What is a UX Researcher?
User Experience Researchers (UX Researchers) conduct in-depth studies of potential customers in order to gather and evaluate information that may be used throughout the product development stage.
The goal of a user experience (UX) researcher (also “User Researcher” or “Design Researcher”) is to discover insights about humans in order to direct the design process.
UX Researchers aid in providing insights that are both actionable and relevant, based on data that reflects the opinions of a wide range of users. As a UX Researcher you will usually work with the development, design, and marketing teams to assess the present and future user research requirements that will enhance product definition and propel company objectives. If you’re naturally inquisitive and love working in teams, a job in UX Research might be a fantastic fit for you. It’s a lucrative position in a high-demand field.
Some of the responsibilities that you may have as a UX Researcher include:
- Planning your research carefully and making sure you know exactly what you want to accomplish.
- Developing research-screening tools and topic agendas for usability studies.
- Finding potential participants in research studies that fit a given profile.
- Implementing individual basic usability testing sessions, moderated by a trained moderator.
- Getting involved in the creation and administration of quantitative surveys.
- Speaking with clients and stakeholders.
- Obtaining information about user habits through web instrumentation software.
- Converting user insights into actionable product recommendations for the product team
- Developing “information radiators,” such as personas and journey maps, to share data with the rest of the design and development teams.
- Delivering well-structured reports on design study findings to the wider team.
- Collaborating closely with the product group to establish research goals.
- Developing a strategy for your research and committing to it.
The UK national average salary for a User Experience Researcher is £60,463 , ranging from £32,000 to £113,000. The average salary for London based UX Researchers is £63,131, ranging from £36,000 to £112,000.
Working hours and work location
As a UX Researcher, most of the time, you’ll be in the office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. However, there may be some work on weekends and in the evenings to meet deadlines. In this field, there are short-term contracts, part-time jobs, and opportunities to work independently.
What to expect
When you do UX Research, you will be better equipped to provide people with the greatest solutions since you will know precisely what they require. UX Research may be used at any level of the design process. UX Researchers frequently begin with qualitative assessments to discover the motivations and demands of users. They may later utilise quantitative measurements to validate their findings. To do effective UX Research, you must collect data from your users in a systematic manner. It is critical to use procedures that are appropriate for the objective of your study and provide the clearest information. Then, you may evaluate your findings to incorporate useful ideas into your design.
UX Research has two subsets:
- Qualitative Research — Interviews and ethnographic field studies help you understand why users do what they do (e.g., why they missed a call to action, why they feel how they do about a website). You can interview a small number of people to learn about their workout routines. Usability testing monitors (e.g.) users’ stress responses. Research qualitatively. As it includes non-numerical data (ideas, motives), your personal opinions may impact conclusions.
- Quantitative Research- Using structured approaches (surveys, analytics), you acquire quantitative data about user behaviour and evaluate qualitative research hypotheses. You might ask users, “How many hours do you work out each week?” in an online poll. This data can reveal user patterns. With a big enough sample of representative test users, you can more accurately estimate the target demographic. With good study design, you may collect objective data unbiased by your presence, personality, or assumptions. Quantitative statistics can’t provide human understanding.
Additionally, e UX Research we may be divided into two other categories:
- Attitudinal: you pay attention to what users say, like in interviews.
- Behavioural: through observational research, you can examine what consumers do.
You may typically obtain the clearest understanding of a design challenge when you combine attitudinal and behavioural techniques with quantitative and qualitative research.
UX Research, like many other aspects of UX design, is still in its infancy. As a result, there is no single defined path leading to a career in UX Research. Some UX Researchers are self-taught, while others come from different fields. Consider a degree in one of the following fields while you pursue your own professional path:
- Computer-human interaction
- Statistics, often known as applied statistics
- Information Technology
- Information systems
- Software development
- Industrial design.
This may appear to be a wide range. In reality, UX Researchers come from many walks of life. Many people may not have ever heard of UX until they were well out of college. Don’t worry if you already hold a degree in an unrelated field. There are various methods to improve your UX abilities.
