What Is a UX Researcher | 5 Talks on Your Role as a Researcher
The question seems basic: what is a UX researcher? But to succeed, it’s important to understand what the folks on your team expect of you. Even the most seasoned researchers still use basic exercises to align with their team on goals before setting out to do their work. So ask yourself these questions, and see if you can answer them:
- Who decides what goes into your research roadmap?
- What are my limits as a UX researcher?
- What is a UX researcher supposed to offer their team?
If you find these questions as deceptively simple as I do, then you’re in the right place. Read on to see how the researchers I admire are trying to answer these questions.
1. Get Into Your Product Manager’s Head: Collaboratively Creating UX Research Roadmaps To Maximize Your Impact
One of the biggest challenges we face at work is how to better understand the partners on our team. Here, Zach talks about exercises he does to help him and the PM he works with better support each other’s goals and work together effectively.
About the creator:
Zach works as a UX Researcher at Kira systems where he spends the majority of his time learning about how users wish to share their intellectual property with others. Before working at Kira, Zach was the first UX Researcher at TradeRev where he immersed himself in car dealerships to learn what dealers and customers needed to ensure a fair vehicle purchase. As a natural team player, Zach understands how important collaboration is to do effective UX Research.
Brandi is a seasoned research leader at OpenDoor, where she helps people buy and sell homes online. She examines the importance of understanding the limitations of the human brain when it comes to developing a research practice, and how to compensate for it. Check out this talk for some fascinating ways we misunderstand our own abilities as researchers.
About the creator:
Brandi Luedeman leads the Research and Insights Team at Opendoor, where they’re working to modernize real estate so that buying and selling homes is less awful. Previously, Brandi led research at Goodreads and MyFitnessPal—and she still regularly geeks out about both great books and healthy living. Before working at tech companies, Brandi was trained as an academic psychology and neuroscience researcher at Duke and Harvard. She’s excited to share the top studies that have stuck with her from that time, and how they inform the way she conducts research in industry.
Question: What’s something we don’t talk enough about in research, that has the power to help everyone see our value as researchers?
Naturally, a lot of qualitative-oriented UX researchers are a little uncomfortable with experimentation as a discipline.
But learning more about experimentation, and working on partnering with folks who specialize in experimentation has the potential to fundamentally change the way people see the work we do.
But don’t take my word for it – trust Molly Stevens and Lukas Vermeer of Booking.com. At UXRConf 2021, they talked about the power of the partnership between research and experimentation, and how you can get started too.
About the Creators:
Molly leads Research at Booking.com across multiple areas of their travel marketplace—including guests and partners. Previously, Molly was the Director of Research at Uber, leading a team across the key business verticals around the globe. She’s been in user experience for over 20 years, watching the evolution of technology and its impact on people. She is looking forward to illuminating the power of partnership between research and experimental approaches. #Experimentation+Research=AWESOME.
Lukas is responsible for the internal tooling and training that helps product development at Booking.com improve the customer experience in measurable steps through thousands of experiments. Lukas combines industry experience in online experimentation and Data Science with an academic background in computing science and machine learning. By explaining statistical concepts through compelling stories and concrete examples, Lukas makes statistics accessible for any audience.
If you’re someone focused on personal career growth, you don’t want to wait to practice leadership – you’re going to want to start today. In Carleen’s talk she outlines how, as an individual contributor (IC), you can take a leadership role in shaping and growing the group of people you work with.
About the creator:
Carleen is a UX researcher at Robinhood, where she is working on the Robinhood debit card and studying the relationships between spending, saving, and investing. As an early member of the research team, she is excited to see her team grow. Previously, Carleen has conducted research in academic labs, large companies, and early-stage startups. She can’t wait to talk to you about building a research team from the ground up and tackling complex problems together.
I spent time running alpha and beta programs at North with Ray Kim, and they were always filled with insight and learnings about our users.
But how do you get started with a beta, and why should you put it on your to-do list for 2021? In her talk, Abby Baylen of Later lets you know everything you need to know about running a successful beta program.
About the creator:
Abby Hoy Baylen leads UX Research and UX Copy at Later. Later is a top social media content marketing tool and one of Deloitte’s recent Technology Fast 50 winners. Previously, her attention for the past decade was on leading global research studies for enterprise companies that focused on system usability and enhancing the customer experience. Her ongoing passion is to supply empathy, humor, and glimpses of the human condition through her work.
Thanks for reading, and see you next time.
Alec is a co-founder and the CEO at Learners. He’s worked as a User Researcher at Sciencescape, TWG, and North—before his time as the head of Product at Finaeo and then CEO at UXR Collective. Alec and the other Co-Founders of UXR Collective have long noticed how isolation in the UXR community made growth and connection difficult.
It’s that isolation that ultimately drove Alec and the Learners team to work towards a world with more accessible learning opportunities for everyone.