Our Thinking
Applying Psychology to Digital Services – a Q&A
31 October 2017 | Posted by Bronagh Smyth

What exactly does a User Researcher do? What qualities and experience go into making a great User Researcher.  To many, it’s a mysterious role. We sat down with Bronagh, one of our User Researchers and asked her some questions. Read on for her insights into the role.

A little about my background

I studied Psychology at University, and wanted a role that allowed me to continue to develop my research skills and understanding human behaviour and decision making. I wanted to move towards software development and technology – it made sense, as it is such a growing field with so many opportunities. I also wanted to be involved in working on innovative projects.

What do you like about User Research?

It’s really cool to always be out and about, speaking to people and seeing totally different lives and the impacts that products and services could have. I have a great team and I love when you can see how the research has fed into the designs. This makes the role really rewarding, when you see the tangible effects your work can have.

What are the main challenges you face as a User Researcher?

The role involves excellent communication skills. It’s important and sometimes hard to get through to the wider team – you have to be creative in capturing attention and making sure that your insights fight their way through to the final products. There can be a lot of travelling, but we are looked after well when we are doing that!

What has your career path been to date?

I studied Psychology and Business, then worked in Product Research for a few years. After this I moved into more branding and advertising research. My post before Kainos involved government campaigns – so trying to change behaviour to encourage people to drive safer, or continue to third level education or apprenticeships, which was really interesting. Kainos has allowed me to continue developing my research skills, but in an Agile environment, which was new to me. A career coach and access to training has really helped me pick up these new skills.

Can you think of a highlight of your time at Kainos so far?

It is great when you’ve put a lot of work into something and present it back, and get positive feedback from colleagues/clients. That makes the work I do so rewarding and worthwhile.

The culture at Kainos is really special – there is a great social side which I realized was important to me when it was totally lacking in my last job. I read a lot of reviews from employees that were very positive before moving. Skills for Me is such a great initiative, where staff have access to £250 each year for training outside of work. I think it is such a great perk and have already got ideas for what I want to do for the next few years!!!

Want to pursue a career in User Research? Check out our vacancies.

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