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🗞 UX Research over the last 25 years

Jan Ahrend
Jan Ahrend
6 min read

Hi there! 👋 Thanks for stopping by. USERWEEKLY is your weekly email to understand what is happening in User Research. It's the best way to keep up on trends, methodologies and insights in UX Research. It is written by me, Jan Ahrend. Each week I capture the pulse of our community and answer a simple question: What mattered in User Research this week?

😌 Humans of User Research with Poorvi Arora

Poorvi Arora
Poorvi Arora

Tell us a little about yourself, Poorvi!
I'm a Senior Design Researcher with Walmart Global Tech, and I'm based in the lovely city of Toronto, Canada. With over 6 years of experience in the research field, I've had the privilege of working with clients from diverse backgrounds like Healthcare, IT, Consumer Goods, and more.
My career journey started as an exhibition designer, but my insatiable curiosity led me to explore more about design thinking and decision-making. After pursuing a Masters degree, now, I'm all about uncovering insights and shaping user experiences that truly make a difference!
When I'm not diving into UX Research, you'll likely find me exploring my creative side through cooking, crafts, birdwatching, and nature photography.

What originally got you interested in UX Research?
As a part of my design education in college, I was taught the importance of having a reasoning or rationale behind every decision. This instilled in me a deep understanding of the significance of discovering user needs, whether it's for concept creation or product development. Emphasizing the "why" behind design choices has shaped my approach to research.
Over the years, I also discovered that I am naturally empathetic, and it has taken my passion for understanding people and creating meaningful product experiences to a whole new level!
Combining this innate empathy with my curiosity has been an incredible journey in UX Research.

What career advice would you give to your younger self?
If I could go back in time and give career advice to my younger self, I'd say:
"Hey there, don't be shy! Speak up and share those awesome ideas of yours! Embrace your quirks and superpowers - they'll lead you to an incredible journey full of growth and fulfillment!”
Having confidence in your abilities will open doors to new possibilities and help you achieve greater heights.

How do you separate your work life from your home life?
When it comes to balancing work and home life in this remote working era, setting clear boundaries of time and space is key. Creating a designated workspace and sticking to specific working hours can help maintain that much-needed separation.
Secondly, stay present in the moment, whether you are working or spending time with family, mindfulness helps you focus on one task at a time and enjoy the experience fully.

What can people reach out to you about and how can they find you?
I would be delighted to connect with anyone interested in discussing UX research and its processes. You can find me on LinkedIn, where I'm always open to connecting and engaging in meaningful conversations.
Additionally, I'm available on ADP List, where I mentor and support new entrants in the world of research. And if you happen to be in Toronto, I'd be more than happy to meet up for coffee and dive deeper into UX Research. ☕️😊

Thank you, Poorvi!

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

📚 Articles of the Week.

Changes over the last 25 years of UX Research
Over 25 years, UX research has evolved from focusing on usability to embracing the broader concept of User Experience, leading to better-designed interfaces. The field has also seen increased recognition, remote research adoption, and the emergence of research operations, with AI expected to complement rather than replace UX researchers in the future. Jim Ross 08/21

Incorporating play into UX research
Incorporating play into UX research can enhance creativity and engagement. Three games presented in this resource, including "The Squiggles House," "The Icon Game," and "Pin-The-Quote-On-The-Persona," offer practical ways to make research more interactive and insightful, fostering better understanding and empathy among teams and participants. Tamara Hale 08/23

Web3 UX research as a public good
OpenUX is on a mission to democratize web3 user research by creating an open insights repository, making valuable UX insights accessible to all teams. This initiative aims to tackle common issues in the web3 space, such as unclear value propositions and targeting the wrong audience, by providing bite-sized insights and research tools to empower product teams and improve the overall user experience in web3 applications. Georgia Rakusen 08/22

What’s your problem? Book review
Problem-solving in UX research is often about reframing the problem, as highlighted in this book review. By shifting your perspective and asking if you're addressing the right problem, you can uncover more effective solutions and avoid common pitfalls, ultimately leading to better results in user experience design and research. Hal 08/25

How to handle participant discomfort in UX research: best practices and lessons learnt
Managing participant discomfort in UX research is crucial for obtaining reliable data and building trust. This insightful article emphasizes the importance of setting clear expectations, using positive reinforcement, and avoiding actions that might pressure participants. It provides actionable strategies and communication examples to create a comfortable and productive research environment. Atul Verma 08/23

Future of UX Research
The future of UX research is evolving towards a more anticipatory and data-driven design strategy. This insightful article explores the integration of biometric micro-research and advanced quantitative methods to uncover statistically significant aspects of user experiences ahead of time, allowing for more proactive decision-making and user-centric innovation in the design process. Isa He 08/18

Your stakeholders are hungry for user insights — are you serving up raw ingredients or tasty treats?
In UX research, delivering insights to stakeholders is like serving a meal. This article draws parallels between the dining experience and research presentations, emphasizing the importance of making research findings more snackable and engaging for stakeholders through concise and visually appealing deliverables, such as research nuggets. Ki Aguero 08/25

How to deal with a participant who does not meet your criteria: a user researcher’s guide
Dealing with participants who don't meet your study criteria can be challenging in user research. This article provides practical tips, emphasizing the importance of staying calm, assessing the situation, adapting your session plan if necessary, and maintaining a respectful and ethical approach to handling such situations to ensure valuable feedback is still obtained. Atul Verma 08/18

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🎥 Video of the Week.

From detective to UX researcher: embracing strategic insights
Gain insights from Ari Zelmanow about becoming a strategic researcher, bridging the gap between UX research and business, the concept of UX Research Democratization, and how the role of UX research is evolving to provide more value across organizations. Learn how to connect UX research to broader business goals.  YouTube 08/19

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🔉 Audio of the Week.

Fighting for the Soul of Research
Alec Levin, Co-Founder and CEO of Learners, discusses key shifts in the UX research industry, including the impact of layoffs, the need for researchers to understand business, the role of research teams in go-to-market strategies, the importance of data repositories, and the shorter shelf-life of research data. Gain insights into adapting to these industry changes. Spotify 08/23

Happy Researching,
🗞 Jan