This spotlight was part of USERWEEKLY - a weekly email to understand what is happening in user research. It's the best way to keep up on trends, methodologies, insights across the industry, and meet new researchers. Each week, the newsletter captures the pulse of our community and answers a simple question: What mattered in User Research this week?
Tell us a little about yourself, Isil.
Hi! I’m Isil Tatlicioglu. I’m a UX researcher at Next Big Thing AG, a Berlin-based venture building studio that provides long-term support to aspiring founders, businesses, and investors. Having a background in psychology, I’m very glad I ended up as a UX researcher, so I can still feel the role of ‘therapist’, yet in a different context. Born and raised in western Turkey with a lot of sunlight and good food; I happened to find myself in Germany five years ago. Other than user research, I’m trying to keep up with the real Berliners; going to art events, spending time with my plants and whisking myself off from Berlin to somewhere warm from time to time.
What’s your favorite thing about your current job?
The great thing about my current role is I get a chance to practice exploratory research for products that don’t exist yet. My main work takes place at the pre-product stage, to help our teams build new ideas/concepts/products in a user-centric manner. It’s sometimes called “innovation research” as well, which includes a lot of foundational research with a variety of user groups. I am a big fan of qualitative research in general, especially explorative methods, and I see that many of the current UX researcher roles don’t give you the chance to practice those in-depth techniques quite often, rather mainly focus on usability. So I feel lucky for that!
Have you ever had "imposter syndrome"? How did you deal with it?
Well, I feel like an impostor from time to time, and it’s okay. Given that I am a solo researcher who needs to deliver this expertise for non-existent products, it can be really hard to get buy-in for my work, especially if the results don’t please other stakeholders. That’s why I constantly need to make sure that I’m doing things the right way, to show the value of user research. But it’s just not sustainable, nor realistic. I’ve come to a point where I realised this imperfection is the part of the work we do as user researchers. No research is flawless. There will always be points which could’ve been managed better, but we need to see the obscurity of this craft as an organic component of what we do, and embrace whatever feeling that comes with it. It’s not about us, it’s about the nature of research all along. With such an attribution, I can now easily say “This is the best I could do.”
What would you like to talk about with other researchers and how can they find you?
I would love to talk about the challenges and tactics of being the user research team of one, effective stakeholder communication strategies, and best practices of qualitative research in particular! I’m also curious if there are other UXR folks working on innovation research like me. It’s such a niche area inside UXR, so it would be great to see others working with similar roles and exchange ideas, pains, experiences… But I love being connected to all sorts of UX people in general! I think it’s one of the nicest parts of working in this field, the community. Do find me on LinkedIn and say hi :)
Thank you, Isil!
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