UX designers utilizes a lot of skills for the research aspects of UX design, and it ranges from visual design to analytics. Learning UX design employs both design and research, researching for clients who either don’t want to do it themselves or don’t have the time, bandwidth, resources or expertise to do it on their own. Clients generally go to the UX research firm with an objective to test or question and they want answers to figure out a plan on how to get that info. So it involves writing test plans (instructions for user testing) depending on what the client wants. Hence, it can involve just chatting with people to a discovery session where a list of questions are asked from the users.
At times clients want someone to test a prototype or website. It involves asking what users prefer or a set of questions what UX researchers might ask them ending with getting the clients signing off the test plan to make sure it aligns with what they want to get out of the study. Sometimes a client’s researcher already have a test plan or some preliminary ideas that is studied, analyzed to get the findings to put it together in a report and present it to the client.
A typical day of a UX researcher involves working on a test plan, writing a report or making sure that a project has enough participants. Pulling on insights, quotes, clips of the participants, graphs and screenshots and then depending on the type of study, moderating sessions or interviews makes a good report that can be presented to the clients.
The favorite thing about being a UX researcher is to be able to have a big impact on stakeholders either by validating some hypotheses they already have, or by dispelling them with the research when you have the users dropping off. So being able to pair quantitative and qualitative data together to get a better view of your users is the key. Figuring out the why of what’s happening and being able to see the big picture is really important.
Jumping into a niche career like UX research can feel like a daunting task. UX research gets at the heart of product design by testing different hypotheses, gathering data from users and running tests, analyzing the data, presenting that data to the stakeholders. With a will to learn, UX research can be a fulfilling career path for any prospective UXer.