Director of Research - Usability Firm

"I enjoy getting to the bottom of things and being able to discover new things through vigorous hours of in-depth research. I am in charge of researching user experience features in computer software and other applications. I investigate ways to improve the end-user interaction with computer programs to increase satisfaction, brand loyalty, and overall use. I also create reports based on market trends and user surveys, analyzing the information and reporting observations to the Director of User Experience."

Salary Range:

$64,000 - $95,000

The Tip

Be different and do one thing every year that causes people to ask, “So, why did you do that?”

Priority Knowledge & Skills
Management Skills
  • Manage the design process

  • Manage multiple workflows

  • Act in a responsible manner with regard to the needs of people, their communities, and society as a whole

 

Research & Insights Skills
  • Formulate focused and practical research questions

  • Develop and execute qualitative research including observation, interviews and text analysis

  • Develop and execute quantitative research including large data-set statistical analysis

  • Apply a deep knowledge of human behaviour to understand usability

  • Systems mapping and knowledge transfer

 

Communication Skills
  • Translate content into meaningful information

  • Write clearly, including technical, descriptive and narrative language, to suit a wide variety of audiences

  • Use specialized software to prepare, edit and distribute content across multiple platforms

Design Skills
  • Build prototypes out of a variety of materials

  • Critique and improve design artifacts.

 

Core Transferable Skills

Be an expert at all core transferable skills:

  • Thinking skills

  • Communications skills

  • Organizational skills

  • Interpersonal skills

  • Technical literacy

Building Block Experiences
Education & Learning:
  • Bachelor of Communications (information design) with a minor in social innovation

  • Completed Master of Data Analytics at Western University

I took a minor in social innovation. At graduation, I committed to pursuing graduate school to dig into data science. This credential was critical in the exploding world of data science.

Employment Experiences:
  • Worked in retail for three years while in university

  • I worked in a UX firm for my first work term. At graduation, I transitioned into a research role at this firm for two years.

  • Following graduate school, I was recruited to work for a usability designer. After four years, I was promoted to director and now lead the team.

 

Frontline experience interacting with real customers while in school offered me a lens into human behaviour and triggered my love for research. I love research and evidence, which led me into a research role and graduate school. This combination of theory and practice gave me expertise in using data to drive design decisions.

Community Experiences:
  • Sunday school coordinator

 

I led my church’s Sunday school program for six years. Sunday’s are one of my favourite days of the week. Working with children gives me energy.

Contextual Experiences:
  • I took a year off from university to become a teacher’s assistant in an elementary school in the U.K.

  • I have traveled to 14 countries

 

My parents thought I was crazy to take a year off school and move to the U.K. for work. I worked for basically minimum wage and lived in a dorm room, but the experience was invaluable. My goal was to test drive if I wanted to become a teacher. Though I loved it, it confirmed my desire to pursue a career as a researcher.

Relationships:
  • I foster relationships on social media. The opportunity to connect with these people from around the world challenges my world view.

 

Relationships aren’t limited to people you see every week or even every year. Digital allows you to maintain and cultivate relationships over a lifetime.