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, Kate Kerr (Rylance).
I’m Kate Kerr (Rylance), a lead researcher at Monzo with a background in consumer and business Psychology. I’ve always been fascinated in human behavior and using that to create products that are deeply rooted in solving user needs. Prior to Monzo I was in e-commerce, leading the design and research team at Very.co.uk. Beyond that, I’m a board member for a charity that’s helping young people across the globe get into STEM careers, I run the northern user experience (NUX) meetups in Liverpool and am a mentor for Women in Tech. I also love exploring new parts of the world I’ve not yet discovered with my husband, friends or family.
What do you wish you knew when you began your research journey?
That the most important part of the research process begins after you have your learnings!
Knowing this when I first started would have definitely saved some blood, sweat and tears along the way. The longer I’ve been in the field, the more I’ve started to think about where we spend the bulk of our time as researchers and how that balance is so commonly off.
We spend huge amounts of time writing robust research plans, making sure our recruitment is representative, polishing our scripts or survey design, engaging the team to get involved during the research, synthesizing the insights and writing up the findings and then we’re done… right?! Wrong!
All that time spent means nothing if the outputs of my work don’t influence the right people or make it into the product. I’ve now re-balanced my time and spend a big chunk of my day to day socializing the insights, visualizing my insights and drip feeding them into daily conversations. I’ve also learnt the importance of repetition. It’s very unlikely that research insights land and embed in people’s brains the first time, repeating your findings again and again in different ways through different mediums and creative outputs is crucial!
If you could only use one method for the rest of your career, what would it be?
Oooh I think it’d have to be depth interviews / speaking to people. When you’re at a foundational / exploratory stage there’s no better way to understand people’s pains, problems and motivations. In a world where companies are swimming in data it really helps put a face to the numbers and challenges us to make sure we’re solving real world problems rather than our own pet projects or making our own narrative out of the data. You can also be really versatile with the methods you use within depth interviews. Asking people to bring along artifacts like a spend diary, using creative collaboration tools to help people visualize their ideas or using vision prompts to encourage open thinking.
How can people learn more about you and your work?
A lot of my work has sensitivities being linked to how people think about and manage money so it’s not something I publish in detail. I’m on Linked in and Twitter (X?) though so say hello over there :) Twitter. Linkedin.
Thank you, Kate Kerr (Rylance)!
Subscribe to stay up to date on User Research news and trends.