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Lead Design (User) Researcher


Sep 30, 2021

Richmond, VA


Agent: Mark G.

Job #: 173079

Salary: Competitive

Job Description

Lead Design (User) Researcher

Pay: ($100 / hourly paid as W2)

**Also for any candidates placed with our Client, we are offering a $3k referral bonus**

Duration: Initially 4-5+ months, possible extension 

*Ideally this person will work part of the week on site in Richmond, or McLean once the Client returns to the office, work will be fully remote for now*


Job Description: Lead Design (User) Researcher

We are currently seeking Lead Design (User) Researchers to join our team to focus on strategic level research. Because we are a human centered organization obsessed with delivering products and services based on customer research and feedback, design research is at the heart of our work. We believe using empathy, curiosity and asking questions to understand our customers is core to delivering best in class products and services. We represent the voice of our customers and focus on delivering customer insights.

The Design team is at the forefront of enriching our customers’ digital and physical experiences. We champion a thriving environment of collaboration, authenticity and healthy critique, in which we honor diversity of thought, create a culture of belonging, and elevate one another. If you’re an innovator and storyteller who embraces an environment where you can experiment, learn, and change banking for good, we would love to hear from you.

What You’ll Do:

As a leader and maker, you’ll be asked to handle responsibilities, including:

Strategy & Planning

  • Collaborating with design, technology, product, and business teams to create intuitive and engaging customer experiences across multiple projects simultaneously, start to finish
  • Translating findings into insights that guide the experience and product decisions
  • Leading and shaping early product definitions with formative and foundational research.
  • Engage in portfolio prioritization to help set the research strategy and road map for the team
  • Manage through open ended problems and support early product definition
  • Advocate for the customer through human-centered research methods
  • Defining standards and best practices for how research is done
  • Champion the prioritization of research & analysis as a basis for making design centered product enhancements
  • Working with partners and teams across various geographies
  • Embracing and advocating for an experience mindset - this is as important to the work as the results

Lead & Develop Teams

  • Building and leading successful teams through career development by mentoring, coaching, and elevating others
  • Guide team members in research planning, alignment, execution, analysis, and follow-up
  • Navigating conflict resolution within your team as well as within projects, teams and partner relationships

Execution & Delivery

  • Demonstrate fluency of research tools and techniques to measure success, present opportunities, and support decision-making and prioritization utilizing qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • Practice and help evolve the team’s research techniques and toolset to work effectively in cross-team collaboration
  • Participate in end-to-end product research by:
  • Conducting research studies at all stages from discovery to validation, using a variety of methods to understand customer needs and define opportunities which can include in depth/empathy interviews, field studies, prototype testing & usability benchmarking, contextual inquiry, surveys, card sorts, heuristic review and participatory design
  • Leading designers and non-designers on project teams to understand and apply research findings by framing problems, defining insights, and designing new methodologies/practices to serve research needs
  • Facilitate synthesis and knowledge mapping sessions, teaching research methodologies
  • Distilling findings into clearly articulated and actionable insights for stakeholders by clearly articulating strategies
  • Knowledge management and decimation of insights, and creating standards for how research is done, shared, templatized and managed
  • Planning and facilitating workshops with internal and external stakeholders to align with business needs
  • Present and communicate research and analysis clearly and effectively across various organizations in any format required. Must be able to sell, support, explain, and simply present usability approach and research to various audience types

Basic Qualifications

  • Master’s Degree in social sciences, human factor, cognitive science, human computer interaction or behavioral economics
  • At least 7 years of experience with user, product, or market research

Preferred Qualifications

  • Ph.D., or certifications in a design or research related field
  • Experience leading large bodies of work, research strategy and teams
  • Comfortable working with agile and legal teams
  • Familiarity with conducting and analyzing research for cross channel experiences
  • Comfortable working with a variety of business partners and delivering outcomes
  • Experience managing a cross-functional team


  • Areas of Expertise Human Factors No 6 + Years
  • Technical Skills Quantitative analysis Yes 6 + Years
  • Qualitative Research Yes 6 + Years
  • design research No 6 + Years
  • Human Computer Interaction No 6 + Years
  • User experience research No 6 + Years
  • UX research No 6 + Years

Client Description:

This client puts its money where its mouth is. As a leading financial services and tech company, they’re constantly pushing the envelope to adapt and stay ahead of trends - whether it’s trends in financial products or in the way they treat their customers. Our client sets the bar in customer experience.

Our Talent are working with “best-in-class” global marketing teams on omni-channel campaigns, leveraging innovative technologies to drive customer engagement. AQUENT Talent work alongside full-time employees presenting ideas to stakeholders and influencing business decisions every day.

Working here:

  • You’ll be pushed to bring thoughtful creative and marketing ideas to the table

  • You’ll be collaborating in an Agile environment to deliver purposeful projects

  • You’ll be working with a global brand - meeting customers where they live by leveraging AI, ML and VR


Freelancing long-term with Aquent gets you access to some pretty cool things:
- You're paid weekly
- Subsidized health and dental benefits after your first four weeks of work (averaging at least 20 hrs/wk)
- Paid Sick Leave for all US and Canada talent
- Access to Fidelity 401(k) with company match
- Access to FSA Program (pre-tax payment toward bus or train passes, etc.)
- Direct deposit for your paycheck
- Access to our Talent Rewards Program (we reward for referrals!)
- Access to free online courses via Aquent's Gymnasium, to help you develop your skills:
- Aquent support: your Aquent Agent checks in with you during the course of your contract to make sure you're happy and progressing according to your expectations (we're also there to be looking for new opportunities for you when you're close to wrapping up)Not the job for you? Tell your friends and reap the Rewards

Want more details about this and other opportunities?
Meet Mark Gatza!