Now available: Design for Impact by Erin Weigel

Advancing Research 2021

March 10-March 12, 2021 | Virtual

A new conference for people who do research

View Program

About #AR2021

Are you frustrated with the state of UX research? Does it feel like things have stagnated? We have good news and bad news — and they’re the same news: you’re not alone. Many of the research leaders and senior practitioners we speak with are feeling the same way.

Advancing Research 2021 was the second iteration of a conference dedicated to how we can collaboratively re-assess the state of the practice, consider the increasingly complex demands being placed upon research teams and leaders, and work together to define clear roles, set goals, and establish scalable solutions for achieving them.

Program Themes

Theme 1: Researchers Thriving In The Organization

The researcher holds a singular position at any organization: they straddle the scientific and humanistic spheres of a company. They’re both the conscience and the auditor, connecting the worlds of academia and commerce. It’s this duality of purpose—both analytical and empathetic—that draws researchers to the field and allows them to effectively locate the right data, understand the stories behind them, and interpret meaning. But it can also make for a precarious existence. To thrive in the modern organization, the researcher needs to develop specific skills to help leverage their unique position as assets and become true leaders of the organization.

Theme 2: Research as Applied and Evolving Practice

Research is now omnipresent. Every modern organization has a research practice, and with increased democratization of research comes a huge level of responsibility. That means we need to evolve to include new practices, while sticking to the core pillars that define good research. But, which practices are sacred and which need to be changed? How do we stay innovation-driven, yet focused on socially-relevant experiences? And how do we ensure the kinds of insights we’re generating are at once inclusive and representative? The solution is right in front of us: by celebrating the rigorous, human-centered focus that informs research practice, we can ensure responsible research and tell a more holistic story.

Theme 3: Research Impacts the Organization

What does truly impactful research look like? Who does it touch, and how can we assess its effect? Put simply, the goal is nothing short of organizational and social transformation. That often translates to profits, but growth needs to be a result and not the sole rationale. Research cannot progress without shining a harsh light on every inequity in our process and acting upon them. And change needs to be implemented with an interdisciplinary approach to transform the organization. It’s only when everyone has equal footing in the process that we can be human-centered and focused on usability, while remaining inclusive and anti-racist and make large-scale and impactful change.

View full program »