Successful UX Researchers frequently acquire a set of abilities that allow them to successfully obtain insight about present and potential consumers. If you're thinking about a career in UX Research, these are just a handful of the skills you should work on right now.
must have skills:
- Design thinking: Each stage of the design thinking process—empathise, define, ideate, prototype, and test—allows us to understand more about the target consumers.
- Collaboration: As a UX Researcher, you’ll frequently collaborate with developers, designers, product managers, and other stakeholders to bring the greatest product to market.
- Communication skills: A large part of the job entails collaborating with a design team and talking with study participants in order to answer research questions.
- Problem solving: Considering what questions you want to address with your study might help you choose the best approach.
- Empathy: Understanding a user’s expectations, frustrations, goals, and reasoning process might aid in the development of solutions to real-world user demands.
- Curiosity: Curiosity may lead to insightful questioning and the discovery of important insights.
There are four major phases to establishing a career in UX Research:
- Increase your understanding of user research- Begin with the fundamentals and learn all there is to know about UX design, then discover the vital function UX Research plays in UX Design. Learn the distinctions between qualitative, quantitative, attitudinal, and behavioural research. Following that, you may become acquainted with several typical UX Research methodologies, such as card sorting, usability testing, and user interviews. Before you commit to becoming a UX Researcher, you should study everything you can about the industry and the position.
- Acquire the fundamental abilities.- If you want to pursue a career in UX Research, you need to start by mastering some of the essential skills. Before diving into real-world issue solving, like with any job, it’s critical to lay a firm foundation of knowledge. There are several ways to acquire the principles of user research if you already have some understanding in a relevant field (cognitive science, sociology, psychology, etc.). These include books, online resources, conferences and meetups.
- Create an experience portfolio- As with any design position, a strong portfolio is essential for demonstrating your qualifications.Keep a record of your work to offer to potential employers as you practice developing your talents. When presenting case studies that demonstrate hiring managers what you can achieve, creating an online portfolio is a terrific addition to a resume or CV.
Finally, your portfolio should have the parts listed below:
- The problem or design challenge that your study sought to address.
- The group with whom you worked.
- The research procedure (how did you solve the problem?).
- The tools you utilised to recruit candidates, gather and evaluate data, and deliver findings.
- The final result and design handoff for development.
- Create a peer network- You’re learning the necessary skills and developing your portfolio. It’s now time to network! One of the greatest methods to meet individuals in the UX sector and perhaps acquire a new job is to network.
- If you’re already working, see if there are any user experience researchers in your company and ask them how it’s doing! Request to shadow them and take notes during a research session as well.
- Informational interviews are also an excellent approach to obtain frank feedback from employees at reputable organisations such as IBM, Google, or Amazon. Using LinkedIn or Twitter to discover and invite UX Researchers for coffee is a great way to get a sense of what it’s like to work for your target organisation, as well as how to get in the door.
- Participate actively in online UX communities (for example, Facebook groups) that are related to your professional interests and learning objectives. Here are a few examples to get you started:
Finally, join 1-2 user experience research groups, such as the User Experience Research Professionals Association or the Design Research Society, to find out about forthcoming events.
A career in UX not only gives excellent freedom, but also fantastic job satisfaction. There are a few different paths that can be followed. The technical route is one, while the management route is the other.
- Technical Career Advancement
- Managerial Career Development
This career path may be ideal for you if you think you’re skilled at leading teams and managing people. From UX designer to UX manager to UX director, you may advance your career in this way. You may follow this route and end up as the vice president of user experience.You’ll assume a more commercially focused role and help with hiring, allocating resources, and inspiring the team. Strong interpersonal skills and a natural aptitude for leadership are prerequisites for this route.
The University of the West of Scotland teaches this program at their London Campus, so you’ll be studying at the heart of the UK’s VFX industry. This one-year, full-time curriculum is for students who have no prior expertise with computers or information technology. The course will help you learn much-needed IT expertise to help you prepare for a job as a UX Researcher.