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The Best UX Research Content of 2022

A recap of our most popular UX research articles, podcasts, webinars, and reports published in the past year.

And that’s a wrap on 2022! 🥳

Despite the many ups and downs of the past year, UX research is growing—and I know I speak for everyone at User Interviews when I say, we’re so excited to be growing with y’all. 

It feels like just yesterday I was reflecting on my first week at UI, yet here I am with a full calendar year under my belt, tag-teaming articles and reports, and celebrating a ton of new and improved content on the User Interviews blog.

As we’re gearing up for an exciting 2023 at User Interviews, we wanted to give you the chance to catch up on any of the past year’s content that you might’ve missed—and revisit the content you cared about most. 

Here’s a roundup of the content you loved, shared, and bookmarked in 2022. For each month, I’ve highlighted: 

  • The primary themes and topics we covered in that month
  • The top 2 most popular pieces of content, based on website sessions and overall hype on social media
  • Other content published that month which might have slipped your radar

❄️ January

Aptly, January was a month of firsts for the User Interviews blog—insights from my first research project, reflections from Matt Morrison’s first year at Braze, how to land your first UXR internship, and what our recently-hired VP of User Research did (and learned) in her first 90 days at UI. 

People Who Do Research (PWDRs): A Discovery Study

As part of onboarding at User Interviews, new team members get to do their own research study run through the UI platform. This article discussed the insights from my own onboarding research project, a deep-dive into the career paths, values, challenges, and practical approaches of people who do research.

B2B Recruiting and Customer Research with Matthew Morrison of Braze

Matthew Morrison, Senior UX Researcher at Braze, joined Erin and JH on the Awkward Silences podcast to share what he’s learned about B2B recruiting, working with internal stakeholders, avoiding participant fatigue, and more. 

Other content published in January includes:

💝 February

At User Interviews, we love taking our skills to the next level. In the 2nd month of 2022, we published a collection of articles and podcasts to help you do just that—including a roundup of prototype templates to help you save time, tips for improving your interviewing skills, a discussion on why democratization is advancing the craft of UXR, and a list of industry events where UXRs can network, learn, and grow. 

128 Best Prototype Templates and Examples

We collected 128—yes, 128—(mostly) free prototype templates and examples for Adobe XD, Figma, Sketch, Framer, and more. Plus, we cover everything you need to know about creating a killer prototype for UX research. 

User Interviews 201: Leveling Up Your Interviews with Therese Fessenden of NN/g

In our second highest-performing Awkward Silences episode of all time, Therese Fessenden, Senior User Experience Specialist at NN/g, talks about how to take your interviewing skills to the next level. She discusses how to master the basics, hone your skills, and become an A+ interviewer. 

Other content published in February includes:

🍀 March

In March, we took a step back to get a global perspective on the user research industry—where it is, where it’s going, and how (we think) it’ll get there. Our State of User Research report unpacks findings from self-reported data by researchers around the world. Meanwhile, members of our research, product, marketing, and customer development teams joined panels, webinars, conferences, and podcast discussions to explore the future implications of research democratization. 

The State of User Research 2022 Report

The fourth edition of this highly-anticipated report unpacks the findings from our annual survey that we conduct to quantify, analyze, and uncover trends in UX research. This year, we collected responses from 562 user researchers and people who do user research as part of their jobs and learned about their methodologies, teams, careers, tools, and more. 

Common UX Research Job Interview Questions & How to Answer Them

Job interviews are a universally nerve-wracking experience—but you don’t have to approach them cold. In our second-highest performing article from March, we provide a list of common interview questions for user research roles with tips for answering them to help you land your next (or first) gig in UXR.

Other content published in March includes:

🌧 April

April showers bring… many different topics to the User Interviews blog. In the first full month of Spring 2022, we had a diverse publishing schedule, with a sprinkle of content about ethnographic research, a drizzle of design psychology, some runoff from last month’s foray into democratization, and a break in the clouds to illuminate the best UXR podcasts that are still active this year. 

15 Digital Ethnography Tools for Remote UX Research

If you’re one of the 11% of user researchers who transitioned into UXR from anthropology or sociology, you were probably one of the many readers who contributed to this article’s popularity in April. In it, we discuss the top digital ethnography tools for UX research data collection and analysis, including user reviews and 2022 pricing information.

Design Psychology with Thomas Watkins of 3Leaf

Thomas Watkins, UX Architect and Founder of 3Leaf, joined Awkward Silences to talk about using design psychology in UX to design better, more user-friendly software. He talked about how design psychology relates to UX, risks and need-to-knows for psychologists transitioning into business research, the power of mental models, and more.

