Advancing the Value of Ethnography

Defining Hybrid User Research: Practices for Distributed and Remote-First Environments


Over the past 2.5 years, researchers have had to become more resilient and adaptable in how they conduct research. Now that things are bouncing back, we’re at a crossroads in deciding what the future of user research looks like. In this panel, leading members of Spotify’s product insights community will discuss different perspectives on how researchers have adapted from face-to-face research to remote settings, and the adaptations we intend to keep in a hybrid practice. We will contemplate how this hybrid practice can morph depending on various topics, such as community making and the audio space. We’ll include some interactive components to encourage dialogue, and it will be a discussion you don’t want to miss!


Audrey Tse is a User Researcher at Spotify working on creating a better Messaging user experience for Spotify listeners across the globe and iterating on the backend systems that fuel those messages. She entered the tech research world after receiving her Master’s in Human Computer Interaction with Ergonomics from University College London 6 years ago. Since then, her professional highlights include conducting AR/VR research at Google and organizing events for Hexagon NYC, a UX group for womxn and non-binary folx. Her interest in art, community, and placemaking are additional sources of inspiration for her work.

Karell McDonald is a Research Operations Specialist at Spotify, who works diligently to provide support and guidance to the User Research, Market Research and Data Science communities. In addition to supporting these disciplines in their craft, she also assists in developing innovative processes and programs that will be useful in their day-to-day work. In December 2020, Karell earned her undergraduate degree from Georgia State University and has been navigating through the tech space ever since! She is passionate about team collaboration, creativity, and learning new skills. One of her favorite quotes is, “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill


Karim Hamdoun is a Senior Researcher at Spotify. His research mainly focuses on growth in the global south, where he explores how Spotify can be more relevant to new audiences and cultures. Before Spotify, Karim spent more than ten years conducting research in the consumer goods field. Outside work, you can find him traveling all over the world, scuba diving, spending time at the beach, trying different foods and experiences, or watching his favorite sports.

Dominika Mazur is a User Research Manager at Spotify. She specializes in research and strategy that supports user growth with a focus on launching Spotify in new markets and ensuring that it reflects the audio culture and local context. Before joining Spotify, she has done user research in both academic and business settings on a variety of topics such as overcoming stereotype threat, managing personal finances, and making charitable donations. Outside of work, you can find her foraging in the forest, practicing aikido, and making mixed media art.

Alexandra McCarter is a Staff User Researcher at Spotify where she specializes in cultural and strategic insights work. Before Spotify, she worked for 5 years as a Digital Strategist and Researcher at a number of creative agencies in London, UK. She received her masters in Modern South Asian History from the University of Cambridge, and brings her academic background in history and aesthetics to her current work in music and online culture.

Sam Way is a computational social scientist and Senior Research Scientist at Spotify. His research explores topics related to the globalization of music and how listener preferences vary over time and space. Prior to working at Spotify, Sam completed his PhD at the University of Colorado Boulder, where his research focused on the sociology of science and the factors that shape the scientific workforce.

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