What does nail polish and IBM have in common? Keep reading to find out!

Last month, we hosted a new(ish) type of event for one of our products on the IBM Community — our official forum for customers. We called it the IBM Community Innovation Jam. Our goal was to bring customers into our product-decision making process.

We started on the discussion forum for our data platform product, Cloud Pak for Data.

Tell me more, tell me more!

How did it work? We picked a time for everyone to get onto the Cloud Pak for Data Community discussion forum. I acted as the host of the event and posted prompts every 5 minutes related to different aspects of Cloud Pak…


Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

In many cultures, when a woman decides to marry a man (in a heterosexual relationship), she generally has to decide whether to take his last name or do something else.

I had to make that same choice when accepted my husband’s proposal.

My husband is from Serbia. As in, he was born and raised there. He’s not quite fresh off the boat, as he’s lived here for over a decade, but English isn’t his first language.

His first and last name sound very foreign. Quite a change from my fairly basic English sounding name, Rachel Miles.

When I thought about…


It still exists! (Screenshot of Neopets website taken on October 27, 2020)

Written by someone who learned how to write HTML through Neopets and MySpace

Spoiler alert: Don’t rely on style sheets, even if it’s part of your HTML body

I am far from being a web developer or someone remotely skilled at building a website. I can mess with templates and figure something out, but anything past HTML and CSS is beyond me.

Lately, at work, I started running two different newsletters that I wanted to be embedded directly in an email.

Why not just use a newsletter service or attach it as a PDF?

That would be too simple 😅

No, it’s because I want the emails to come directly from me rather than some external sender that my readers won’t be familiar with. …


Now that I’ve made you hungry, let’s read about building customer relationships!

Tips from a user researcher who has fought the uphill battle.

When working on a product, there’s really only so much you can learn from reading online and talking to your subject matter expert colleagues. It can be so hard to know what someone else has spun a certain way as opposed to what the users truly say.

But then that means you have to actually talk to the people that use your product.

Unless your company has a very sophisticated customer feedback process, getting access to your customers is harder than it sounds.

When you go through design thinking training at IBM, they tell you the best case scenario: every…


Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash

How I’ve leveraged Airtable to create a research repository for my team

You do all this work to run a research study. It takes at least two weeks, sometimes a month or more.

Then what? You create a report of some sort and present it.

Now you’ve got ALL this data that lives all over the place. It might live in documents in your file management system, which all have their own privacy settings and are really hard to navigate.

Imagine if it’s all in one place.

That’s where a research repository comes in.

As a note, for the most part, we run usability, concept, and prototype testing, so that’s where I’m…


We’ve probably all upgraded from hand-written notes (or not! no biggie), but here’s an idea to take even better notes. Photo by Sarah Shaffer on Unsplash

The first time I decided to use Airtable was when I read about the article posted on the Airtable site, “How to build a UX research system that runs on autopilot” and thought, “I want an automated UX research system!”

So then I read about how Tomer Sharon’s team at WeWork set up an Airtable repository and thought that was pretty awesome.

However, all that was more advanced than I was ready for at the time, so I just started with an immediate pain point that I have: I don’t like to type notes in Excel.


Co-written by Ceci Morales and Laura Rodriguez.

Rachel Miles discussing user intents during our initial AI Workshop

Rachel Miles, UX Researcher

At IBM, we have amazing opportunities to work on cool things in addition to our day jobs. Ceci, Laura, and I are all training under the fabulous Jennifer Sukis who is a Design Principal of AI & Machine Learning powering through a self-assigned mission to educate the first batch of designers specialized in Enterprise Design Thinking for AI.

We’ve been reading up and studying about AI and ML use cases, but we applied our knowledge with an AI workshop with the IBM Multicloud Management product and we wanted to share that experience here.


Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

Okay, so I am not a database administrator or necessarily an expert on Db2. I am an IBM employee who helps design tools that go on top of Db2, like Data Server Manager (now called Db2 Management Console), Data Virtualization, and Replication-Based Disaster Recovery.

I thought it might be good to try using Db2 and I was told the only way to get it on my Mac is through Docker.

Well, I tried installing it and ran into some problems, because the Setup instructions assumed a certain level of familiarity with Docker and writing commands in Terminal.

I sought out…

Rachel Miles Sijacic

UX Strategist + Researcher at IBM. Holistic lifestyle coach in training. Self-proclaimed nerd of all trades.

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