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🗞 Define your UX Research team's mission, vision and goals

Jan Ahrend
Jan Ahrend
5 min read
🗞 Define your UX Research team's mission, vision and goals

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 Brian Utesch

Brian Utesch

Hey Brian, tell us a little about yourself.
This year I joined Cisco after 20 years at IBM. I lead a team of UX Researchers optimizing the tools provided to employees. My background is in Human Factors Psychology but I’ve been focused exclusively on UX Research for most of my career. When I’m not at work, I usually have a camera in my hand taking photos, typically while traveling or at a sporting event.

What originally got you interested in UX Research?
Personal frustration as a consumer and having to deal with painful tools and experiences got me interested in UX Research. I enjoy taking on the role of advocate for those struggling with bad experiences and seeing the bad experiences turn into good or delightful experiences. It’s great being able to bring data into the decision making process while others speak in terms of personal opinions. It’s very empowering.

From your experience, what is one of the biggest challenges user research(ers) face today?
I’ve found executing the research to be one of the easiest (and most fun!) parts of the job. However, closing the feedback loop is a challenge. To keep our users motivated to continue providing feedback, we have to ensure they know they were heard and action was taken. Communicating insights back to users is the fairly straightforward part. It is maintaining the backlog and then periodically communicating actions that is the most challenging part to do well. I’ve spoken to many colleagues about this topic and no one ever sounds confident they have it solved completely.

What was the funniest/weirdest experience you had in a user study?
I’m going to classify this as weird and not fun. I’m still amazed at how participants will lose themselves in the moment and completely forget they are being watched, even after being told they are being watched. I’ve seen too many times participants examine themselves in the two-way mirror as if they are alone in their homes. Fortunately, this is usually when they are on their way out the door after the study is complete.

What would you like to talk about with other researchers and how can they find you?
Currently I’m most interested in operational efficiency of research and what tools and processes other UXR teams employ to conduct research at scale and with high velocity. I’m also interested in combining attitudinal, behavioral, and business outcome data to identify patterns and discover new business-relevant insights. Please reach out on LinkedIn and I’d love to collaborate!

Thank you, Brian!

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🎉 Highlights.

UX research strategy 101: how to start setting priorities
How to define your UX Research team's Mission, Vision and Goals. With 5 workshop activities, incl. a Miro template. Ilse Blom 08/25

Need research insights in a flash? Try the lightning synthesis method
When stakeholders don't think synthesis is a priority, here's how to make it happen—without taking up so much time. Nikki Anderson-Stanier

5 Types of research performance every UXR team can avoid
UX Research performance gives the appearance of offering credible research with none of the actual benefits. Here’s how to spot and prevent it. Zarla Ludin

Webinar Alert: Building a sustainable approach to research (Sponsor)
How do companies create goals and strategies for their research? Join User Interviews for their next webinar, Sept. 8: hear one team's research journey, learn how to identify team needs, and get some practical tips for utilizing UI products! Register now

🛠 Methods.

Leveraging web analytics for data-informed project discovery
Read about the practical application of web analytics data to reveal user insights, guide project discovery and use it as part of UX research. Anastasiia Naumets 08/30

UX research on UX writing in a surprising place
Emily Ferguson shares how they came across lighweight UX Research exercises in a museum. Emily Ferguson 08/30

B2B UX research by Meta
Kristopher Saber, Sr. UX Researcher at Meta, share his process chart on how UX Research integrates stakeholders across the B2B context: Client Executive, Sales/Account Executives and end users. Kristopher Saber 08/24

📆 Events

UX Research Meetups & Events in September
Check out this September's virtual talks, meetups, networking events, and conferences around UX Research put together by our partner Condens. All events can be joined online from anywhere, are held in English, and are either free or comparatively low-cost to join. View all events

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🎥 Video of the Week.

A day in my life as a fully-remote UX researcher
YouTuber Tifffster shares a day in her life as a remote UX Researcher. Is it similar to yours? YouTube 08/23

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🔉 Audio of the Week.

The use of behavioral science in the healthcare space
Sayali Phatak, a senior UX researcher working in the digital health industry, shares her experience conducting user research on digital solutions for health promotion and behavior change. Spotify Apple 08/21

Happy researching,
🗞 Jan