How to Become a UX Researcher: Insights & Advice From Industry Experts

A Complete Guide to Becoming UX Researcher

A UX researcher’s job is to understand people and uncover insights about a user group to inform and improve a product, its overall design, and the user’s experience with it.

If you are familiar with UX research and want to pursue a career in it, but don’t know where to start, then this guide will help you in developing and establishing your career as a UX researcher.

Let’s get started.

Who is a UX researcher?

Who is UX researcher

A UX researcher is a curious person who loves to answer riddles and problems. If you are an empathetic person and have the ability to come up with creative and feasible solutions to resolve issues, then you have the potential to become a UX Researcher.

As a UX or user experience researcher, you need to think and answer the following questions:

  1. What is the audience that the company caters to?
  2. Where do they come from?
  3. What could be their expectations from the product
  4. Why does the audience want it?
  5. How will the product help them simplify and organize their lives?

All these questions will help to create a strong and moving UX research plan that will help to understand the user’s point of view.

UX Researcher systematically collects the target user’s thoughts and reviews to analyze the data. The insights or results from the data analysis help transform and develop the new product.

Improvising is the best step to climbing the ladders of success. If a company wants to stay in the market and control the industry, it needs to evolve and bring new changes in services and products, so the user does not trail elsewhere.

Guessing with the help of knowledge and experience is a risky game without knowing the odds. When you have the numbers and strategy in your hand, every risk you play in the market will work 100%.

UX Research provides the brand company with the risk they will play in the market with a planned and researched strategy.

What are the skills required in UX Research?

Skills required in UX research

Here are the skills that the companies want in the candidates applying for UX Researcher:

  • Communication skills
  • Design thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Curiosity
  • Teamwork and collaboration

So, if you are a person who loves technology and has a way with numbers and data, moreover loves to read and decipher people’s minds, then UX Research is the job for you!

Techniques used by UX experts to conduct UX research

Here are the techniques and procedures used by UX experts to collect the data from resources and transform data into fruitful information:

UX and Design Thinking

Design thinking is a broad framework that UX researchers use to find an effective solution to resolve the set of problems faced by the users. After defining the problem solution, the UX researchers brainstorm the possible solutions and build low-budget prototypes.

If you are wondering how to apply design thinking and explore more about it, read our article on how you can use design thinking to optimize business processes.

Decision Mapping

Decision Mapping is a cost-effective method for carrying out the research process. It helps in precisely defining the user expectation from the product and solutions, so the design team can build it efficiently.

It can be used to make decisions from comprehensive ideas (for example you can decide whether or not you should pursue a certain opportunity) to UX-specific problems (like what navigation concept should be included in the app).

Interviews

Interviewing is a straightforward process where the researcher asks the user certain questions about their experience with the product and the services. The feedback collected from the users will help to broaden the understanding of users’ expectations and requirements.

Prototyping

Prototyping is developing a smaller and early version of the idea that would be developed into a full-scale project. It is easier to make changes and modifications in the prototype designs. This technique helps in saving time, energy, and money.

Other methods like usability testing, A/B testing, surveys and questionnaires, and diary studies help conduct research and draw useful information from the data.

What a UX researcher does?

Role of UX researcher

A UX researcher devotes his mind and heart to research to find solutions to imaginary questions. You will have to fidget with numbers gained by conducting different types of research like:

  • Quantitative research collects numbers and uses statistics to find a pattern from them. Quantitative research helps to define the areas where there can be improvisation.
  • Qualitative research focuses on answering the why questions. It helps in finding the users’ difficulties with the product and services.
  • Behavioural research helps predict a user’s pattern on a website or app, like what navigational path they take, where they click on a page, etc.
  • Attitudinal research helps find the user’s feelings regarding an experience with the company’s product and services.

If you are new to UX research, this beginner’s guide to UX research process will help you thoroughly understand the same.

These are some key responsibilities of a UX researcher, and however, the job responsibilities of UX research vary from company to brand. If you want to see the job description, you can browse through the template for UX researchers posted by Toptal.

How to become a UX researcher?

UX research techniques

We often find ourselves in a dilemma where we know what we want and where we want to go, but we do not know how to go to our desired destination.

If you think you do not know how to begin your journey as a UX Researcher, then we’ll guide you to reach your destined goal.

Here are the milestones that you need to achieve to become a professional and skilled UX Researcher:

  1. Mention the problem or design challenge you solved with your research
  2. Mention the techniques used to conduct the research and analyze the data. 
  3. You can even highlight the problems faced during the research and how effectively you overcame the barrier. 
  4. A summary of the research project 
  5. And do not forget to mention the results.

1. Gain the knowledge

Before stepping into the swimming pool, it is essential to do some warm-up exercise. Being familiar with all the tools and concepts used in UX research is necessary. The Internet has everything for you; you can get access to free resources and online courses to master UX research skills. 

2. Work on your user research skills

After learning about the concepts and methods to perform UX research, try to use the knowledge on different platforms to gain confidence and more control over your skills. 

You can obtain professional certificates and enroll in UX research courses for specialization. Moreover, you can work on projects like carrying out A/B testing or analysing UX survey data to enhance your skills. 

3. Develop your Portfolio

It is essential to build a strong and integrated portfolio because your portfolio speaks more about your achievements and skills. Highlight the vital things that make you different from the crowd, like:  

  1. Mention the problem or design challenge you solved with your research
  2. Mention the techniques used to conduct the research and analyze the data. 
  3. You can even highlight the problems faced during the research and how effectively you overcame the barrier. 
  4. A summary of the research project 
  5. And do not forget to mention the results. 

4. Build your network

Your network will help you to learn what is trending in the world and will give you a fresh and new perspective to solve problems.

You can build your network by attending conferences and meetings regarding developments in UX research. Look forward to meeting the pioneering people in the emerging-tech industry. People and the world have the power to teach you things in a way that books would never do.

To become a UX researcher, you do not need to worry about your major subjects. In UX research, theoretical knowledge stays afar, and practical knowledge is what comes into use. So, you do not need special background education to become a UX researcher.

If you have a technology and behavioural sciences degree, everything works, but all you need is the skills and determination to become a UX professional researcher. 

Conclusion

Equipping yourself with the necessary skills and knowledge, and learning to conduct UX research like a professional, while surrounding yourself with peers in the field who you can learn from is essential to becoming a UX researcher yourself.

Overall, the value of understanding the needs of the customer cannot be ignored, and user experience researchers will have an increasingly valuable role to play in the future of design.

If you’d like to learn more about UX research, you will find these helpful:

A Complete Beginner’s Guide to UX Research Process

Planning an Effective UX Research | A Complete Step by Step Guide

Importance of User Research for Enterprise UX

 


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