You may already be familiar with the phrase user experience (UX) which focuses on uncovering users’ insights to create valuable services or products for customers. Conforming to Payscale, the average user experience researcher salary is $85,594 per year. And the job growth in the next 10 years is estimated to be 19%. This creates a large opportunity for those who want to work as a UX researcher.
But what is a UX researcher? What does a UX researcher do? And what skills do you need to become a UX researcher?
In this post, Idesignforhumanity will provide you, those interested in this growing field, an ultimate career guide to become a successful user experience researcher.
What is a UX researcher?
To answer the question “what is a UX researcher?”, you might first need to know what UX research is? It is an experience that users have while they are interacting with a specific product or service.
Therefore, a UX researcher’s main responsibility is to investigate clients’ insights, behaviors, and requirements. Then figure out what businesses can adjust their existing products or even design a new one to optimize user reactions.
To turn these research results into a feasible scheme, UX researchers usually need to work with UX designers and product managers. But what exactly does a user experience researcher do?
What does a UX researcher do?
In fact, UX research is not the same as purely theoretical as you think. Caitria O’Neill, an industry professional, wrote an article for UX Collective. Accordingly, a UX researcher is a person speaking up users’ voices.
It requires a UX researcher to use various methodologies, design techniques, and customers’ real-life concerns. From there on, the researcher will provide a new plan to improve the company’s service or product.
So, some of the most typical tasks and responsibilities of a UX researcher are as follows:
Research planning and strategy
- Work with product and marketing teams to work out research strategies
- Identify topics and objectives, then make a detailed research plan
- Recruit targeted users for interviews or surveys (if require)
- Develop quantitative and qualitative research content
- Conduct and implement interviews, surveys, and usability tests to collect data
- Extract and analyze collected insights
- Translate the results into actionable recommendations for product, design, and development teams
- Present final design research findings
These are just a handful of tasks that a user experience researcher does. Eventually, the UX researcher’s major responsibility is to build up a comprehensive picture of targeted customers’ demands and pain-points. This enables UX designers to improve or create products based on clients’ real-life insights, not just your guesswork.
So, what skills do you need to become a successful UX researcher?
How to become a UX researcher?
UX research is more and more growing and opening opportunities for many. You don’t need a master or professional degree to become a UX researcher. However, to be successful in this field, you need to have knowledge about and experience in technology, design thinking, and marketing.
Background on sociology, psychology, anthropology is also one of the most common and important skills you need to have if you want to work as a user experience researcher.
In case you are not majoring in or new to UX, you might wonder how to get into UX research. Well, the best way to get into it is probably self-teaching by reading related knowledge whenever possible. We recommend some books for beginners, such as Just Enough Research by Erika Hall, Lean UX by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden, and many others.
Other well-known and useful resources are podcasts, including UX Podcast, or What is Wrong with UX?, etc.
Once you have a solid understanding of UX, the next step might be to start practicing what you have read. You can search for UX researcher jobs at a company offering this position. It’s really hard to become a Google UX researcher, Facebook UX researcher, or associate UX researcher initially. But over time, when you have a certain work experience, it will become easier.
In order to increase the opportunity for working as a user experience researcher in such giants, you can build a network within the industry. You can join online UX communities such as UX Crunch, UX Matters, The UX School, etc.
Attending UX research organizations’ events is also a great way. Such organizations include the User Experience Research Professionals Association, the Design Research Society, and many others.
It is deniable that UX is increasingly growing, and UX researchers will play an essential role in the future of design. Equipping yourself with specialized knowledge, techniques, and skills is always important for you to become a user experience researcher. Don’t forget to build a network with people in the field.