When I was a beginner in ux research, about 5 years ago, there were about 35 Polish profiles with the job title „UX Researcher” on Linkedin. Today when you type the job title in Linkedin search engine you receive a lot of result pages! That’s a good change: we need researchers to make user experience better and better. But, as every change, it’s also difficult and can be bad for the quality of researchers’ service.
When something is going to be more popular it’s also going to be understood in many different ways. I would like to shortly describe how I understand my job and define the role of ux researcher.
- A user researcher needs to know methodology very well and have knowledge of people.
First: as a researcher I need the knoweldge to make a research plan and conduct research in a proper way, and I know that because I had studied sociology for many years.
Second: I need the knowledge to understand what I observe and hear. Just with the knowledge about methodology I can analyze insights and draw valuable conclusions
You can be a good user researcher only with great methodological knowledge.
- A user reearcher needs to know a lot about technology and be interested in it. As a reseracher I have to give a reccommendation to my team. The recommendation should fit the project and refer to current trends in technology.
You can be a good researcher only if you are really interested in technology.
- A user researcher needs to read a lot. Because of reading we improve our knowledge about people and the It is also important because we are storytellers – we have to speak using sophisticated words and phrases to describe difficult insights. We can understand our culture better by reading.
UX experts, even UX researchers, should read a lot to improve their knowledge about people and the world.
- A user researcher needs to observe a lot. We can observe people on public transport, people on the street, in a shop, everywhere we are. That’s very important to improve sensitivity and something C.Wright Mills called „sociological imagination”. One of the most important values in user reseracher’s job is empathy. We have to take care about it and develop it constantly.
A good user researcher is interested in empathy developing every day.
- People are not numbers. Numbers are important to know scale of something. But to understand people’s needs deeply you should talk with them and observe their behaviour. Without those skills you can’t be a real user researcher.
To be a researcher means being with people.
My reflection abut my job leaded me to plan my new project uxresearch.life. Now it is in beta version, so it’s only in Polish. I am working on the first interviews with Polish researchers to understand how they see their role and how they became a reseracher. I am very fascinated by the project and I can’t wait for the first video.
What for you does it mean for you to be an/a user reseracher?