UX Researcher vs UX Designer: Roles & Differences Explained

UX researcher vs. UX designer: Roles & differences explained

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Roles and Difference between UX Researcher and UX Designer

When you think of UX design, what comes to mind?

You can picture someone before a computer screen, designing your next favorite app or website.

And you’re right—that is the job description for a UX designer.

But did you know that there’s another person involved in the product development process? This person works with the UX designer to ensure the final product is user-centered and meets the target audience’s needs. 

Both collaborate to ensure the product is designed with the user in mind.

UX researchers study users and their needs, developing ideas on how to improve the user experience.

They often use various methods, such as surveys, interviews, and usability testing, to gather information to ensure that designers create products that people will use and enjoy.

Although some research aspects can be handled by UX designers, being a UX researcher requires extensive analysis and research skills.

Both are separate disciplines. This blog will discuss the difference between a UX researcher and a UX designer. Let’s dive right in.


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UX research vs UX design: Meaning

Before we delve into the UX researcher vs. UX designer world, let’s first understand the meaning of UX Research and UX Design.

Meaning of UX research

Meaning of UX research

UX research gathers information about users’ needs, behaviors, and attitudes toward product development.

UX research is the cornerstone of the UX design process, empowering designers to make informed decisions and enhance their products based on user needs and requirements.

UX research helps you gain insight into your users’ behavior, learn how they interact with your product, understand their needs and desires, and discover their challenges.

UX research can be done in many ways, including surveys, interviews, and focus groups. The most important thing is that you talk to potential users so they can give you a sense of their needs and how they would want things to work.

Once you’ve gathered this information through UX research, you can make design decisions based on user needs.

For example, if your research shows that users are struggling with a particular feature, you can use that insight to improve or remove that feature in your design.

Both UX researchers and designers are focused on user-centered design. It means they won’t guess what people want or build things that don’t serve them well.

Instead, they use user data and insights to make their design decisions, ensuring that the end product is tailored to the user’s needs and preferences.

Meaning of UX design

Meaning of UX design

UX design is a set of skills for creating user interfaces that are easy to use, engaging, and intuitive.

It’s part of the broader field of user experience (UX), concerned with how people feel about their interactions with the products and services you create.

A UX designer has acquired these skills and practices them in their work. They deeply understand human psychology and behavior: how people think, feel, process information, make decisions, and interact with others, and how to apply those insights to a digital context.

The most skilled UX designers can tackle complex problems and transform them into simple, user-friendly solutions that resonate with everyone.

They study how users interact with your product or service over time, constantly seeking ways to improve the user experience.

But what does a UX researcher do?

Is the job of UX designers and researchers the same?

To answer this question, let’s look at both of their responsibilities.

UX researcher vs UX designer: Roles

Role of UX researcher

Role of UX Researcher

A UX researcher is tasked with the following responsibilities:

1. Creating a plan to research your subject with clear objectives

A UX researcher creates a well-crafted research plan with clear objectives.

This includes defining who will be involved in the study, what they will do, and how they will be measured.

They should also determine how much time they can dedicate to the project and what kinds of data would be most helpful.

2. Building a picture of the target users

The next step in UX research is building a picture of the target user based on their needs, wants, motivations, and challenges.

This may involve interviewing people or asking them to complete an online survey.

It can also mean observing people using existing products so you can see how they interact with them.

Once you’ve gathered all this data, you can start designing something better!

3. Drafting usability research screener questionnaires and discussion guides

Usability researchers are responsible for creating the questions that users will ask during a usability test.

These questions should be relevant to the information needed to understand how a user interacts with a product or service.

The researcher’s job is to create questions that are answered quickly so that each user has enough time for multiple tests and to answer any questions about the process.

4. Recruiting targeted users for specific research studies

In addition to creating research materials, UX researchers ensure that participants represent your target audience.

The goal is always to find people who will give honest feedback about your product or service.

5. Moderating one-on-one usability sessions

UX researchers can often act as moderators, guiding participants through activities or tasks and asking about their experiences.

It helps the researcher learn how users interact with the product.

6. Helping develop and implement quantitative surveys

Quantitative data, which focuses on numerical and statistical analysis, is often gathered by surveying users via email or other means.

UX researchers can help design these surveys and then analyze the results to conclude user preferences and behaviors.

