COURSE Overview

When it comes to the research battlefield, you think of yourself a gladiator. You're an accomplished interviewer. You can usability test anything. You can roll with open-ended interviews, and take away insights from unscripted chatter while waiting in line at a coffee shop. We know you're awesome, and it's our job to build on that. Welcome to our signature course for the advanced researcher, specially designed to build more depth and rigor into your research practice. 

In many organizations, customer research is plagued by complacent superficiality. Too often, research is reduced to a few satisfaction ratings and an occasional piece of confirmatory research. As a result, UX practitioners wind up putting lipstick on a pig, crafting beautiful, easy-to-use designs for features that don't matter to end users. 

This course is designed for researchers who dare to step into the unknown and see where it goes. Get ready to become an explorer. Come with an open mind to learn advanced techniques that build upon your existing interviewing, facilitating, and testing skillsets. Strategically encounter the customer where they are, and bring back shards of truth that can steer action in a direction that customers will follow. 

Objectives & Activities

This course is structured as a stroll through case studies that show how actual businesses work (and sometimes struggle) to understand their customers. We will focus on a handful of sophisticated real-world research techniques including laddering and image-based projective interviews that have proven effective to deeply understand customers and their contexts.

For each case study, we will walk through activities to learn advanced techniques, and discuss how we might incorporate this strategy into a more rigorous approach to research collection. Practice is very important in this course, and students are challenged to generate useful bits of research on any topic. Are you the person who is reading this and worrying that "more rigorous" might mean time-consuming? If so, I will happily tell you it does not. You can absolutely apply the techniques you will learn here into iterative, lean rounds of research. Warning: you may never look at a research plan the same way again.

Practice is very important in this course, and students are challenged to generate actionable pieces of research on any topic of their choosing. Come to class prepared with the case studies read, and with a 1-minute "pitch" of a project or topic you might want to collect research on. You will receive more details by email prior to the course. 


This course is one of six courses required for the UXMA Researcher Certification. This certification also includes mentor-coach hours and a performance assessment. 

More about the UXMA certification tracks
Schedule of upcoming courses
Certification details
Frequently asked questions