The global skills and competency framework for the digital world

User research URCH

Identifying users' behaviours, needs and motivations using observational research methods.

Guidance notes

This skill is inclusive of a full range of user tasks not just digital tasks. The skill can be applied in various contexts — such as — but not limited to customer experience, products, services, applications, devices, learning experience and employee experience.

User research has a different set of responsibilities to academic research or user requirements elicitation. User research incorporates significant involvement of users to generate deep understanding and uncover new opportunities for systems, products, services or devices. 

Activities may include — but are not limited to: 

  • using ethnography, observation techniques, task analysis, and other methodologies that incorporate both the social and technological context
  • quantifying different user populations and their needs
  • identifying target users and segments in order to maximise the chances of design success for systems, products, services, or devices
  • including a range of users in research activities to capture the diversity of users'  behaviours, needs and motivations.


Defined at these levels: 3 4 5 6

User research: Levels 1-2

This skill is not typically observed or practiced at these levels of responsibility and accountability.

User research: Level 3

Applies standard methods to support user research initiatives.

Engages effectively with users and customer representatives to generate high-quality research.

Documents and shares the outcomes of user research.

User research: Level 4

Conducts generative research for the development of systems, products, services or devices.

Plans own user research activities. Facilitates input from users and stakeholders.

Collects and analyses user research data. Supports synthesis of research and the creation of insights, reports and presentations.

Contributes to the selection of the user research approaches for projects and initiatives. Supports the adoption of agreed approaches.

User research: Level 5

Plans and drives user research activities providing expert advice and guidance to support the adoption of agreed approaches.

Determines the approaches to be used for including users in generative research.

Leads the collection and analysis of user research data. Synthesises research, develops insights and presents conclusions to inform decision-making and drive actions.

Contributes to the development of organisational methods and standards for user research.

User research: Level 6

Champions user-centred design and secures organisational commitment to the significant involvement of users in research.

Develops organisational policies, standards, and guidelines for user research.

Develops or sources organisational resources and capabilities to facilitate the adoption and exploitation of user research.

Collaborates with internal and external partners to facilitate effective user research.

User research: Level 7

This skill is not typically observed or practiced at this level of responsibility and accountability.