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Chapter 9
How High-Performing UX Research Teams Are Built?
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Chapter 9

How High-Performing UX Research Teams Are Built?

User Experience (UX) is a multifaceted field that involves professional UX researchers collaborating and providing companies and their users with a wholesome experience. The team comprises UX researchers and User Interface (UI) designers.

These experts work in collaboration to ensure the improvement of a digital product based on customer requirements. They imply a fresh perspective that helps to avoid siloed thinking in product development. This article will give you an introduction to UX research and will help you discover how high-performing UX research teams are built.

UX researchers and UI designers should collaborate to ensure meeting customers’ needs
UX researchers and UI designers should collaborate to ensure meeting customers’ needs
“When we do a lot of user research, it’s easy to feel confident…But if you do user research well, you will always find something that is surprising. No matter how much research we do, no matter how much time we spend with our customers, we can’t completely know them. And I feel like the goal of user research should be to find those moments.”
Teresa Torres, Founder of Producttalk.org

The Role and Responsibilities of UX Researchers

The UX researchers are the core professionals working on the digital product's consumer end. The responsibilities of a UX researcher include:

  • Conducting qualitative and quantitative research.
  • Understanding and analyzing user pain points.
  • Providing research-based recommendations to UI designers.

A researcher collects the relevant information and analyses it to generate accurate and clear recommendations for the designers. These findings help the management in making design decisions that address consumer needs. This makes the product readily adaptable and likable among the users, enhancing their satisfaction and brand loyalty.

Essential Skills and Qualifications for UX Researchers

Now let’s look at how to become a UX Researcher. To be successful in this field, you must have both hard and soft skills. These skills help them in performing technical aspects of the jobs, like planning and executing UX research. But that’s not all. They allow them to communicate effectively. A UX research course certificate is highly important for potential or on-job UX researchers.

Although there are no specific educational requirements, having a degree in different design, psychology, statistics, or other related disciplines may help. In addition to courses, a lot can be learned from UX case studies and examples. Some specific skills need to become a UX researcher include:

  • Research
  • Problem solving
  • Wireframing
  • User testing
  • A/B testing

A UX researcher must be able to use different UX research methods like user interviews and usability testing. A UX researcher is an integral part of any organization. They need to be capable of creating a UX research process that the entire team can follow.

Uxcel offer the UX Research course teaching how to conduct user studies and use the findings effectively
Uxcel offer the UX Research course teaching how to conduct user studies and use the findings effectively
Learn how you can conduct UX Research today and use your findings to create digital solutions that resonate with customers.

Collaboration with Cross-Functional Teams

Researchers, designers, product managers, and other team members all working together is a hallmark of a well-functioning team culture. By working with other teams, product teams may better incorporate their findings into the decision-making process and create solutions that meet customer expectations.

Collaboration of cross-functional teams is time and cost-effective and increases the work efficiency of the organization. UX researchers get the data from the end users using UX research tools. Then, they communicate these findings to UI design and product development teams and ensure the end product or service is based on customer needs.

Building and Structuring a Successful UX Research Team

A compelling group of UX researchers must have clarity of objectives. The business needs to identify the most suitable UX research strategy, a clear vision, and a set of objectives to achieve the required research deliverables.

A well-rounded and productive team often includes members with diverse specialties. In a cross-functional team, research leaders provide strategic direction, and UX researchers provide insights regarding customer requirements. Then, UX researchers translate these insights into designs objective that must be used when creating products or services.

An optimal blend of expertise ensures coverage of research activities, data analysis, and actionable insights. In this regard, UX research certificates plays a vital role in ensuring each team member's competency.

Uxcel’s UX Research certificate is a great proof of your team member’s competency
Uxcel’s UX Research certificate is a great proof of your team member’s competency

Creating a Supportive Research Culture

Creating a supportive culture within an organization is essential. It can help professionals share their opinions which can lead to diverse feedback on how the research and design process should be initiated. Organizations valuing a culture of support and inclusivity are more likely to have UX researchers who perform better and provide in-depth user-centric design recommendations.

Building a high-performance team can often be challenging for organizations. Some of the many challenges of building such a team are in the form of ineffective communication. On top of this, additional hurdles like lack of trust and collaboration can also limit a team from functioning effectively. There are various factors that need to be considered when creating an effective team. These factors include:

Collaboration and Inspiration

Having brilliant product designers on your team isn't enough. To encourage teamwork, it's important to provide a setting where team members support others and feel comfortable discussing their work and offering suggestions to one another. The availability of the right resources and tools is important to get the most out of their potential.

Communicate Vision and Direction

Make sure your team has a well-defined UX strategy and prioritizes attainable goals. In order to track and measure the development and performance output of team members, all requirements for each stage of a product must be clearly stated. You must highlight what success looks like for each team member. As you continue to determine the direction for your UX team and break down the strategy into the small goals required to achieve product success.

Supportive Team Structure and Right People

The team's well-organized framework and foundation promote efficient operations, clear roles, and strong boundaries. Well-structured teams are cohesive so that they can work together and share ideas effectively. They also have members who think dynamically as it helps incorporate different perspectives in the design.

