How I Became a UX Researcher

Hi all!

I have a Youtube where I post my thoughts, life, and tips on UX/UI (specifically UX Research). One of my most popular videos is How I Got a Job as a UX Researcher. I wanted to write up a little blog post sort of updating that video as well as linking it here because a lot of people have reached out to me asking additional questions or telling me that that video was very helpful for them.

If you’re interested, you can watch the video first below…

Or skip right to this update!

Portfolio Tips

One thing I get asked all the time are portfolio tips or recommendations. Here are my tips for a UX Researcher portfolio, specifically:

The (Summarized) Design Process

I would work on a dummy app or redesign a current app, software, website you don't like. For example, my least favorite app is Facebook. So, I'd create a problem statement (the overall goal I want to solve) and conduct research to test the heuristics and pain points of the app amongst end users. I would include a heuristic analysis, make some paper/card board prototypes and test them with my friends, design basic wireframes of the new version and test that again with friends. I wouldn't even design it at this point (adding colors, typography, branding etc) because research does not involve the actual visual design. It's more about the features and usability amongst users.

Research Methodology

Everything I just described is actually your research methodology. So if someone asks you what your methodology is, it's simply just the way you conducted research to solve your problem statement. To help clarify what I am all talking about, visit my senior capstone. That pdf is what I turned in to graduate and you can definitely use it as a guideline for your own portfolio piece. I would say have at least one super strong portfolio piece that is displayed nicely online (like mine). Then, if you get an interview, you can refer back to it and it can be used as a testament to your abilities. That PDF was actually printed into a book with several copies and I physically handed it out for others to review during interviews. It's the piece that got me my current job.

Here are a few resources for various design methodologies and models:

This is pretty comprehensive:

Tell the Story!

Imagery is a good way to help tell the story and bring to life the "characters" and findings. If you didn't take photos for your last project, that's okay. Next time try to. Most participants will agree to photos if it's not of their face. Did you draw or create any hypothesis or other things for testing? Maybe include photos of that as well? As for the results/conclusion, I would elaborate on what you proposed to the stakeholders, maybe their reaction or critiques that they gave you and then maybe an explanation of the next iteration or if there wasn't one, what you could've done better.

Did this help? Did I answer your question?

If not, please feel free to email me and let’s talk!

UX Researcher and psuedo blogger.