#25 How to work on your own UX project as a UX researcher

A lot of people are interested in becoming a UX researcher, but seem to be struggling to break in to the field especially when you come from a different background, and you don’t have a relevant education and experience yet. In the field of UX, experience is everything. You need to show an artifact of your work in form of a portfolio in order to prove that you can put your knowledge in action effectively in a UX project context. Which is why it’s important to work on your own UX project as as UX researcher.

If you haven’t done that, you should start working on it. 

Start working on your own projects to build your portfolio as a UX researcher. 

A UX researcher works as part of a UX team. The goal of UX research is to help making the user experience of the product/service better. 

To do so, UX researchers can help in various ways both qualitative and quantitative research, including ethnography research, generative research, concept validation, usability test and so on.

Hiring managers and recruiters need to see:

  • How a UX researcher plans and executes a research (sessions) 
  • Summarizes the findings
  • Distills those findings into a list of actionable items
  • And then communicates all these effectively and efficiently to stakeholders

Yes, you will hear many people tell you “you don’t have experience”, if you never worked on a real world project as a UX researcher.

The only way to overcome this is to show a concrete proof that you can actually deliver. 

Real world projects are obviously ideal, but if you don’t have those, the next best thing is to build your own projects and work on those as if it’s a real project.

Below are just some examples to give you an idea on what kind of projects that you can work on your own.

  1. Future opportunity research around a topic of ABC:
    1. Pick a topic area of your interest (e.g. future of voice assistant), and interview 5-10 people who are relevant to that area in some way. 
    2. Ideally you should pick at least one expert in the field, a power-user, and a casual user. 
    3. Summarize the interviews into a report or a presentation.
    4. You could also run a quantitative survey.
    5. Incorporate your desk research results.
    6. Summarize all above into a presentation / report.
  2. Deep dive of a software or an app, and find pain points and possible solutions:
    1. Pick a software or an app that you have an access to its power users. 
    2. Closely observe these users interact with the software or app with their permissions, record these, take notes.
    3. Distill user pain points that you found, 
    4. Come up with possible improvement points. 
    5. Summarize all the findings with possible solutions in form of report or a presentation.

Taking above ideas as a springboard, feel free to expand and explore your ideas on what kind of UX research projects that you would like to work on!

Check out YouTube version too.

Also check out my other article on how to start your own UX project as a UX designer too!

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