Building user research capacity so we have the space to think

The Thinker statue

It has been an exciting week for us. We’ve recruited another talented User Researcher to our team.

As of the new year we will have three dedicated, full-time researchers: Adam, John, and now Charlotte. Welcome Charlotte!

At the risk of making an obvious point: growing our user research team gives us more capacity for doing user research.

But our motivation to recruit is the blog-worthy point here.

We decided to increase our user research capacity to ensure our researchers continue to have the space and time they need to properly reflect, analyse, and communicate their work.

In fact, we intend for our researchers to have more space for serious chin stroking after they engage with user participants.

It is less about being able to take on more research projects (although it does help with that too).

Internally we have a rule of thumb that for every hour we engage with a user participant (in interviews, field observations, usability tests, workshops…) we should spend at least an hour preparing and working with the outputs.

It’s not a hard rule. It is more a principle that puts the emphasis on getting the most out of every research engagement.

Getting hold of the right user participants can be really tough. We certainly put a lot of effort into that.

Teachers, doctors, policy makers, child service directors… these are busy people that need to be getting on with their important day jobs. When they are kind enough to volunteer for our research, it is a matter of respect that we get the most out of our time with them.

Enlarging the User Research Team does raise questions about the best way to deploy and organise our research. We’ll be coming together in the New Year to work on that, and will share more then.

But in the meantime, a warm welcome again to Charlotte.

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