UX Research Director (Raleigh, NC)

| Raleigh-Durham, NC
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Location & Flexibility

Our Research Director will be an integral part of our team at WillowTree. To help retain our deep culture of collaboration both among ourselves and our clients, this role will maintain an in-office presence in a hybrid (Work From Near) capacity in association with our Columbus, OH, Durham, NC, or Charlottesville, VA office.

Learn more about Work From Near.

Who We Are

WillowTree is an award-winning digital product agency driven by innovation and grounded in strategy and user-centered design. We build long-term partnerships with the world’s leading brands to craft and build digital flagship products crucial to their core business. WillowTree is continuing to grow and thrive as the largest independent agency in the US. Some of our clients include HBO, National Geographic, Anheuser-Busch, and PepsiCo.

The Opportunity

Join a collaborative product research team with ample opportunities to craft digital products across a variety of industries. As a Research Director, reporting to the Head of Research, you’ll make a direct impact on the success of our teams, clients, and company through your research, mentorship, and leadership. You’ll design and lead research spanning every step of the product life cycle, from kick-off and understanding business and consumer needs before we build products, to assuring the products we build provide a useful and seamless experience, to measuring the impact of our products once shipped. This is a unique opportunity to lead and directly influence our research practice and product direction without becoming too far removed from the work itself.

After a year in this role, you will have made a significant impact on our research practice. You will have managed and mentored both junior and senior researchers as they learn new skills and deepen their consultative abilities. You will have contributed to and led between 3 to 5 digital product research initiatives for some of the worlds’ most recognized brands. You will have worked closely with the Director of Research and Senior Product Researchers to shape your team’s standards, processes, and culture.

We understand our responsibility to build a diverse, equitable, and inclusive place within the tech industry, while pushing to make our industry more representative. Because of this responsibility, we need candidates who value diversity and inclusion through their work, team collaboration, or mentorship. So in your cover letter, we encourage you to reflect on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

  • Provide meaningful team leadership and strategic project guidance across 1 or 2 client projects.
  • Lead, delegate, and provide oversight for a cross-functional team of multidisciplinary practitioners
  • Design and implement end-to-end mixed methods research using a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods including interviews, contextual inquiry, surveys, participatory design, statistical analysis, experimental studies, and synthesis of secondary research.
  • Design and implement research that spans the product lifecycle, including usability testing, A/B testing, benchmarking, feature prioritization, concept evaluation and refinement, and discovery.
  • Build trust and credibility with clients through empathy and open communication
  • Partner with clients to set research and business goals and resolve issues to ensure the users’ best interest
  • Advocate for research standards with our clients and across the company
  • Provide mentorship and management to 2-5 researchers (including conducting weekly meetings, providing coaching, writing performance reviews).
  • Report to the Director of Product Research, advising on staffing decisions, team development, and project needs.
  • Collaborate with other research leaders to influence WillowTree’s service offering, research practices and process, and deliverables.
  • Provide internal and external thought leadership that promotes the research practice and WillowTree
  • Develop and communicate strategic recommendations based on user research and product development best practices.
  • 10+ years of professional experience in either a research or digital product setting.
  • Advanced degree (preferred) in human factors, human-computer interaction, or social sciences (such as communication studies, psychology, anthropology, or sociology)
  • A minimum of 5 years experience conducting research in support of digital product development or product innovation
  • A minimum of 2 years of experience managing team members
  • Demonstrated experience working with VIP clients or stakeholders
  • Experience leading and designing mixed method research projects from inception to completion
  • Strong background in qualitative research including moderating skills, questionnaire design, discourse analysis, contextual inquiry, and interpretive coding and analysis.
  • Ability to apply basic statistical concepts and tests (t-tests, ANOVA, confidence intervals, sampling, generalizability, etc) to analysis
  • Ability and desire to mentor, coach, and train team members
  • Experience collaborating with cross-functional teams
  • World class communication and presentation skills proven through experience with conference-level presentations
  • Ability to work collaboratively with teammates with various levels of experience and diverse areas of expertise
Bonus Points
  • Sophisticated statistical and modeling skills such as cluster analysis, regression, maxdiff, and conjoint analysis
  • Consulting or client experience 

Why WillowTree?

We offer a place to be yourself.


Our differences, both visible and invisible, benefit our teams, our communities, and the products we craft. That’s why WillowTree strives to build a team with diverse backgrounds, skills, and perspectives. You’ll work hard here; however, we’ll balance that with a culture that supports your growth and cares about your well-being. We’re committed to creating an environment of inclusion — a place where every Tree can thrive.


We want you to reach your fullest potential and part of your professional development at WillowTree will include dedicated time to innovate on passion projects and an annual stipend to fund your professional pursuits.


WillowTree celebrates our differences and provides equal employment opportunities to all team members and applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws. Diverse teams build better products. We acknowledge that the tech industry especially lacks opportunity for those who are of non-traditional backgrounds and in underrepresented groups. In order to create the best products for everyone, we know that it’s important for our team to reflect the diversity of our users, and we are committed to being the change we want to see.  


More Information on WillowTree
WillowTree operates in the Software industry. The company is located in Brooklyn, NY, Durham, NC, Columbus, OH and Charlottesville, VA. WillowTree was founded in 2007. It has 617 total employees. It offers perks and benefits such as Disability Insurance, Dental Benefits, Vision Benefits, Health Insurance Benefits, Life Insurance and Mental Health Benefits. To see all 55 open jobs at WillowTree, click here.
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