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🗞 Treating Your UX Research Career as a Product

Jan Ahrend
Jan Ahrend
6 min read
🗞 Treating Your UX Research Career as a Product

Great Question
Great Question

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 Débora C. Dahas

Débora Dahas
Débora C. Dahas

Hi Débora, tell us a little about yourself.
Hi there! First of all, thank you for the invite! My name is Débora, I'm Brazilian and I'm 29 years old. I have been a researcher for around 8 years now. Currently, I work with digital products, but - believe it or not - my background pre-UX is mainly in Law and Legal Philosophy. I also write poems, and all in all I have already published around 10 books. Still, research is where my heart is at. I am naturally curious and rigorous, which helped me a lot in this path to UXR. I truly feel like working with research can be productive and fun, in a way that captivated me deeply. So I am always happy to talk about research and UX.

From your experience, what is one of the biggest challenges user research(ers) face today?
There are so many! I was talking about this with a friend the other day. I truly believe the scenario is positive. Of course we had some issues like retaining talent, not having enough budget, lack of ResearchOPS, and those are all pain points that need to be addressed.  However, there are some deeper obstacles to overcome when it comes to structuring a UXR team in a company. The first one is mindset. There is a deep need to change the culture most companies have internalized, in the sense that research should be understood as a necessary part of the product cycle, and also as an important part of building internal processes centered on how to solve problems surrounding user needs. The second problem is tactic versus strategic. Everyone is still trying to figure out how to make this work. Some people think UX should be tactic only, and some people defend that to be strategic is the main goal of any outcome of an UXR team, and that tactic research should not be included in strategic planning. Here, the biggest issue is that people do not put UX maturity in this equation, and tend to look at the matter in a very simplistic way. These two matters converge: we need to understand how mature UX is in our organization, prove our value by merging tactic and strategic studies, and working very hard to come up with ways to make this shift in mindset and culture. In structuring research teams, this is what I always try to keep and eye out for.

What do you remember most about your first UXR job?
My first job - after making my way into UXR - was in a bank. I was not familiar with the nuances of all the products they offered and my main responsibility was to build a Research team from scratch. The whole experience was very interesting: I got to do mixed method research from the start and had the opportunity to develop a huge discovery project that resonated a lot in the company. Even though that was all very important for my career, what I remember the most was how vital great leadership was. Both my Coordinator and the Head of Design showed me that the ability to listen, to communicate well,  and to fight for what you believe is the right decision to make are the main skills that build assertive and powerful leadership. And that kind of leadership is essential to build a team that truly works together and comes up with valuable results as a whole.

What can people reach out to you about and how can they find you?
Well, generally speaking I am available for all topics of conversation regarding research, in English and in Portuguese. But to be more specific: people starting out in the UXR world, or people who are looking to further develop their research skill, can come to me for mentoring or for a fun "talk shop" session. I am on LinkedIn and on Instagram @deboradahas. Whoever wants to hang out and exchange some experience on UX and research, feel free to contact me anytime!

Thank you, Débora!

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🎉 Highlights.

Dialogue focused interactions in user research
Interpersonal communication competence is one of the major skills of a UX Researcher. We have much to learn from other human centred professions such as psychotherapy and counselling. These are the four requirements for true dialogue. Hridika Roy 07/01

Your UX research career is a product
Why you should treat your UX research career like a product, how to build your career roadmap, and how to thrive as a UX researcher. Erin May 06/30 (Podcast)

Nervous about research democratization? (Sponsor)
Research democratization can be scary. Use this helpful guide with tips from companies like Zoom, Honeybook and Auth0. Download the guide

🛠 Methods.

Applying psychology to product experimentation
Are you putting the best foot forward every time you launch a test? Can you be sure that unconscious psychological bias won’t impact your test results?. Matthew Halpern 06/27

Golden user paths: improve your team’s focus and create impact on final users
How to identify, with data, he Golden Path (or the Key User Journey).  A case study. Audrey Hacq 06/27

🎯 Approaches.

Obtaining consent for user research
Better designs should never come at the cost of another person’s wellbeing. Informed consent is a fundamental part of an ethical research program, which respects participants and protects them from harm. Therese Fessenden 07/03

Essential videos and talks for new games user researchers
This post is an introduction to some of the fantastic video resources available online. Ranging from 101 introductions to in-depth guides, ‘day in the life’ and more – video resources are a useful for learning about UX and games user research (GUR) alongside books, articles, and classes. Helen Johnson 07/03

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🎥 Video of the Week.

Research on visual fatigue when playing games
In this 2022 UX Summit talk, NetEase Games’ Yuling Su and Jue (Jade) Wang introduce how NetEase Games’ user experience research measures visual fatigue and establishes a benchmark, as well as how visual fatigue indicators are applied to game design to help game designers adjust key parameters and effectively reduce the appearance and impact of visual fatigue. YouTube 07/01

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🔉 Audio of the Week.

The Sam Haveson hypothesis: the artfulness of product management is identifying customer needs
Sam Haveson is a Senior Product Lead on the Consumer Product team at Twitter. Sam has defined, launched and scaled products that help millions of people create and converse on Twitter. This episode covers Sam’s career in product, testing and experimentation at different scales from startup to enterprise, and how to do real time experiments to measure progress. Spotify Apple 06/28

Happy Researching,
🗞 Jan

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