Exploring the Future of UX Research and AI

Empowering UX Research through AI: Visionary Thoughts by Josh Williams

UX Research and AI Josh Williams: Research Director – Indeed

I’m Josh đź‘‹, an experienced leader in the world of product and marketing research across various industries. I’m currently a Research Director at Indeed, the world’s leading job site. I’m dedicated to helping people get jobs by bringing the voice of the job seeker to the forefront of everything we do. I’m not just about getting the job done; I’m all about sparking data-driven innovation and making human experiences better through meaningful research integration and partnership. Plus, I’m super passionate about triangulating via various data sources and methods to give us the full picture for informed decisions. Topic: Delivering superior customer experience through continuous research.

UX360: Without giving too much away – what is the core message of your talk and what would you like our attendees to remember?

Josh William: I want researchers to cultivate a research practice that takes multiple viewpoints into their users’ needs and experiences (through both continuous discovery and triangulation) throughout the entire product development lifecycle while identifying opportunities for stakeholder-partners to be deeply engaged and equally responsible for building user-centric and data-driven products.

UX360: Why is continuous discovery important?

Josh William: Continuous discovery is essential for building successful and user-centric products by knowing when to zoom in and out of the problems that we are focusing on. Continuous discovery focuses on user needs throughout the development process as well as fostering adaptability, minimizing risks, and promoting data-driven decision-making.

UX360: What does leadership mean to you? As a leader if there’s one piece of advice you would like to give to up-and-coming UXRs, what would it be?

Josh William: To me, Research leadership means balancing business and user needs while empowering teams to deliver the highest quality and impactful insights and strategy as possible. A leader can connect dots across teams, problem spaces, and insights to help optimize their team’s impact. I value balancing radical transparency with psychological safety, so researchers are confident to take risks on behalf of our users and the business.

Up-and-coming researchers should not be afraid to think outside the box. After acquiring a deep research methodology foundation, the next most important skill is influence. Influencing stakeholders can take so many forms that it’s important to adapt to your organization, product space, and ways of working. Don’t get bogged down by “what you are supposed to do”, but rather what’s best for your team (see answer of the next question).

UX360: Going into 2024, what are some of the key areas that every UX Researcher must focus on, that keep their research practice and mental health strong.

Josh William: Researchers should adopt a balanced approach tailored to their organization. Researchers are known for saying “it depends”, but it really does!  Strategic versus evaluative research, AI usage, and organizational structures – for example – vary based on organizational context and politics. There’s no one-size-fits-all in UXR. Instead of pursuing an “idealized” UXR model, prioritize delivering quality insights that propel your teams forward, aligning with the unique needs of your organization.

UX360: How does the future of UX Research look and what role will AI play in it?

Josh William: AI will play a pivotal role in enhancing UX Research by acting as a valuable research assistant. It serves to increase efficiency, productivity, and impact. Embracing AI enables researchers to automate tasks, receive writing and communication guidance, and enhance data analysis/synthesis, among other things. By relieving researchers of operational burdens, AI empowers us to focus intensely on leveraging our expertise to drive meaningful change where AI could never achieve such empathic and psychology-grounded insights. However, it is our duty to use AI intentionally, as it’s a tool, and not an actual sentient assistant.

UX360: What motivates you to join UX360 and what are your expectations? Do you have a message for our attendees?

Josh William: I am excited to hear from a wide range of people covering several topics – there’s something for everyone! I would encourage everyone to attend as many sessions as possible, even if you think you are pretty knowledgeable on a topic. I’m sure there will be some thought-provoking takes!

Explore the UX360 Virtual Summit vision for the future of UX/UI design! Discover the latest in technology and innovation with leaders from Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Facebook, LinkedIn, IBM, SAP, Indeed, U.S. Bank, Asana, Salesforce, Walmart, Airbnb and more. Don’t miss out – secure your spot now!UX Research and AI

Author

  • Elaine Tham

    Elaine Tham brings a decade of experience in the Event Management and Digital Marketing industry. Throughout her career, Elaine has held marketing roles in various sectors including Marketplace, FMCG and Services. Presently, Elaine serves as the Marketing Manager at Merlien Institute, overseeing all marketing activities and media partnerships.

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Elaine Tham

Elaine Tham brings a decade of experience in the Event Management and Digital Marketing industry. Throughout her career, Elaine has held marketing roles in various sectors including Marketplace, FMCG and Services. Presently, Elaine serves as the Marketing Manager at Merlien Institute, overseeing all marketing activities and media partnerships.

View all posts by Elaine Tham →

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