wrote this article on my 7 main uses for sketching in UX, and this article on how I went about self publishing my personal side project graphic novel The Eelman Chronicles, however, for this article I’d like to take a slightly deeper dive into how I combine the sketching for UX projects, and comic strips, in order to bring concepts to life in order to test potential future workflows and ideas.

A simple UX Journey in comic book form

Increasingly we’re reading about the benefits of sketching and all UXer’s know the value, (especially in the ideation stage of a project ) of scribbling down as…

Chris Spalton

#Sketchnotes, #creative #UX #design consultant at @redgate_ux Underground music fan, and #Eelmanchronicles #comics creator.

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