Democratizing UX research: Hard-won lessons from Google, Stripe, and Thumbtack

September 2019


4 min read

Democratizing UX research: Hard-won lessons from Google, Stripe, and Thumbtack

Reduct.Video was thrilled to host our second Research, Camera, Action! focused on democratizing UX research. We were honored to offer a space where the research community could come together and discuss this controversial yet important topic. Research leaders from Stripe, Google, Thumbtack, and Curiosity Tank discussed:

  • Questions and anxieties that come up around research democratization

  • Myths and realities of research democratization
  • How democratizing research has grown research teams and impacted research partners

  • How workshops, coaching, and tools can provide training on user research

This Research, Camera, Action! was thoroughly interactive and featured a full evening of in-depth talks:

  • Paige Pritchard from Google shared her experiences and discussed with the audience how to facilitate work with non-research partners, while maintaining her position as the research domain expert. (You don’t need a rapid research team or research van to do it!)

  • Rawan Kaddoura, Jillian Wells, Megan Witmer, and Annie Steele from Stripe
    continued the conversation by debunking myths surrounding research democratization and shared how democratization was a key strategic lever to grow research.

    (A research playbook, strong research infrastructure, office hours, and research teaching opportunities are key.)

  • Jordan Berry and Chelsia Yu from Thumbtack relayed how Thumbtack has developed internal workshops and one-on-one coaching to train research partners embedded in different teams and the impact these initiatives have had.

    (The research team functions as “beaded curtain keepers” while training their dragons!)

  • Michele Ronsen of Ronsen Consulting led an interactive review of some in-development tools about the art and craft of user research to enable better conversations in research and beyond.

    (She used Reduct as a teaching tool to demonstrate herself conducting research interviews!)

To end our night, Reduct co-founder Prabhas Pokharel led the audience in a rapid synthesis of the night’s event! We shared out these results shortly after the event and have full summaries of each talk below. For access to our full recordings, message us at and stay tuned for our next event.

Research For All

By: Paige Pritchard , UX Researcher @ Google


Summary: As researchers we juggle the roles of expert and facilitator. We frequently have to lead the way in research strategy while supporting our teammates in their own research execution. This can result in conflict of ownership – when everyone is performing research, who owns it? In this talk I will share my experiences in facilitating work with non-UXR stakeholders while still maintaining the position of domain expert.

Debunking 5 myths about democratizing research

By: Rawan Kaddoura, Jillian Wells, Megan Witmer, and Annie Steele, Research @ Stripe


Summary: Empowering non-researchers to do their own research: wave of the future, or descent into madness? We clear up some commonly held myths about research democratization and discuss the realities and surprises of implementing this kind of program at scale.

How to train your dragon team (to do research)

By Jordan Berry and Chelsia Yu, Senior Experience Researcher and Product Designer @ Thumbtack


Summary: So your product team wants to talk to your customer. Awesome. But how do you help them see the difference between a conversation and a research interview? We’ll share how we structured our user research training program and what we learned in the process.

Ideas to Enable Better Conversations, Connections and Confidence

By: Michele Ronsen, Founder @ Ronsen Consulting


Summary: Design and user research can be mysterious, complex and intimidating – even to practitioners. It’s hard to learn the “art” of the practice, challenging to break into the field, and, curiously, few resources are organized with how most people think about the topic.

Please join us to preview products that aspire to close these gaps and discuss how they can be improved upon.

Take-away: an experiment in rapid synthesis

By: Prabhas Pokharel, Co-founder @ Reduct.Video


The video take-aways created by the audience are available here:

Summary: As researchers, we are always creating takeaways: insights and artifacts that synthesize huge volumes of information. In this interactive session, we will quickly synthesize the talks we just heard into short video takeaways. To go box not included.

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