Not just a fly on the wall but part of the team

A blog by Ellie Cowley about her three-week work experience.

During May I had the opportunity to spend three weeks with Lagom, not just as a fly on the wall but as an integrated part of their team. Everyone was so welcoming to me, ensuring that I was included in the day-to-day workings of Lagom and that I understood the role of a user researcher.

Before Lagom, I had some previous experience with user research through both of my degrees, however, this gave me the opportunity to see how user research is conducted and presented within industry. It also gave me the chance to witness the communication between user researchers and their clients, which is something that I had been naive to, and this gave me an insight into how to manage the balance of the wants of the client and the needs of the users.

The first week had my calendar completely blocked out with meetings as I had the chance to observe every session that they could put me in. This was really useful as I got to see the complete process, although it was in a non-chronological order.

I was able to witness everything from weekly catch-ups and user interviews to prototyping sessions and final show and tells. In addition to this, I had daily one-to-one catch-ups with John, who was always happy to answer any questions that I had and talk me through anything I didn’t understand.

By the second week I was placed onto a live project and working with the team. Being so involved wasn’t something that I was expecting, and the responsibility of being placed on a live project really showed me what it is to be a user researcher.

I am not the most confident person, so to be given the task of conducting several user interviews had my anxiety levels increasing.  Fortunately, I was eased into them by observing Adam conduct interviews, then transcribing those interviews, and then analysing them.

By the time it came to conducting my own interviews the anxiety was still there, but I knew what to expect and was prepared for them. I had seen the process multiple times so now I was ready for my turn. The first interview was a bit shaky and I stumbled over my words, however, by the second interview I was more comfortable within myself and the role that I was undertaking. Afterwards, I was even able to use the skills that I had gained to reverse user research John in one of our sessions to collect my own research for a case study that I am working on.

Before this experience, user research was something that I was interested in and wanted to learn more about with the intention of making a career from it. However, these last three weeks have really cemented that this is what I want to do, and it has given me the confidence that I need to move forward after graduating university.

I look forward to taking the next steps towards a career in user research, and I can’t thank the team enough for this experience.

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