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🗞 Generative AI: The perfect colleague for UX researchers?

Jan Ahrend
Jan Ahrend
5 min read
💡This week, I had a fun conversation with Lorie Whitaker, Principal UX Researcher at Zalando, who shared insights from her career pivot from teaching to UX research, emphasizing the critical tie between research and business outcomes. Her preference for in-depth interviews and dedication to making research impactful highlights her approach to driving strategic decisions.

🗞 In this issue, explore articles on unbundling user research, leveraging AI in UX tasks, and the hidden benefits of using surveys. Don't miss the video on the rise of resourceful generalists in UX and a compelling discussion with Akshay Verma of Duolingo about balancing qualitative focus in an experimentation-driven environment. Plus, upcoming events featuring Steve Portigal and Quant UX Con 2024 are sure to enrich your research practices.

Happy Researching, Jan 🙌

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio > Events

😌 Humans of User Research with Lorie Whitaker

Lorie Whitaker
Lorie Whitaker

Hi Lorie, tell us a little about yourself!
I pivoted from teaching to UX Research in 2008. I’ve focused my career on UX Research because it gives me the chance to learn new industries. I also find people and their processes fascinating. In 2019, I co-founded the non-profit UX Research and Strategy, focused on providing PWDR (people who do research) methodology resources and practical ways to make an impact. In 2022, I moved from the US to Southern Germany. The weather is wonderful, the people are very nice, and the food is sehr lecker (very tasty)!! Right now, I’m a Principal UX Researcher at Zalando, in the ZEOS business unit. When I’m not researching, I’m working on my German, knitting, or traveling around Europe.

What's a valuable lesson you've learned during your journey in research?
That my position as a UX Researcher must be tied to the bottom line of the company. That means I’m responsible for not only helping the business to get insights about their customers and help them acquire new ones, but also help increase revenue and keep costs down. This has shaped the way I present findings - I focus on how what I’ve learned supports strategic business decisions.

If you could only use one method for the rest of your career, what would it be?
In Depth Interviews is always my go-to method because you have the opportunity to gather deep and rich information about the topic from the interviewee. You can pivot to dive deeper into something or choose to take the conversation in a completely different direction. The artifacts from this method are varied - affinity maps, journey/experience maps, pain points, prioritization matrices - and can be used by a variety of people across the organization, for a variety of uses. It also allows your stakeholders to see user research as a skill - it takes great skill to ensure you have time and space to ask the questions you need answers to and ask them in a way that will encourage the participant to open up and share.

Where can people find you?
I’m on LinkedIn!

Thank you, Lorie!


Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio > Events

📚 Articles of the Week.

Unbundling user research
As user research is rebuilt into product practices, all its parts — not just the interviewing — will eventually be re-integrated. Dave Hora 06/05

Generative AI: the perfect colleague for UX researchers
Explores using ChatGPT daily to enhance UX Research tasks. Leverage AI with detailed prompts, engage in multi-hour conversations, and continually refine methods to stay competitive. Michael O'Sullivan 06/04

The hidden benefits of using surveys
Interviews are a popular go-to method—but employing unmoderated surveys more frequently can benefit anyone who conducts research. Laurel Brown 06/04

A self-paced degree in UX research
Reap many of the benefits of a formal education at a fraction of the cost. Lawton Pybus 06/02

User research is storytelling
Explores the parallels between UX research and storytelling in film. Craft compelling stories in user research to engage stakeholders and drive interest and understanding. Gerry Duffy 05/30

Rapport-building in UX research: techniques, measures, and impact
Empowering Participants Through Positive Connections. Dr Maria Panagiotidi 05/24

The UX research tasks you can let AI help with
Evaluates the effectiveness of AI tools in customer research and their best use cases. Focus on high-quality AI tools, integrate AI where it adds value, and critically assess AI-generated insights. Caitlin Sullivan 06/03

From the anatomy of an insight to the business of research
Eniola Abioye from Meta discusses the roles of UX researchers and the distinction between observations and insights. Focus on distinguishing recommendations from learnings and clarifying observations versus insights in your research. Eniola Abioye 06/02


Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio > Events

🎥 Video of the Week.

The generalist revolution that will shape the future of UX
Explores the rise of resourceful generalists in UX. Adapt to evolving roles by supporting generalists, embracing adaptability, and engaging across the product lifecycle. YouTube 05/30

The UX research reckoning one year later: insights from Judd Antin on the future of user experience
John Garvey from Uber explores the shift from hyper-specialization to generalists in UX teams. Embrace human-centered cultures, utilize evolving tools, support merging duties, and cultivate adaptability to thrive as a resourceful generalist. YouTube 05/30


Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio > Events

🔉 Audio of the Week.

Akshay Verma of Duolingo
Akshay Verma of Duolingo discusses balancing qualitative focus in an experimentation-driven environment. Foster strong research team structures, implement team rituals, and enhance knowledge sharing among researchers for effective UX research. Spotify Apple 05/04


🗓 UserCalendar: Events Next Week.

Interviewing Users: What Has Changed in the 2nd Edition; A Conversation with Author Steve Portigal (Free)
June 11 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm EDT
Steve Portigal discusses the updates in the second edition of Interviewing Users, highlighting evolving techniques, research operations, and remote research best practices. Improve your user interviewing by adopting these updated practices and methodologies. Lear more

Quant UX Con 2024 (125$)
June 12 – June 13 EDT
Quant UX Con 2024 is a global conference dedicated to quantitative UX research, featuring sessions from leading experts. Enhance your quantitative research skills by attending diverse sessions across multiple time zones and accessing recorded content. Learn more