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🗞 UX Research strategy for early-stage startups

Jan Ahrend
Jan Ahrend
5 min read

😌 Humans of User Research with Christina Webley

Christina Webley
Christina Webley

Tell us a little about yourself, Christina.
Hi, I’m Christina, a Senior User Researcher in the UK. I’ve worked in research and analysis roles for the UK's National Health Service, the Civil Service, and for consultancies focused on digital transformation. Through user research, I like to ensure that executive decisions are well informed by the people that they affect most - I’ve been doing this for 6+ years now. I enjoy being one of the (many) people who bridge the gap between service users and decision makers.

What's one work-related thing you want to accomplish in the next year?
In the next year, I’d love to be involved in a really niche user research project – something completely different to anything I’ve done before.
I have a few “dream” projects, but one of the more realistic ones is an ethnographic study, working with high commissioners to inform digital diplomacy for small island states (yeah, “really niche”). I’ve always been interested in international politics, taking user research into that realm is on my ‘to do’ list.
There are so many ways to apply user research, our skills are easily transferable. I’ve realized that as a UR you can always provide value in some way - and to any field of work.

If you were a superhero, what UX Research power would you have and how would you use it?
It has to be telepathy. With stakeholders, I’d instantly transmit an understanding of the need for, and value of user research – turning them into UR champions within seconds. I’d also make them promise to always do user research before making a decision, rather than making a decision and then doing user research.
When presenting findings, I’d find a way to share the user experience telepathically, like a 4D, ‘in your user’s shoes’, empathy builder that helps them to truly understand the user experience first hand. I’d still do playback sessions as well though 😉

What can people reach out to you about and how can they find you?
The main place you can find me is LinkedIn - Always keen to connect with people who have an interest in conducting research for good, user centered design, innovative ways to improve public services, anyone doing user research in the US or Caribbean, and of course anyone who has “really niche” ideas on how and where to apply user research.
I’m a silent scroller on the other social media platforms, but to see things I retweet out of interest you can find me on X (aka Twitter..).

Whoever you are, it would be great to connect!

Thank you, Christina!

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📚 Articles of the Week.

UX research job postings show the discipline is here to stay
Indeed data from the past decade reveals a significant shift in the demand for UX research specialists, with an increase in job postings from 8.9 per 100 UX design jobs in 2013 to 35.7 per 100 in 2022, indicating a growing recognition of the discipline's importance. Data from the first half of 2023 show that UX research openings have only pulled back a fraction more than UX design openings have. Kathryn Brookshier 08/31

Crafting an effective user experience research strategy for early-stage startups
Crafting an effective user experience research strategy for early-stage startups requires creating a centralized repository for customer feedback, involving every team in the process, setting up a regular internal cadence for learning, sharing feedback across the organization, and ultimately fostering an empathy-first culture to continually improve the user experience and drive growth. Abhinav Ghosh 09/08

Find your hidden UX research impact
Sometimes, the true impact of your UX research isn't immediately visible, but you can uncover its hidden value by reaching out to a broader audience beyond your usual stakeholders and asking for feedback, which can reveal unexpected insights and demonstrate the significance of your work in unexpected places. Eli Goldberg 09/08

Creating resilient research findings: using ethnographic methods to combat research amnesia
This article explores Research Amnesia in product development teams, where past user insights are forgotten, leading to product failures. It advocates for preserving and leveraging existing research through a strategic mixed-method approach to ensure successful product strategies. Kristen L. Guth 09/08

What UX Research job interview cycles look like today
Insights into the modern UX Research job interview process, revealing the preferred activities for both hiring managers and job seekers, including initial phone screens, one-to-one interviews, technical assessments, portfolio reviews, and panel interviews. It also highlights a trend towards shorter interview cycles with approximately three rounds and emphasizes the shared interest of both parties in fair and competency-based assessments. Lawton Pybus 09/04

How to manage an entertaining and friendly participant in UX research
Dealing with an overly entertaining and friendly participant in UX research involves acknowledging their enthusiasm, gently redirecting them when needed, and setting clear expectations to maintain control and focus on research goals, while also avoiding rudeness and encouraging valuable feedback. Atul Verma 09/06

Can UX researchers stay marketable w/o adopting AI?
AI adoption in UX research shouldn't be seen as a threat but as a tool to enhance efficiency, as it lacks the human touch, including creativity, intuition, and the ability to think outside the box, which are irreplaceable aspects of UX research; however, UX researchers who understand how to use AI to its fullest potential will have a competitive edge in the job market. Marek Strba 09/05

How to highlight UX research and gaps in knowledge by storytelling with timelines
Visualizing timelines using customer journey maps can enhance UX research by highlighting user struggles, knowledge gaps, and emotional impacts, helping teams align on improvements and user research priorities, ultimately leading to a more effective design process. Christopher K Wong 09/06

Ideate ⎯ a holistic framework for democratising research
This article introduces the "IDEATE" framework for democratizing research, emphasizing the importance of identifying areas where research can have a direct impact, delegating tasks across the team, empathizing with non-researchers, amplifying research insights, testing different approaches, and continually evaluating and iterating the process to establish a sustainable research culture within an organization. Abhinav Ghosh 09/02

Decoding user emotions: understanding the hidden signals in ux research interviews
This article underscores the importance of non-verbal cues in UX research interviews, with 55% of communication originating from body language and facial expressions. It delves into decoding these cues, such as facial expressions, posture, and vocal tone, to gain deeper insights into user emotions and experiences. Building trust, cultural sensitivity, and creating a safe emotional space are highlighted as strategies to enhance the quality of research. Understanding non-verbal signals enriches the design of user experiences that resonate with users' emotions and needs. Odette Jansen 09/02

Spotlight > Articles > Video

🎥 Video of the Week.

How to influence stakeholders with strategic research
Learn from Andrea's insights on making research meaningful for stakeholders at higher organizational levels, including tips on building relationships, overcoming push-back, and driving positive change in the research landscape. YouTube 08/30

Happy Researching,
🗞 Jan