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🗞️ What’s going on with the UXR job market?

Jan Ahrend
Jan Ahrend
5 min read

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?

Hey! 👋 I'm currently reading The Trusted Advisor, and one quote made me pause and reflect:
>> "There are always a number of ways of expressing the same thought, each of which differs in how it is received by the listener. Saying 'You should do X,' even when correct, is very likely to evoke emotional resistance. (...) It is usually better to say something like: 'Let's go through the options together. These are the ones I see. Can you think of anything else we should consider? Now let's go through the pro's and con's of each course of action. Based on these, I recommend doing action X. Can you think of a better solution?" (p. 31)

This really hit home for me, not just in my personal life but also in my approach to socializing research insights. It makes space for a conversation and puts the researcher at the heart of finding a solution. It doesn't just 'offload' a bunch of design suggestions to the team that they can take or leave.

Below, you'll find an insightful interview with Carl Pearson, who shares his journey and tips from quantitative UX research at Meta, Reddit and beyond. The articles I’ve curated for you bridge the gap between qualitative and quantitative research, explore the nuances of user targeting, and debunk myths about AI in UX research. Plus, there's a great video on mental health in UX research (a topic now more important than ever) and a podcast episode on fostering a culture of organizational learning.

On a personal note, I had a beautiful time soaking up the sun in Zurich this weekend, taking a long walk through the city with my partner Niki, her twin sisters, and our dog Simba. We tried a new coffee shop (one of my favorite activities!) and I did some reading - where I found the quote above.

Enjoy the read!
Jan 😊
Simba and me on our coffee walk, totally not posing.

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

😌 Humans of User Research with Carl Pearson

Carl Pearson
Carl Pearson

Hi Carl, tell us a little about yourself!
I’m from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I’ve lived here most of my life, except when I moved to North Carolina to go to graduate school and eat delicious BBQ. At NCSU, I got my psychology PhD in the Human Factors and Applied Cognition program. After grad school, I worked at Red Hat, UserZoom (UserTesting), and then took on a quantitative-specific UXR role at Meta. Now, I am building out the quantitative UXR function at Reddit on the consumer team. When not at work, I am normally hanging out with my family and dog in the city, or traveling up to the north shore of Lake Superior to explore some wilderness.

Which tools are your go-to for conducting research?
As a quant UXR, my tool stack is a little different than most qual-leaning UXRs. I use SQL (and BigQuery) to target survey participants and understand behavioral variables, Qualtrics to send surveys (I love their branching and advanced question types), and finally, R to clean/analyze/visualize data. For folks looking to get into quant work of any kind, learning some R is extremely useful to be able to clean large datasets and effectively visualize data appropriately (like binomial confidence intervals) - Excel and Sheets often aren’t able to cut it here!

If you could have a research-related billboard anywhere, what would it say?
“Your research question is not your interview or survey question!” I would hope that all junior UXRs and non-UXR partners would see it as they drive. This is one of the most fundamental pieces of developing good research that I see non- or less experienced UXRs miss. We know what we want to learn from our users, but we can’t typically ask that question directly and expect valid results.

How can people learn more about you and your work?
I am most active on LinkedIn and my blog. My blog focuses on quantitative UX research methods and processes, often with a specialized focus on usability measurement. Connect with me on LinkedIn to stay up with my new posts and thoughts, or to ask me any questions you may have (especially about usability benchmarking!).

Thank you, Carl!

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

📚 Articles of the Week.

How qualitative researchers can level up their quantitative research
This guide bridges the gap between Qualitative and Quantitative UX research, offering strategies to enhance quantitative familiarity and address the industry's bias towards Qualitative methodologies. Brad Orego 02/07

Individualizing UX: Ever narrower user targeting
User targeting in UX has progressed through 5 stages toward treating each user as a unique individual: target audience, personas, customization, personalization, and (to come) AI-driven individualization. Jakob Nielsen 02/08

Bad research doesn’t stink
Democratizing UX research is essential as non-researchers struggle to gauge quality; effective impact measurement is key for evaluating democratization success. Carl Pearson 02/07

Can longer task times for users be a good thing?
Optimal user experiences hinge on redefining task duration based on categorizing user activities to determine whether they should be shorter or longer—key insights from this article. Carl Pearson 01/04

What the heck is going on with the UX job market?
In a tumultuous job market, this article explores challenges for UX professionals, examining the impact of layoffs and hiring freezes, offering insights into prolonged job searches, and anticipating future trends. Amy Santee 02/04

Benchmarking: how to provide valuable comparisons around UX research
Take snapshots of problematic outcomes to help show the impact of UX. Kai Wong 02/06

No, AI user research is not “better than nothing”—it’s much worse
Synthetic insights are not research. They are the fastest path to destroy the margins on your product. Pavel Samsonov 02/07

AI tools in UX Research (From AI’s Perspective)
AI tools in UX research aren't meant to replace professionals but target efficiency for others; the article cautions that without a solid understanding of user research, reliance on AI may introduce inaccuracies, biases, and problems outweighing time-saving benefits. Debbie Levitt 02/08

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🎥 Video of the Week.

Caring for mental health in UX Research - with Dominika Prikrylova
Dominika Prikrylova, UX Researcher at, highlights crucial self-care in UX, addressing emotional demands, emphasizing strengths, and fostering a positive research environment. YouTube 02/07

Spotlight > Articles > Video > Audio

🔉 Audio of the Week.

Fostering a culture of organizational learning with Roy Opata Olende | Zapier
In this episode of The Optimal Path, host Ash Oliver sits down with Roy Opata Olende to delve into the complexities of UX research across organizational altitudes. Spotify Apple 02/01

Happy Researching,