You sit down at the end of a rough day to turn on your TV and unwind with your favorite streaming service. Did you know that while you’re browsing through the app, someone is watching you? Before you start turning your apartment upside down, we don’t mean this literally.
There’s a user experience researcher in an office somewhere collecting data about how you choose what to watch. They then pass along this knowledge to the higher-ups so they can make improvements to the app as needed.
Are you thinking about dipping your toes into this entertaining job market? Check out this guide to learn what a design researcher does and how they do it.
What Is a User Experience Researcher?
Before we get into what a user experience researcher does, let’s talk more about what they are. Experience researchers work a little like data scientists. The difference is that scientists make a general hypothesis as to what someone might enjoy.
A design researcher spends time analyzing data. They perform various tests on target user behavior to find out what their needs are. This job field is in demand because it’s not easy to run a business without them.
As technology advances, it becomes harder to analyze user behavior for your site. The average business owner just doesn’t have the right know-how.
Collaborate With Business Owners
Before UX researchers can get started with their job, they have to sit down at a table with business stockholders and product managers. There, they discuss what the company’s research goals are.
They’ll talk about the business’s expectations for the product or service that they’re trying to push. From there, the researcher can use this information to get a good understanding of the company’s target market.
A design researcher can’t make something better until they understand how people interact with it. For this, they use one of the many different types of research methods available to them.
Quantitative research is all based on numbers. It might be a measure of how many users were able to complete a task on a business’s website. How many bugs did they run into while they were trying to browse through?
The UX researcher will then take these numbers and compare them to a competitor’s products and apps or maybe a previous version of their client’s site.
After the researcher gets all the data, they’ll have to figure out why they came up with these numbers. This is what qualitative research is all about.
Let’s say you have an app that you rolled out. There’s a good 70% of all users who are experiencing crashes. It’s during this stage where the researcher will figure out what’s causing the crash.
Most apps will prompt you to rate them after a while of using them. If a company’s app is only getting one or two stars, it’s the researcher’s job to figure out why the users feel this way.
That’s what attitudinal research is. It measures a user’s feelings toward a company’s product, service, website, or app.
When someone goes to a website, they’ll scroll around for a little while. They may hover over things and spend time on the blog before they head over to the contact us page.
All of these things are a type of behavior. It’s up to the researcher to monitor these behaviors and learn how to improve a company’s site based on their findings.
Choosing the Right Methods
There are several different ways that someone can carry out the research mentioned above. They could do usability testing. This is where the researcher hands someone a product and tells them to complete a task using it.
They’ll record how long it takes the user to complete the task and note any struggle that they have along the way. There’s A/B testing.
Someone hands a user two products and asks them to choose which one they prefer. Interviews are a quick and easy way to obtain data. It simply involves asking a consumer what they’re looking for in a certain product.
Surveys and questionnaires are a great way to kill two birds with one stone by collecting qualitative and quantitative data at the same time. It’s easy to ask questions revolving around both the how and the why.
First click testing involves studying the first thing that a user clicks on when they visit a site. As you can see, there’s a lot of tests a researcher can conduct. The biggest part of the job is figuring out which one is the most appropriate.
Having an Impact on Their Team
A product is a company’s baby. It’s hard for them to look at it with an unbiased eye to search for errors. That’s why the UX researcher has to do it.
Once they know how something can be improved, it’s up to them to relay that information to the company in a way that’s convincing. It’s not as easy as you may think to tell someone to scrap a project and start over from a different angle.
Is This the Right Career Path for You?
Are you good at analyzing people? Do you have killer researching skills? Have you always been good at communicating with others?
There’s a good chance that you would make a great user experience researcher. It’s their job to analyze how people interact with apps, websites, and products. From there, they tell companies how they can improve.
With advances in technology, this is a career that’s in demand. All you have to do is chase after it.
Now that you have the job, it’s time to learn how to succeed. Check out the Business section of our blog to learn how to excel in any career path you choose.