Immanuel Goh’s Fascination with UX and Design Research

Immanuel Goh’s Fascination with UX and Design Research 2560 1706 Design Business Chamber Singapore

Tell us a little more about yourself and what do you do at GovTech?

I was formerly a design researcher working on the Singpass App and most recently the Deputy Lead of the newly set up Accessibility Enabling Team focused on helping public officers have improved access to their digital products and making sure no one gets left behind in our Smart Nation journey.

How did you get to learn about the design or UX community?

I got started in design, meddling with Photoshop as a kid, designing stuff for friends and family but I got serious with design when I saw that famous TED Talk by David Kelley of IDEO on Creative Confidence. I was inspired by the power of the human-centred approach to design and I knew that I wanted to be part of such a practice. Since then, I’ve been really blessed to meet amazing UX practitioners in Singapore who have generously shared their lives and practices with me.

What’s your advice for those who are passionate about pursuing a career as a design researcher?

Be bold, curious, patient, and humble. Don’t be afraid to speak with fellow design researchers in the field to learn from them. Don’t worry too much about the latest tools and trends, master the basics — Start small and keep practising the craft of asking good questions, effective note taking and compelling storytelling.

Lastly, a pack of sticky notes, a pen and an inquisitive spirit are your best tools (and they never run out of battery).

Immanuel (Manny) shares how design meddling during his formative years has evolved into the monumental task of ensuring no one gets left behind in our Smart Nation journey. 

What do you love most about your job?

I get the privilege to hear and hold the diverse stories of the people of Singapore and represent them by retelling their stories to our product leaders and teammates.

I remember one interview I had with an elderly uncle, he looked me in the eye and said: “Boy, thank you for taking time to listen to me and taking my feedback.” He never experienced a research interview before and felt touched to have a young person actively listen to him and represent his thoughts. I don’t get many moments like this, but this one really stuck with me and keeps me going.

What’s your advice for those who are passionate about pursuing a career as a design researcher?

Be bold, curious, patient, and humble. Don’t be afraid to speak with fellow design researchers in the field to learn from them. Don’t worry too much about the latest tools and trends, master the basics — Start small and keep practising the craft of asking good questions, effective note taking and compelling storytelling.

Lastly, a pack of sticky notes, a pen and an inquisitive spirit are your best tools (and they never run out of battery).  

Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing?

I enjoy running and I love being a dad and caring for my baby girl! Interestingly, these were two blessings that came out from this pandemic. I started running in 2020 to get out of the house after hours of working from home. And my beautiful baby girl made her debut in 2021 and brought a lot of joy to the family. 

How important is rest and being part of a community mean to you? 

There are many articles extolling the importance of rest. I’ve learnt very recently to move beyond reading about rest to actually practising rest — and not just for my body but for my mind and soul. While I try my best to clock 8 hours of sleep, could I also clock at least 2 hours of not worrying a day? (I’m still trying HAHA!). 

Being part of a community is a reminder for me to recognise there’s beauty and abundance in diversity, there’s something about being among persons different from you yet finding common ground. It is also a reminder to me that ‘help’ is a four-letter word that I’m allowed to say.

What made you join dbcs circle?

Some of the amazing design practitioners I’ve met and learnt from are part of dbcs—so it wasn’t hard for me to want to be part of this community. It is also a way for me to give back to the design community for the blessing it has been to me.


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