The Day-to-Day as a UX Researcher
UX stands for user experience. User Experience Researchers analyze and research services, websites, applications, and computerized devices to improve the usability of the application and provide users and customers with easy and enjoyable experiences or provide insight to their employer. UX Researchers collaborate with teammates such as Designers, UI Designers, Developers, Data Analysts, and their clients. UX Researchers work in any industry where you can find websites or applications.
UX Researchers work a typical 40-hour week unless they are on a tight deadline. They usually work onsite but can also find remote and freelance opportunities. UX Researcher is a nascent job title and they will have different responsibilities at each organization they are employed at. They can expect to work on developing wireframes, analyzing end-users or consumer data, researching end-users, creating ideal user avatars, working through multiple stages of prototyping, and conducting A/B testing.
What Skills Should UX Researchers Have?
UX Researchers must be good, empathetic communicators in order to do their job well. Other soft skills UX Researchers will find necessary are human behavior understanding, critical thinking, curiosity, and teamwork. They will need to be ready to self-learn emerging and relevant technologies and best practices in this developing field.
UX Researchers will also be doing large quantities of researching and writing and sharpening those skills will give candidates a leg up over the course of their career. A UX Researcher will need to understand how to conduct and analyze both qualitative and quantitative research. In many cases, the UX Researcher will set the scope and principles of a study based on objects from the client or stakeholders. They’ll analyze that study and pass it off to a Designer who uses the information to create a prototype.
UX Researchers are not required to know how to code, but a basic understanding of HTML and CSS might be necessary depending on the employer. Coding knowledge is only necessary for a UX Researcher to be able to effectively communicate their technical needs more efficiently.
Learn the Skills You Need to Become a UX Researcher
Photoshop is a software application created by Adobe for image editing and photo retouching on Windows or macOS computers. Photoshop can be used to manipulate and retouch photos. It can also be used to create compositions, collages, design comprehensives, and more.
UX Design stands for User Experience Design which is the practice of designing software and other applications with the user in mind. This means researching, testing, and designing a product using empathy and end-user avatars.
Sketch is a design platform used to create, share, and collaborate prototypes and wireframes.
Illustrator is a computer program for design developed by Adobe. Illustrator is used by designers to create and edit vector graphics. It can be used for print, web, applications, videos, animations, and more.
UX Researcher Salaries
A UX Researcher in the United States makes, on average, $71,217 annually, according to Indeed.com.
Salaries for UX Researchers vary by region within the the United States. Listed below are some UX Researcher salaries for specific areas with the United States compared with the average national salary:
- U.S. Average $71K source n/a
New York City
Los Angeles, CA
Orange County, CA
- U.S. Average $71K source n/a
Typical Qualifications to Become a UX Researcher
You do not need a higher education degree to become a UX Researcher. Some UX Researchers do have a bachelor’s degree in design, psychology, or marketing. UX is a somewhat new career field and formal requirements are virtually nonexistent. Recruiters and hiring managers will look for proficiency in the necessary skills more than a degree. UX Researchers do not need to know how to code but a basic understanding of coding jargon will help them in the field. There are no industry standard certifications for UX Designers.
Searching for UX Researcher Jobs
UX Researchers can work in a variety of environments including corporate companies, startups, freelance, contract, or for a government entity. They can find jobs in nearly any industry.
You can find User Experience Researcher jobs on these sites:
- Google Jobs
- Authentic Jobs
- UXPA Job Bank
- UX Jobs
- Just UX Jobs
- UX Switch
You can find freelance, contract, or remote UX Researcher jobs on these sites:
Tips to Become a UX Researcher
UX Researchers should have a well-rounded portfolio that showcases their work. A good portfolio can include case studies that show the process of researching optimal user experiences from start to finish, articulate the process and reasoning behind a user interview, or a report of suggestions based on data. Posting these case studies on a cleanly designed blog is common practice so that potential employers can view your work.
UX Researchers should also be utilizing LinkedIn to its fullest potential. Your LinkedIn profile should include all past experiences and include keywords relating to UX Researcher skills and responsibilities. It should also show and tell how your past experiences offer transferable value to your position as a UX Researcher.
To get a leg up, try to connect with a point person with a letter of introduction at each company you send an application to, whether you applied via LinkedIn or not. This will provide you name recognition and sometimes first-hand advice. You should also make these connections with people who might be your manager at any company you would like to work for regardless of whether they have posted job openings. These connections will also help freelance Researchers grow their client base.
What Job Titles Would a UX Researcher Hold?
UX Researchers will likely begin with entry-level, junior, or startup positions but will find that rising the ranks to a senior position, landing a job at a larger company, or going freelance after their first year or two is possible and will result in a much higher annual salary.
UX Researchers can look for these positions:
- UX Researcher
- User Researcher
- User Experience Researcher
- Junior User Experience Researcher
- Senior UX Researcher
- User Experience Lead
- UX Project Manager
- UX Strategist
- User Experience Specialist
- UX Consultant
- Digital Experience Architect
- UX Writer
- Interaction Design
UX Researchers can easily pivot to working as UI Designers or UX Designers. This adjacent field requires more technical skills, design skills, and coding knowledge. They could also switch careers to work in marketing, data analysis, web content, or consulting with some digital marketing and writing skills.
Salary Comparison to UX Researcher
User Experience Designer
User experience (UX) designers are responsible for ensuring that digital products offer a seamless user experience, through prototyping, user research, and user testing. They will test the navigation and functionality of websites, apps, and more. UX designers must stay current on design trends to ensure ongoing adherence to best practices. They will also conduct ongoing user research to understand the habits and needs of users.Learn about becoming a User Experience Designer
Web designers design the appearance and workings of a website. They use their understanding of both visual design and technical design principles to create functional web layouts. Some web designers work from home and enjoy the flexibility of freelance work, while others work for agencies or businesses. Good web designers have the experience and foresight to anticipate the end-user experience and design for ease of use and navigation.Learn about becoming a Web Designer
Graphic designers work with both digital and physical media to create art that communicates and inspires. Using graphics, text, colors, and animations, graphics designers develop media assets for branding, advertising, and messaging. Graphics designers can work for agencies or themselves. They create a wide variety of design elements, such as brochures, infographics, marketing material layouts, and design elements for print, video, or web use.Learn about becoming a Graphic Designer
User interface (UI) designers are responsible for how an application or web page looks and feels. Using colors, fonts, patterns, textures, icons, and buttons, user interface designers work with user experience designers to improve websites. Some user interface designers may also touch on user experience design (UX) issues and use prototyping and user testing to analyze the effectiveness of messaging and ease of use.Learn about becoming a UI Designer
Visual designers focus on what users see on their screens—banners, menus, graphics, navigation, and more. They use their knowledge of best practices to design digital elements such as page designs, banner ads, icons, and overlays. Working for platforms such as websites, apps, movies, games, and wearables, visual designers strive to provide beautiful user interface. Visual designers often work with software such as Sketch, Adobe XD, Figma, Photoshop, and more.Learn about becoming a Visual Designer