Other content published in April includes:

🎓 May

May is the last month of classes for most traditional-calendar schools, and we thought it was a good month to recap what we learned from our teachers, mentors, and elders. We asked a librarian what they could teach us about insights repositories, while researchers from Condens and User Interviews taught us how and why to create a taxonomy for said repositories. Plus: A hand-me-down user research recipe, just like Katryna’s grandma used to make. 

What Librarians Can Teach UXRs about Insights Repositories with Nada Alnakeeb of DoorDash and Joanna Perez of Netflix

Public libraries have been using insights repositories for decades—and it’s time user research teams catch up. In this episode of Awkward Silences, we were joined by Nada Alnakeeb, of DoorDash, and Joanna Perez of Netflix. They shared learnings from their experience building the insights repository at Meta, using familiar organizational patterns to reduce mental load, tips for effective taxonomies, and more.

How to Create An Effective Taxonomy for UX Research

A robust tagging structure—also known as a taxonomy—is the central element of an effective research repository. But what makes a taxonomy “good”? And how do you create a system that will work for your organization? Sina Schreiber of Condens, and Roberta Dombrowski of User Interviews, hosted a workshop to provide practical tips on how to create an effective taxonomy. If you missed the live session, here’s the video recording, slides, and worksheet. 

Other content published in May includes:

☀️ June

Class may be out for the summer, but the learning isn’t over. With June came the release of our first-ever UX Research Yearbook and accompanying UXR reading list, two (awkward) conversations with thought leaders providing education for aspiring UXers, and a brand-new monthly podcast series where our hosts reflect on lessons learned and hopes for the future. 

The UX Research Yearbook of 2022

In its inaugural year, the User Research Yearbook is a directory of essential voices in User Research: In one way or another, all of the folks in the UI High Class of 2022 have contributed their time to educate, champion, challenge, and drive important conversations within the field. We featured leaders whose work highlighted two distinct but related themes: democratizing + scaling + operationalizing research and inclusion in research and design.

Your UX Career Is a Product – with Sarah Doody of Career Strategy Lab

If you’ve ever felt burnt out and stuck in the wrong role, you’re not alone. You might’ve made the mistake of not treating your career like a product—but you can get yourself back on track by building (and following) a career roadmap. Sarah Doody, Founder and CEO of Career Strategy Lab, joined the Awkward Silences podcast to share why it’s important to think of your UX career as a product and how you can start doing so today.

Other content published in June includes:

🏝 July

July is a notorious month for partying, with celebratory occasions like Independence Day in the U.S., Canada Day, Bastille Day, Malala Day, World Chocolate Day, and World Emoji Day, to name a few. In the same spirit, we invited our friends and partners to join us on the content calendar. None of the content from this month was authored by our Content team—instead, we heard from experts at Condens and Reveall, as well as UI’s internal research and product marketing teams.

Affinity Mapping: Synthesize User Research Data in 5 Steps

Affinity mapping—it’s a bit more complex than slapping sticky notes on a wall. Sina Schreiber, UX Researcher and Content Strategist at Condens, published this guide to affinity mapping on the User Interviews blog. It covers the basics of affinity mapping, including how to manage affinity mapping with a team and 5 steps for getting started. 

Usability Testing Best Practices

Can people actually use this thing? That’s the question that usability testing can help you answer—provided, of course, that you run the test correctly. For a refresher on usability testing best practices, we pulled together some tips straight from our Research Playbook, an internal resource that the UI Research Team has been building over the last 6(ish) months.

Other content published in July includes:

🍉 August

August, in the heart of the harvesting season, was ripe with valuable content on the User Interviews blog. This month, we heard from a wide range of thought leaders from Misalud Health, Curiosity Tank, Chameleon, and our own UXR team. We also provided practical advice for successful research operations, maintaining privacy and confidentiality in research studies, and weighing two different recruitment tool vendors. 

Leading UX Research for Healthcare Apps with Wendy Johansson of Misalud Health

What can UXers do to improve health inequity in the U.S.? Wendy Johansson, Co-Founder and Chief Product Experience Officer of MiSalud Health, believes the answer lies in health tech. In this episode of the Awkward Silences podcast, Wendy shares how the MiSalud app works and her approach to using qualitative research to help build a great product.

Finding a UX Research Mentor or Coach

A career path in UX can be both rewarding and overwhelming—but a mentor or coach can help you achieve your goals. In this article, Roberta Dombrowski, our VP of User Research (and a coach, teacher and mentor herself), discusses how mentoring can help you improve your skills, boost your confidence, and level up your UX career.

Other content published in August includes:

🍃 September

Respect, authenticity, and growth were common threads throughout our September content. We discussed the importance of ethics in UX and how to improve processes like recruiting and providing feedback. Rachell reflects on the intersection between UXR and storytelling in her debut article. And, in a moment of authentic growth for User Interviews, we relaunched our panel management tool, Research Hub, with an insider’s look into how our internal team uses it to streamline our own recruitment process. 

