Lead Design Researcher


We are looking for a talented Lead Design Researcher to join our studio in Philadelphia. 

At Idean, we believe and know that great design is founded in strong user insights. By taking a human-centered approach, we uncover people’s needs, motivations, and behaviors to define key opportunities to improve our clients’ processes, services, or products.  

As a Lead Design Researcher, you have experience leading all research aspects of an engagement, from managing recruitment and gathering user requirements and needs, to analyzing and synthesizing research data, communicating findings to clients, and translating research into tactical and strategic design output. 

In addition to applying your design research skills to new types of user experience challenges, you will also provide oversight and leadership to the broader team, with managerial responsibilities for 2junior design researchers. 

You have a substantial track record of applying design research methods, from usability testing to survey design to diary studies, to complex problems using human centered design practices. Not only do you understand the importance of user experience, but you also know how to build that strategically and communicate it to our clients and design teams. 

You are passionate about solving design challenges together on a team of other researchersdesigners, developers, and producers. You strive to tell compelling, insight-driven user stories that propel decision-making and strategy.  

You can 

  • Plan and facilitate all field research tasks without oversight, including usability testing, ethnography, contextual inquiries, surveys, workshops, concept testing, and competitive assessments 
  • Lead analysis across quantitative and qualitative methods and communicate results as meaningful insights that inform actionable design ideas and business strategies 
  • Lead multi-disciplinary project teams, providing oversight to junior researchers through meaningful feedback that encourages growth 
  • Scope research engagements, with a strong understanding of how to put together an approach that matches the client’s needs (e.g., which methods, number and type of participants, etc.) and the levers to pull to accommodate known constraints 
  • Build long lasting relationships with our clients and spot future opportunities 
  • Craft deliverables like Insights and Recommendations presentations, service blueprints, process maps, and diagrams, with an emphasis on compelling story-telling and visuals that communicate your ideas simply and clearly 
  • Use Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe Creative Cloud, and collaborative tools like Miro and Figma, but, more importantly, can learn new tools and gain mastery quickly 

You have 

  • Advanced degree (or equivalent experience) in design, human computer interaction, cognitive psychology, anthropology, design strategy, business, or a related field. [Note: We’re open to meeting candidates who have experience outside of these areas if you can explain how it applies to this role.] 
  • 6+ years of relevant experienceincluding formal training and internshipspreferably in design research, UX design, business design, or a related field, and a portfolio of your recent work  
  • A firm grasp on user experience principles and methods, accessibilityand design thinking 
  • A strong understanding of the strengths and shortcomings of different research methods, including when and how to apply them to achieve various research goals 
  • Experience in leading and mentoring creative teams, with an active role in recruiting and training (for this role, you would have 2  4 direct reports) 
  • A growth mindset and a passion for learning new research methods 
  • Strong attention to detail and time management 
  • Willingness to travel for up to 50% of time (although, right now we all work from home) 

We offer 

  • Vibrant studio located in the Curtis Center 
  • A friendly team that strives to grow and help you to stay up to date on emerging technologies, trends, and tools 
  • Trust and independence 
  • Ability to work remotely 
  • Competitive salary and Paid Time Off (PTO) policies 

Application process 

Step 1: Send your application with your resume and a link to your portfolio. If you have a cover letter, feel free to add it too, but that is not required. Please note that in our application form, there are also two questions we would like you to answer (please try to keep each answer under 150 words): 


  • What company clearly needs help improving their product, service, website, or app? What are they doing wrong and how would you help? 

Choose one: 

  • Which bullet point on your résumé are you most proud of? Why? 
  • Explain how a past position (job or internship), which on paper may not seem related to design research, has prepared you for this work. 
  • What skill or area of user research is your superpower? What skill or area are you looking to grow in? 
  • How/When did you first learn about user experience as a field? What about it attracted you? 

Step 2: We read through your application and if we like what we see, we'll set up a 30-minute screener video call with you. 

Step 3: If both we and you are still excited, we’ll set you up to meet with one of our Design Research Leads on a 30-minute call. 

Step 4: After talking with our Design Research Lead, you will have a chance to meet with some of our Philadelphia team to present your work and have a series of interviews with various team members. This will be remote. 

Step 5: If we think you're a good fit, we'll set up one more 30-minute video call for you to speak with our recruiter about hiring and offer logistics. 

Step 6: We'll send you an offer we hope you accept. 

Additional information 

Please do not apply for more than one job or location. Should Idean decide to proceed with your application all applicants are happily considered for other locations. Applying to multiple positions and/or locations can result in a delayed interview process. All of the Idean recruiting team that review applications are able to see the process through for all locations and jobs. 

Idean does not accept agency resumes. Please do not forward resumes to our jobs alias, Idean employees or any other company location. Idean is not responsible for any fees related to unsolicited resumes. 

Idean provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, Idean complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training. 

Idean expressly prohibits any form of workplace harassment based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, genetic information, disability, or veteran status. Improper interference with the ability of Idean’s employees to perform their job duties may result in discipline up to and including discharge.