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UXR Spotlight: Thomas Stokes

Thomas Stokes
Thomas Stokes

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?

Hey Thomas Stokes, tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, I’m Thomas Stokes, a UX Research Consultant at UserZoom. In my work, I develop UXR solutions to help clients improve their digital experiences and meet their business goals. I entered UX with a background in Human Factors (Ph.D. from North Carolina State University) and held UXR roles in a number of industries (Open-source software, online education/e-learning, medical devices, full-service digital product agency) before joining UserZoom. I live in Seattle and use my time away from work to explore the beautiful outdoor spaces near the city.

From your experience, what is one of the biggest challenges user research(ers) face today?
I’m going to cheat a little bit and give two answers. One of the bigger obstacles to successful projects is difficulty recruiting the right participants. A sample of representative users is crucial to the success of a research study, but budget constraints and limited access to participants commonly get in the way. At a practice level, I see many groups struggle to connect how their UX work has impacted business goals. With the right UX measurement plan, a UX team can demonstrate how their efforts have moved the needle on KPIs and bottom-line metrics and gain greater executive buy-in.

If you had unlimited budget and time for research, what would you do with it?
I’d do research on the UX research industry as a whole, answering the question of how different practices impact outcomes. I’m fascinated by how the differences in teams, their processes, and how they work influences research results and impact.

How can people learn more about you and your work?
The best place to follow my work is my monthly newsletter, The UXR’s Annotations, where I write summaries and commentary on various issues directly and tangentially related to UX. I’m also (fairly) active on LinkedIn. Please do reach out, I enjoy connecting with new folks.

Thank you, Thomas!