This contrasts qualitative research, which involves gathering non-numerical data, such as opinions and experiences, through interviews and observations.

In addition to surveys, UX researchers can use analytical tools like Pendo, Hotjar, and Google Analytics to understand user behavior.

7. Conducting client and stakeholder interviews

Interviews with clients or stakeholders are another way of gathering information about how users interact with a product.

The UX researcher will ask questions like:

“What do you think needs improvement?”

“How do you think we could improve our product?”

Then, the company uses the answers to make future product changes or iterations.

Read in detail about How to Become a UX Researcher.


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Role of UX designer

Role of UX Designer

1. Understand the user and the brand

UX designers should be able to understand their users’ needs and the kind of experience they want to provide.

They should also be able to relate this information to the company so it can be used for future projects.

2. Conduct user research

A UX designer can conduct research before beginning design work, using various tools and techniques.

This may include interviews with users or potential clients, focus groups, surveys, and more.

They may also use tools like wireframing or prototyping software to create visual representations of their design ideas.

Usually, UX research is done by a dedicated UX Researcher, but at some companies, a UX designer may also be tasked with UX research.

In these cases, the UX designer may conduct research before beginning design work, including interviews with users or potential clients, focus groups, surveys, and more.

This research provides valuable insight into how people use a product and what they think of it—and helps guide decisions about what features need to be added or improved upon in future versions.

3. Analyze what they’ve learned

Once a UX designer has completed their research and built a prototype based on this data, they should analyze all the information they collected before making final decisions about what direction they want to take with development.

It’s important to note that the UX design process is iterative, meaning that design decisions are not final and can be revised based on user feedback or new research findings.

4. Design

A UX designer’s job is to make the user’s experience seamless and intuitive.

You must understand the users, their goals, and how they interact with the product or site.

You’ll use this knowledge to create an interface that helps them accomplish their tasks quickly and efficiently.

When designing, consider visual hierarchy. It involves analyzing where items are positioned on the screen), which elements should be emphasized, and how information should be displayed in priority.

5. Conduct user testing

User testing is gathering feedback from users to improve a product or service.

UX designers conduct user tests during the project’s design phase, which helps them gather information about how users interact with their designs.

The results of these tests are then used to modify the product or service until it meets the target audience’s needs.

This feedback is critical for improving the overall experience for everyone else who uses your product or site.

6. Presenting work

UX designers have the opportunity to present their work in many different ways.

For example, it could be as simple as showing mockups of a new design to your colleagues or presenting findings from user testing at an internal meeting.

UX researcher vs UX designer: Differences

The difference between a UX Researcher and a UX Designer can confuse those new to the field.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the differences:

UX Researcher vs UX Designer


Overall, both UX Researcher vs. UX Designer are an integral part of an organization.

Both roles require the one in charge to perform their duties with utmost care and integrity.

We hope that our explanation has cleared any doubts that you might have about the roles and differences between UX Researchers vs. UX designers. 

Hire UX researcher from Octet if you need help with UX research. We have the expertise and experience to take on any project.

From strategy to execution, we have the skills to ensure you get the desired outcomes.

Hire UI UX Designers from Octet as we thoroughly understand your UI UX design requirements, investigate user needs, and create designs that ensure your website is easy to navigate and engaging.


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What is the difference between user research and design research?

User research focuses on understanding users’ needs, behaviors, and motivations through qualitative and quantitative methods to inform the design process. 

Conversely, design research involves investigating and analyzing various design-related elements such as aesthetics, functionality, and usability to create innovative and practical design solutions. 

User research aims to gather insights about users and their preferences. In contrast, design research delves into the creative and technical aspects of the design process to ensure the final product meets user needs and expectations.

Do UX researchers do wireframes?

Wireframes are visual representations of a website or app’s layout and functionality, typically created by UX designers.

While UX researchers may collaborate closely with UX designers to inform the wireframing process through user insights and research findings, the creation of wireframes is usually the responsibility of UX designers.

How many types of UX research are there?

There are two main types of user research: quantitative (statistics: can be calculated and computed; focuses on numbers and mathematical calculations) and qualitative (insights: concerned with descriptions, which can be observed but cannot be computed).

Creative Director and Founder of Octet Design Studio- Aakash Jethwani
Aakash Jethwani

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