For the past few years, scaling user research through democratisation has been the rave in the product development and design world – but we might have gone too far. While it is important to do lots of user research and base most of our product decisions on a deep understanding of our customers, it is also time to recognise that user research is a highly specialised skill that only professional user researchers truly master
Head of Design, User Research, Zalando SE
Rob has been a UX leader for 16 years. After his early beginnings in linguistics and communication (as co-founder of music-centric PR company basicpeople), he joined Nokia in 2005, where he learned everything about usability and customer-centricity from the ground up and helped establish a solid user research practice. In 2014 he moved on to SoundCloud, building the user research capability basically from scratch, and making an entire company more user-centric by leveraging everyone’s inner user researcher and establishing strong user models. In 2017, Rob joined Zalando, where over the last 3 years he has transformed a small research team of 4 into a research and customer knowledge organisation counting 30 professionals (user researchers, data analysts, business developers and engineers), combining traditional user research with analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence approaches, helping create truly individual and personalised customer experiences.
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