What is a UX Researcher?

User Experience (UX) research is about learning what end users want and applying those insights to improve the overall design process for products, services, or software. Learn how you can best leverage a UX researcher on your design team.

The role of a UX researcher is to help designers understand their customers by bringing forth analytical data using scientific methods. The data used for these methods is both quantitative and qualitative, gathered through focus groups, user testing, usability testing, user interviews, and analytics software.

So, a UX researcher provides designers with actionable insights and valuable information to help make informed decisions. UX researchers also play a crucial role in conducting data-driven usability tests that improve the quality of the experience.

The impact of a UX researcher

Designing a new user experience or improving an existing one can’t be complete without thinking about the user. Unless you understand who your customers are, where they are from, their requirements, and how your product/service can help them, it is ineffective to design an experience. A UX researcher answers these questions to devise a strategy that empowers designers to create a product that identifies with their clients’ personalities. Some of the basic responsibilities of a UX researcher include:

  • Partnering with designers and other stakeholders to produce an engaging experience
  • Researching to collect user-related data through different scientific methods
  • Defining budget and timelines for research work
  • Finding the right research participants
  • Data analysis and strategy formation
  • Presenting findings into readable data for designers and other stakeholders

The must-have skills for UX researchers

Successful UX researchers need to own a set of particular skills to create something engaging and rewarding. There are a few skills that you should look after if you want to create an efficient design team.

Technical skills

Quantitative research: Quantitative research draws conclusions based on numbers and statistics. It mainly focuses on measuring various aspects like timelines, percentages of user aspects, the completion status of tasks, errors, etc. The numbers are the most useful when you have to show factual information and compare different elements to make any decision. Quantitative research answers the “what” of the experience.

Qualitative research: Qualitative research works on non-numerical insights of research. It means a UX researcher works on subjective aspects like how they feel while using your product. Qualitative research gives us the “why” of the study. 

Behavioral research: This method examines the behavioral aspects of humans. This approach answers what people do, why they do it, etc. For example, during behavioral research for UX, researchers study where users click on a web page or how they navigate through an application.

There are several methods UX researchers use to conduct researches including:

Card sorting: Card sorting is a popular technique that helps UX researchers assess and design a web platform’s (website or application) structure and navigation. In this technique, the participants get labels written on notecards that they group according to a context that makes sense to them. The main idea behind this research method is to uncover the domain knowledge of the target audience.

Contextual interview: This UX research technique provides insights into the environment in which we use the design. It includes a mix of a traditional user interview and how they use a product or service under research.

Focus groups: UX researchers contact moderated focus groups of individuals to discuss various aspects of an experience. These groups help UX researchers get insights into the end users’ attitudes, ideas, and needs.

Expert reviews: UX researchers take advice from usability experts in this method. They evaluate a website, product, or service against the established guidelines for user experience.

Questionnaires & Surveys: A UX researcher needs to ask users questions to collect individual responses that help learn about the prospective buyers.

Usability Testing: It is another popular method to uncover users’ real problems while using a website or a product. It primarily includes testing sessions and collecting data.

A/B testing: A/B testing helps UX researchers compare two approaches to experience designs. Based on various metrics, researchers measure these versions and check their efficiency in terms of behavior and conversions.

Business and remote work skills

Along with the technical skills, there are several business skills that a UX researcher must possess to be efficient in creating strategies that benefit both clients and businesses.

Communication skills: As a researcher, it is essential to acquire communication skills. A significant part of a UX researcher’s job is to talk to the target audience and communicate with designers and other stakeholders.

Empathy: Understanding users is the foremost thing while designing an experience for them. UX designers must understand their target audience’s expectations, frustrations, and goals to help create solutions for real needs.

Designing skills: Every stage of the UX and UI process becomes easy for someone who already has an apt for designing. A natural ability to empathize with the target audience, define ideas, prototyping and test, offer better opportunities to learn about users, and create better results. 

Problem solver: Problem-solving tendency and thinking critically about the questions a designer is trying to answer help in selecting the appropriate methodology for the research.

Curiosity: Curiosity is a necessary skill that helps a researcher to ask pertinent questions and discover meaningful insights.
Team player: UX researchers work with different stakeholders of a product or service. Generally, they partner with web developers, UI designers, project managers, and clients to bring relevant and efficient results.

Hire world-class UX researchers

A UI/UX designer can be your whole package for designing projects. To find the right UX/UX designer, you need a person capable of technical and personal skills.

At Andela, we connect brilliant talent with opportunities to do impactful work. Andela’s Design Practice has the talent and experience to build your next design system. If you want to hire best-in-class UI/UX designers, put together your dream team with Andela.

Ready to supercharge your design projects?

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