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//Explore a Career in User Research | Liisa Rumberg

Overview Info

Understand how sociology is used to optimize a digital product in 2021 💻👩‍🦰

Explore a Career in User Research | Liisa Rumberg

Category : Sciences
Role: User Researcher
Company: Pipedrive
Location: Tallinn, Estonia

Pipedrive just reached Unicorn status 🦄 and is one of the fastest growing tech startups in Europe. Liisa tells us her story about how it is to be an in house User Researcher at a fast paced tech startup in Europe 2021. We dive into user research as a science, what Liisa does in her day to day and how you can start your career in user research today already.

Check out the full interview below or reach the transcribed highlights.

Nexgen Careers: For those who don’t know what a user researcher is, can you just give us a brief explanation?

Liisa: Yes, thank you for having me. And thank you for the kind introduction as well. So as you mentioned, I work as a user researcher in a CRM company called Pipedrive. What our company is doing is that we are building a tool for salespeople. So like a system, which salespeople are going to use daily to track their sales. And what the user researcher does is that I work closely together with our designers and product managers. And my goal is to provide them user insights. So I do research on our users – who they are, what their needs are, what their pain points are, how they are using our product. And also look at what are some future needs that we should cover to provide a better experience?

It is kind of like being an in house sociologist, I would say. So doing different types of research, but with a goal to help to build a better product for salespeople.

NGC: So you understand people very well?

L: Not by default, but I know methods, how to understand them better. I would say that my job is a  lot about listening and communication and also building empathy. Putting myself in the shoes of the customer or in the shoes of the user and trying to understand what are their goals? What do they want to achieve? and feel the pains that they have. So that I could bring these insights back to our design team so that we can fix some issues which we might have in our product.

NGC: Can you share any other methods? Like for example, what do you do in your day to day? 

L: Yes, as I said, there are quite many different methods. One of them is exactly seeing how people navigate the product, this is called usability testing and it can be done either on a prototype, so the product is not really developed yet, but we have designed design images, which are like made clickable. Then people can kind of navigate in it, or it can be the live production.

Nowadays, everything is happening remotely, via zoom and by screen sharing mode, and I just see how people try to complete the tasks and they also narrate their actions. So I also understand where they feel puzzled, and what exactly is causing the questions. So this is very  design focused research in a way so that we can really get the knowledge about what exactly is not working in our design, and what wording for example, should we change or maybe we should change the location of some buttons because they’re not visible and these kinds of things.

But what I mostly do is actually user interviews. So I don’t even show people anything, but I’m more about more interested in their workflows, and how their days look like and what exactly their needs and struggles are when doing sales.

“So for example; how are salespeople using email? What type of notifications do they need? Why do they need to see when the email was opened? and by whom? And how many times and if the links were clicked or not? So what do they do with this knowledge and how it helps them to sell more?”

So just like getting this deeper understanding about “why’” is something which researchers can do. Because this “why” can then inspire designers to come up with the best solutions.

Because what is interesting is that people know what the problems are, but they might not actually know what are the best solutions for it. So the goal of researchers is not actually to go and collect different feature requests. So if I were to ask “What do you as a salesperson wish to see in Pipedrive?” They might have some ideas, which might be good. But these might not be actually solving their issues, which lie deeper. So by knowing exactly where the pains are, we can come up with the solutions.

NGC: Do you have any advice to anyone looking to get into the field of User Research?

Just start from somewhere. So as you heard from my story, there usually isn’t like a very clear path or like a one clear course in university that you can take. So an easy way to start is just by reading some blogs, watching some YouTube videos, attending some conferences, which nowadays are all online, and a lot of them are actually for free or quite cheap.

So starting reading about the domain, you understand the terminology and understand the methods. One thing which I really recommend is exactly speaking with people who work in this field and in this career, so what might be a good starting point as well. And feel free to reach out to me if you have any further questions.

“And then I would really suggest just starting off with any project. So for example, think about if you have anybody in your network who has an online store or some kind of product? Then go and have a chat with them and ask what type of questions or problems do they currently face?”

So for example, maybe they have a lot of traffic on their web page, but the people are not converting? A super good research question is that “Why don’t people convert?” So what’s wrong with the web page? And what you can do? You can do it even for free, because you are still learning. It is just you conducting some initial usability testing for the website and see where there is a drop off and why. You will learn how to do the testing, you will learn how to do the analysis of it and how to write the report and how to present it in the end, you might really benefit the company and you will have an idea and a very good case study to write a blog post about it maybe, and something to mention in your job interviews, or maybe even mentioned in your CV. So just starting with some tiny projects, I feel is a good idea.

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