How to Break Open the UX Research Recruiting Bottleneck

As more people do research (both within the core UXR team and in other teams like Design and Product), customer recruitment becomes tricker to track and manage. Our September playbook teaches you how to tackle your recruitment and panel management pains as your team grows, discussing common pain points felt by UXR teams as they scale and actionable strategies for relieving those pain points.

Ethical Design and Respectful UX Research with Kat Zhou of Epidemic Sound

Respect: good for research, good for users, good for you. In this episode, Epidemic Sound's Sr. Product Designer Kat Zhou discusses why many companies miss the mark on respect and how to integrate respectful, ethical practices into UX research and design.

Other content published in September includes:

🎃 October

In the midst of dying autumn leaves and superstitious Halloween traditions, our content focused on creating and sustaining the life and energy of your UX research team. We revived the Incentives Calculator and Report to provide up-to-date recommendations; took the mask off of influencers from Tremendous, Google, and Maze; and explored how leaders can nurture the right cultures, strategies, and processes for an effective UXR team. 

2022 UX Research Incentives Report

What does a fair research incentive look like? We analyzed data from nearly 20,000 research projects to find out. Our 2022 Research Incentives Report digs into the average, most common, and recommended incentives for moderated and unmoderated studies. And, we used that data to refresh our UX Research Incentives Calculator to provide customized, data-backed incentive recommendations!

How to Build a UX Research Team from Scratch

If you’re the first full-time user researcher hired at your company, what should you do in your first 30, 60, and 90 days? This article offers a data-backed checklist/timeline of milestones to hit, researcher-tested tips for establishing a successful UX research practice, and reflections and examples from our own UXR leader’s first 90 days. 

Other content published in October includes:

🦃 November

In the penultimate month of 2022, we were grateful to feature the voices of UX research and research ops leaders, while also offering practical guides on competitive analyses and bureaucracy-free recruitment for PMs, designers, and marketers. Plus, Rachell rounds up the 13 best survey tools to use for UX research. 

When, Why, and How to Conduct a Competitive Analysis for UX Research

Whether you’re looking to create the next best SaaS product or finding new ways to improve an existing offer, evaluating your competitors can be a great source of inspiration and motivation. That’s why it’s important to conduct a competitive analysis for both user and market insights. In this article, you’ll learn how market research and user research can work together in practice.

Making Research Ops Visible with Benson Low of REA Group

In this episode of Awkward Silences, Hosts Erin May and John-Henry Forster chat with research design leader Benson Low about why it’s time to bring attention to Research Ops. They discuss the emerging role of Research Ops specialists, and Benson provides several strategies that can help communicate the value of Research Ops to stakeholders. 

Other content published in November includes:

⛄️ December

You didn’t think we’d end the year without a bang, did you? December was an incredible month at UI, with the release of our consistently-popular UXR Tools Map, which came with some exciting design changes (think less NYC subway system and more House of the Dragon fantasy map). We also heard from thought leaders Roberta Dombrowski, Pulkit Agrawal, Tiffany Mura, and Erica Devine—and we discussed how to plan for research in a recession, even if your 2023 budget might be tight. 

2022 UX Research Tools Map

Explore User Interviews’s 2022 UX Research Tools Map, a fantastical guide to over 230 tools for recruiting, usability testing, surveys, moderated sessions, analysis, and more. The UXR landscape grew so much this year that we had to radically (and I mean radically) re-design the map to fit them all! 

You Have to Pay Your Participants

In the wake of layoffs and budget cuts across industries, some researchers (and stakeholders in charge of research budgets) may be left wondering: “Can I recruit research participants without incentives?” This article discusses why that’s a bad idea (and how to offer fair incentives on a shoestring budget)—with insights from UXR thought leaders, peer reviewed journals, and UI's internal incentives data.

Other content published in December includes:

See ya next year 👋

There you have it—the entire 2022 content library from User Interviews.

As a bonus, check out our top 5 highest-performing posts of the year. Although they weren’t published in 2022, readers continue to flock to these posts for their actionable tips, tools, and templates: 

Many thanks to those of you who’ve kept up with the User Interviews blog, podcast, and events over the past year. If you’re not already, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter, Fresh Views, to stay updated on our latest content in 2023. 

Happy Holidays!

Lizzy Burnam
Product Education Manager

Marketer, writer, poet. Lizzy likes hiking, people-watching, thrift shopping, learning and sharing ideas. Her happiest memory is sitting on the shore of Lake Champlain in the summer of 2020, eating a clementine.

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