I was a UX Research Assistant from March 2019 – July 2019 as part of the Core UX team in Corporate Engineering. I started out in Research Strategy, a UX research horizontal, and then transitioned to working with People Operations for my last two months.
This page briefly describes the work I did as a UX RA; because my research was on other Google employees, I can only provide limited details on my work.
Impactful Moments: Inclusion at Google
The biggest project I worked on was a study that explored Google employees’ journeys at the company and how they navigated their careers. When analyzing the data, we looked at each participant’s account through a lens of inclusion: how did employees fight feelings of impostor syndrome or exclusion? How did a feeling of inclusion and community relate to success in the workplace?
At a glance:
1 Lead Researcher and 2 Research Assistants (including me)
20 Participants, sampled globally
- Pre-work forms and 1:1 interviews where participants identify chapters and characters in their careers
- List of 3 pieces of advice for future employees
The probes of this study led to rich qualitative data that we analyzed in several different ways. As part of my analysis for this study, I
- identified a “Google career cycle”
- applied “explore vs. exploit” themes to employees’ behavior
- identified the general categories of employees’ day-to-day work. I further explored how each category had unique vulnerabilities that led to feelings of imposter syndrome and exclusion.
Because we were part of a horizontal team, many of the analyses were tailored to the specific research and product areas we reported our findings to. In addition to finding general patterns in employees’ behaviors, we focused our analyses on finding implicit themes that related day-to-day behaviors to inclusion in the workplace.
After we had completed the main report for Impactful Moments, we brought our insights to an annual hackathon within Corporate Engineering. Because our research highlighted the importance of finding communities, networks, and mentors within the company, we joined forces with business analysts and UX designers in the Hackathon to build Community Finder: an app for new employees that helped them find communities and groups within Google, based on their interests, locations, and job roles. Community Finder went on to win the Social Good award in the hackathon!
Chrome OS Collaboration
During my time at Google, designers on the ChromeOS team reached out to us for research insight to inform their next generation of products. They were specifically interested in incorporating wellbeing into future versions of ChromeOS, and it was an interesting challenge to think of how physical and mental wellbeing could be built into an operating system.
At a glance
Knowledge audit: For this collaboration, I first curated the ideas, inputs, and discussions the designers and engineers had during our meetings with them. I categorized these notes into distinct themes.
Literature review: I then conducted a literature review, looking at current work being done in wellbeing within Google, at other companies and research firms, and in academia. Wellbeing is a growing area of interest, with interventions and solutions cropping up across the tech industry.
With my manager, I then presented the results of the literature review back to the Chrome OS team. For each major theme I had distilled from their conversations, I presented key findings and considerations from the literature review.
Ideation Session: Based off of the presentation, we participated in an ideation session where the researchers (us), designers, and engineers all generated possible ideas that could be implemented at the operating system level. We did this for each theme from the research, and in the end, we generated about 80 ideas and five opportunity spaces. Of the 5, the ChromeOS team selected four to pursue further.
Storyboards and Beyond: For the four opportunity spaces, we designed storyboards that showed how an OS-based feature could improve users’ wellbeing. We presented these and the research findings to upper management as they set the objectives for future ChromeOS work.
Performance Evaluation Pilot
My final project at Google was a study to test a new tool for performance evaluation. I was involved in the planning and execution parts of the study, but left the company before the study was complete. The study was a large scale project that involved several stakeholders across the company and had multiple phases.
For this project, I worked with other UX researchers, designers, writers, PMs, and members of the legal team to design and carry out an 11-week study.
At a glance
6 UX researchers + a design team + content strategists + PMs
96 participants across the United States
Research activities and tools:
- 2 month diary study
- Prototype tool
Participant onboarding: my main responsibility in this project was to onboard participants, and introduce them to the general study timeline, objectives, and the prototype they would be using. Because this was the one chance we had to address our entire participant pool, preparing the onboarding led us to clearly define the whole study schedule, protocol, and logistics. This process gave me a chance to get into the nitty-gritty details of conducting large-scale research projects.
Study website: because this study had so many moving parts, I decided to make a website for our participants. The website enumerated the study overview, research objectives, tutorials on how to use the prototype tool, study deadlines, FAQs, and details on data privacy. This website was the single resource where participants could find all the information they needed to participate in the website.