A competent UX research team structure establishes guardrails—boundaries within which they operate. These guardrails ensure that their decisions, allocation of resources, and quality standards for the project are consistent with the organizational goals.

Mentoring and Leading

Company leaders can set ambitious objectives to inspire researchers to do their best. When people are given the opportunity to practice something out of the norm, they respond positively. However, to ensure effective results, team leaders must actively be involved in each task and should mentor others, allowing them to improve their capabilities.

“If you want to create a great product, you have to start by understanding the people who will use it.”
Don Norman, Co-founder Nielson Norman Group

Establishing a Clear Mission, Vision & Goals for Your UX Research Team

Multiple interdependent components make for a solid UX research practice. Starting with a well-defined mission, vision, and goals helps ensure that the research process is heading in the right direction.

The research should start with the establishment of a clear mission, vision & goals for your research team

Establishing a Team Mission Statement

A mission statement is powerful and conveys the team's role in achieving the larger goals of the business. It provides a focal point and a clear strategy for the team's decisions and delivers the following outcomes:

  • Defines the team's responsibilities and how they fit into the larger context of the company and the product development cycle.
  • Demonstrates the competency of the team to stakeholders and end-users by highlighting their accomplishments fostering confidence in the group.

When creating a mission statement, you must:

  • Identify your ideal customers.
  • Define the objectives of the organization and the roles of the UXR team.
  • In a single or two-sentence draft, describe your team's mission, accomplishments, and value proposition in clear and simple terms.
  • Make your statement refined by making it easy to understand, interesting, and inspirational.

For inspiration, take a look at these iconic UX research teams' mission statements:

  • Spotify - We help Spotify create the best audio experiences for every listener by understanding their needs, behaviors, and emotions through user research.
  • Airbnb - We empower Airbnb to design products that enable anyone to belong anywhere by uncovering meaningful insights about our hosts, guests, and communities through UX research.
  • Shopify - We help Shopify make commerce better for everyone by delivering actionable insights that inform product decisions and drive user value through UX research.
  • Netflix - We enable Netflix to create engaging and personalized entertainment experiences for millions of members around the world by discovering and validating user needs, motivations, and preferences through UX research.

Defining a Vision Statement

The future intentions of the UX research team are present in a vision statement. It explains the team's long-term goals and how those goals aligned with the mission of the organization. A vision statement not only aligns the team with the organization's vision but also inspires and motivates the team to work toward a single objective. Having a clear mission statement ensures that:

  • The team's activities and decisions will have a clearer direction and focus.
  • The establishment of team development objectives.
  • Create the directive of the team.
  • Supports team's value proposition and future goals to customers.

Setting Clear Goals and Objectives

Setting Clear goals provides the team with direction, focus, and short and long-term targets to achieve. A well-defined set of goals and objectives influences a team's ability to set priorities, focus their efforts, and monitor their progress. Common goals for a UX research team may include a number of different things, such as:

  • Improve usability through user testing.
  • Boost user satisfaction through feedback analysis.
  • Drive user-centered design decisions with research insights.
  • Improve information architecture for an easier and wider range of navigation.
  • Improve user onboarding to make the experience easier for new users.
  • Increase accessibility to make the experience easier for newcomers.

Aligning with Organizational Objectives

Teams that are aligned with the organizational goals are better able to work together, communicate effectively, and share their knowledge. For this purpose, the use of goal-setting frameworks like objectives and key results (OKRs) framework is recommended.

Using the UX OKR framework to align the team objective with an organization is highly effective. However, when using the framework, it’s important to remember that high-priority objectives should be identified and communicated to each member of the team. Also, it’s important to quantify key results, such as improving user satisfaction by 20%.

Objective and key results framework (OKRs) helps teams define objectives and align them with the team and clients
Objective and key results framework (OKRs) helps teams define objectives and align them with the team and clients

Common Challenges Faced by UX Research Teams

IUX research teams often face a ton of different challenges. It’s important to understand that such challenges may differ from one organization to another. Common examples of challenges faced by UX Teams include

  • Limited resources - UX research teams often have to work with limited resources. This limits their ability to generate effective results. To solve such problems, it’s important to prioritize needs and advocate for resources.
  • Deadlines - In some cases, UX research teams have to work with tight or unrealistic deadlines. To solve such challenges, it’s important that UX research clearly communicates their resource and time requirements.
  • Lack of support - UX research requires time to generate valuable results. Due to this, organizations may sometime be reluctant to provide UX teams with the support they need. To solve this, researchers must communicate the potential results and deliver them.

Key Takeaways

The best way to organize a UX team is to consider the scope of the company, the nature of the design projects, and the expertise of the design personnel. To put together a strong UX team, it's important to be familiar with the available internal resources and team expertise.

Successful UX teams are built when a clear objective is established for both the UX team and the company as a whole. Signup for UX courses with Uxcel and learn how to create the dream team.

Frequently Asked Questions

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