June is often a busy time at People for Research, not just because of the usual user recruitment challenges we manage on a daily basis, but also because it’s time for our highlight of the event season: User Research London 2019. As sponsors, we enjoy getting involved and blogging about the event, and this year is no different – keep reading to find out about the main lessons we learned last week.

Tomer Sharon, Head of User Research & Metrics at Goldman Sachs

Talk: Key experience indicators for product management

“Change people’s minds from launching products to landing products. Launching something is not the end, it’s only the beginning. Launching is a great event, but there a lot you can learn after launching.”

How can you do this?

+ Measure specific things rather than overall metrics for the entire product.

+ Measure in context instead of out of context.

+ If you are just starting to measure, measure only small things, measure the core.

+ Don’t focus only on the “traditional” metrics (like daily active users to monthly active users ratio. It’s not that they are not good, but they are not everything. Focus on the indicators of the experience, not just the numbers.

+ Use the HEART  framework ( happiness, engagement, adoption, retention and task success).

Emily Chu (Spotify) and Daphne Stylianou (STBY)

Talk: Collaboration between in-house and agency

The most important piece of advice shared by Emily and Daphne was the acronym A.B.A. – meaning “always be aligned”. Having partnered together in multiple projects, they showed how agile collaboration and a design research approach can translate into a successful partnership.

This really resonated with the People for Research team, as we strive to be more than simply a supplier when working with our clients.

Here are the key takeaways  from Emily and Daphne’s talk, besides remaining aligned:

+ Rely on existing knowledge.

+ Actively contribute, run analysis workshops and do proper handovers.

+ Let the research live on (STBY, for example, have a repository of knowledge).

Monica Todd, Director of Customer Research at Financial Times

Talk: The path to customer centricity

Monica shared tree things that helped the Financial Times go from numbers and stats to a customer-centric organisation:

+ Create one team with an untarnished customer voice (including proper personas, customer feedback themes, and more).

+ Embed the customer’s perspective through the entire product process by adopting a lean approach and asking these three questions: What’s the customer need and why is it important? How do we solve it for the customers? What do they think and how can it be better?

+ Inspire the rest of the business by sharing your customers’ needs (especially relevant if working at a big company).

Emma Boulton, Strategic Design Research

Talk: What is Research Ops

Emma’s whole talk was a learning moment for the audience, as not everyone is familiar with the concept of operationalising research. The ResearchOps community was formed back in 2018, with the goal to validate and shape a new way of practicing user research.


During her talk, Emma listed the eight pillars of user research: environment, scope, recruitment and admin, data and knowledge management, people, organisational content, governance, and tools and infrastructure. The session was a great reminder of how much goes into planning and designing research, and it was particularly refreshing for the PFR team to see a recognised member of the UX community mentioning user recruitment as one of the pillars that supports the whole structure.

If you would like to find out more about ResearchOps, here are a couple of useful links: ResearchOps Community and ResearchOpsToolbox.

Nabeeha Ahmed, Head of User Research at MOJ

Talk: The selfish giant

Nabeeha brought the power of storytelling to User Research London: she shared a real story about being surprised by changes in her “own backyard” and the following journey, which led her to question the role of the user researcher.

“As the drive for reform and digital transformation continues, the user researcher’s role inevitably must change. Collaboration is key, but norms must be reset, buffers initiated and demarcations made clear.

According to Nabeeha, it’s important to know and show the craft: as user researchers, our responsibility is to know what we’re doing, and how we can work according to principles and boundaries. Good user research requires skills, knowledge and experience. Also, keep in mind that “weak research is worse than no research,” as poorly planed research risks becoming unethical.

Dave Hora, Researcher at N26

Talk: Considering research – function and impact

In his talk, Dave highlighted these three steps in the research process: ask meaningful questions; plan how to find the answers and adapt the plan to the real world; finally, review, list actionable results and ensure follow-through.

He also shared some tips with the researchers in the room:

+ Be clear about what you’re really trying to do, and how your work will push that forward.

+ Understand the experience, and understand your team’s incentives. Ask and answer meaningful and timely questions.

+ Load your team’s mind with useful and provocative evidences/models/stories of experience that will drive action.

It was a privilege to attend User Research London 2019 and get to sponsor the event once again. We can’t wait for next year: join us at the event on 26th June 2020.



Maria Santos, Head of Marketing and Data Protection

If you would like to find out more about our in-house participant recruitment service for user testing or market research get in touch on 0117 921 0008 or

At People for Research, we recruit participants for UX and usability testing and market research. We work with award winning UX agencies across the UK and partner up with a number of end clients who are leading the way with in-house user experience and insight.