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What is the Future of UX Research?

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Large-scale layoffs in the tech sector, a significant downturn in UX job postings and the rise of AI are all giving the UX job market a feeling of deep uncertainty if not real malaise. The accelerated hiring at the beginning of the pandemic for all of tech and UX and subsequent mass layoffs are leading to the wrong conclusions. CompTIA’s State of the Tech Workforce Report projects the growth rate for tech jobs over the next ten years to be double the national growth rate for all other jobs. UX Research jobs are predicted to grow at a rate of 4.7%. UX Research job openings in 2023 were 53% higher than in 2018. The growth of AI is making UX research skills more critical for companies versus pushing the expertise out. What can we expect in the near future of UX Research?

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is allowing UX Researchers to quickly and accurately analyze large sets of data helping them to find patterns and trends that were hard to detect before. This tool and the speed with which it works is helping UX Researchers do their job better and faster.

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augumented Reality (AR)

UX Researchers use VR and AR to offer users a more immersive and interactive experience reaping greater insights and depth to research results.

Biometrics

Tracking physiological and behavioral responses through eye movements, heart rate and facial expressions has been time consuming and expensive but breakthroughs in the technology are expected to make the use more widespread and more valuable furthering the future of UX Research.

DEI Initiatives

Increased focus on more inclusive products by testing diverse perspectives and diverse user experiences is aiding in designing products that are just simply more useful for more people.

Adapting to New Generations

Gen Z expects everything to work as simply as possible and as quickly as possible – they get distracted very easily. The future of UX Research is finding a different approach to design products for this target audience.

Collaboration and Sustainability

The future of UX Research has always been dependent on the flow between product teams, designers, programmers, marketers and researchers. The pandemic accelerated the use of online interaction for teams that are now often located at different home offices. These new pathways avoid large group meetings and facilitate quicker reactions and responses. Remote usability testing that can be performed anywhere is minimizing environmental impact and maximizing long-term success.

Three sectors currently investing in UX Research:

  1. The Finance Industry – Legacy banks are having to compete with challenger banks like Revolut, N26 and Monzo. The NatWest Group invested $2.3 billion in their digital transformation strategy in 2022, while JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley are building new UX divisions.
  2. The Medical Tech Sector – The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) market is projected to reach $187.6 billion by 2028 from $13.23 billion in 2020. This rapidly growing demand for digital healthcare solutions in ensuring jobs for people who can design them and ensure they are accessible and usable.
  3. Government and Civil Service – At the end of 2023 the US Department of Labor announced $204 million in grants to improve the capacity, user experience, and reliability of its unemployment insurance systems is just one example of this growth.

Interested in hiring a UX Researcher? Contact Smith Hanley Associates’ Market Research and Consumer Insights Executive Recruiter, Pierson Wofford at pwofford@smithhanley.com.

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