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Why UX Maturity and Culture Matter to Your UXR Career

Your country and your company both shape the growth of your career in UX research.

Heena Khatri
April 2024

Hello there! We’re two UX researchers based in Australia and Japan working at Indeed, a global company headquartered in the United States. This environment gives us a special peek into international UXR careers and the difference between Indeed’s UX research practices in the US and the approaches of organizations where we live.

Aside from Indeed, we’ve each worked at companies of various sizes and sectors, observing how different teams approach their research. From these experiences, we want to share the impact of company and country culture on UX maturity and why understanding an organization’s UX maturity is important when mapping out your career in UX research.

We’re not offering career advice. But we hope that our perspectives can be helpful along the way to finding a role where you can flourish.

Culture impacts UX maturity

According to Nielsen Norman group, “UX maturity measures an organization’s desire and ability to successfully deliver user-centered design,” and one of the factors that improves UX maturity is culture.

We talked with six UX researchers at Indeed who’ve worked in different countries and firms. It’s clear that UX maturity is an important factor to consider when you’re choosing a UX role.

From our discussions, we learned it’s helpful to examine the influence of culture on UX maturity through two distinct lenses: the country and the organization.

Country culture

At the country level, UX maturity can be influenced by factors like technology history, regulations, policies, and language.

Take Japan, for instance. Its long history of hardware product development and labor regulations to protect employees have led many large corporations to outsource work and apply the waterfall methodology to product development. As a result, many companies find it difficult to change their existing process, bring software product development in-house, and apply the agile methodology.

On the other hand, India’s recent technology boom has accelerated its UX maturity, focusing firmly on digital products. Singapore, renowned for attracting global tech companies to establish their Asia headquarters, has witnessed rapid UX growth due to this influx.

Countries where English is a primary language often adapt to new UX practices faster, with easy access to information from outside countries. We interviewed UX researchers who have worked in Japan and France — where English isn’t the native language — and noticed that the UX maturity seems to be lower than in English-speaking countries. Estimates suggest that over half of all web content is in English and information in other languages may be limited.

Organizational culture

Within the organization, UX maturity reflects how well UX practices are integrated into the product development process. Organizations that mainly try to match their competitors are often busy with replicating features.

But organizations that focus on user problems and challenges are more receptive to user feedback. In addition, the company’s leadership and employee mindset contribute to its culture and significantly influence UX maturity. If a business-driven mentality dominates, an overemphasis on measurable results and chasing quarterly milestones can undercut user experience quality.

Of course, there are organizations with high UX maturity in countries with lower overall UX maturity, and vice versa. However, in countries with lower UX maturity, job options may be limited. For those seeking high UX maturity in this environment, international companies with UX teams across the globe or design consultancy agencies may be a good place to start your job search.

UX maturity shapes your UXR career

Understanding an organization’s UX maturity is a vital consideration when charting your career trajectory. Working in organizations with varying degrees of UX maturity presents unique benefits and challenges for UX researchers.

Low UX maturity can mean more opportunity — but fewer resources

At organizations with lower UX maturity, researchers often have opportunities to conduct both quantitative and qualitative research, enriching their skills. This circumstance arises from the blurred distinction between these research types within organizations.

However, learning opportunities from seasoned researchers who specialize in the field may be sparse in such environments, making it tough to find mentors within the organization.

Further, limited budgets might require creative solutions for research recruitment, such as leveraging internal and snowball recruitment methods. In this case, a key responsibility for UX researchers is championing UX, which encompasses advocating the value of UX research and securing research funding.

High UX maturity might come with deeper knowledge and structure

Organizations with high UX maturity usually foster more specialized roles, allowing researchers to focus on either qualitative or quantitative research and thus deepen their knowledge in their chosen field. Since these companies tend to have more team members, researchers have the chance to learn from other skilled researchers.

With budgets allocated for research and access to a broader range of UX tools, researchers may also be able to select from a wider range of methodologies. Moreover, these firms often have dedicated members to handle research operations, allowing researchers more time to focus on designing and conducting studies while the operation team handles logistics, participant recruitment, and processes.

While more human resources are good, researchers interested in quantitative data analysis and qualitative research may have fewer opportunities to do it all. And if work gets siloed, it can be difficult for researchers to keep track of what others have done in the past to get the big picture.

Ask lots of questions about a potential new role

When considering a UXR career transition, it’s crucial to make informed decisions. Identify your professional objectives and assess whether the organization is equipped to foster an environment for achieving those goals.

It’s important to closely monitor the organization’s public statements, social media statements, and local design events to determine how much it’s committed to UX.

Furthermore, consider posing these thoughtful questions to yourself and to interviewers during your interviews:

  • Could you describe the potential growth paths and opportunities here?
  • What kind of learning and development opportunities does the organization offer for researchers?
  • How does the organization leverage research insights to guide design and product decisions?
  • What would be the process of identifying and prioritizing product issues?
  • To what extent are the company’s executives engaged with, and knowledgeable about, UX practices?
  • Which teams does the UX team frequently collaborate with?
  • Besides research, what are some additional responsibilities attached to a research role?

Country and organizational culture greatly influence how we approach UX research. By grasping UX maturity in different settings, we can make better career choices and obtain the skills we want to pursue.

We’ve got more helpful information on the way, too! Keep an eye out for our next article, where we’ll further discuss tips for conducting research across cultural landscapes.

Heena Khatri headshot
Heena KhatriSr. UX Researcher at Indeed
Yumi Koyama headshot
Yumi KoyamaUX Researcher at Indeed
Headshot of Ingrid Elias
Ingrid EliasSr. UX Designer at Indeed

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