Understanding User Behaviour and Needs: Meet Our Senior User Researcher, ClareMitte News
Fascinated by Mitte’s human-centric approach to products, Clare moved from Dubai to Berlin to join our Product team in early 2020.
As the first and only User Researcher at Mitte, Clare has not only set up the entire user research framework from scratch but has incorporated user research as a core part of Mitte’s product strategy. Consumption and purchasing habits, as well as product value perception, are some of the key aspects of qualitative data she’s gathering that help foster Mitte’s user-centric approach to product development.
Find out more about Clare’s exciting role at Mitte, the most interesting piece of information she has gathered from her research and what she likes most about Mitte.
Tell us a bit more about yourself?
I’m from Ireland originally but have worked abroad for most of my career in places like Dubai, Canada and India. So of course I love travelling and exploring new places and cultures – which is one of the reasons I became a researcher! I’m also a book and history nerd, so without the travel opportunities at the moment I’m doing plenty of reading about other times, places and worlds, and listening to some great podcasts.
How did you discover Mitte and what made you want to join?
I was on the lookout for a company (probably a start-up) that had engaging, innovative products to conduct some fun user research around, and where research would also play a key role in development. Berlin seemed to be a hub for these! Then I was led to Mitte, with its people (and environmental)-centric approach to products, as well as company culture.
How would you describe your role in one sentence?
I’m a people researcher! I explore peoples’ routines, needs and attitudes in order to help the company build better products and services.
“Most people have an idea that mineral water is more ‘pure’ than other types of water, but aren’t sure of the benefits.”
Tell us about a day in the life of a Senior User Researcher at Mitte?
A typical day can vary depending on the stage of a project – whether I’m just setting up or if we are in the middle of testing or fieldwork. Usually however, there are meetings with various colleagues to align on project needs and to integrate research insights with other activities going on (product development, marketing, strategy).
My day also usually involves some form of data organization or analysis, mining for the useful insights that will help the rest of the team. Unfortunately, there’s no live face-to-face research with users at the moment, but we hope to get back to that soon!
Is there any project you like working on in particular?
My favourite projects are those where we can go really deep into users’ behaviour and needs – for example, exploring how, where and when they drink water at home through photos and videos, understand what they choose and why. Everybody is different, but uncovering the patterns and trends is very fun.
Which parts of your job do you find most challenging?
The main challenge for me is getting all the research stakeholders on the same page! This is a little harder at the moment since we have all shifted online, as visibility of user research is really important in order for it to have an impact. So right now we are implementing ways of sharing research processes and insights and making it as ‘democratic’ as possible.
What’s your biggest achievement at Mitte so far?
I would say my main achievement has been setting up a user research function at Mitte from scratch – there’s a certain amount of learning and adapting as I go along but I feel that now there’s a robust and useful process for incorporating user research into Mitte’s product development and strategy.
What do you appreciate most about the culture at Mitte?
I appreciate the openness of the culture at Mitte – being able to ask for help from anyone and being able to connect easily, even in the remote work setting. The working vibe is productive but relaxed, with trust in people’s abilities and responsibilities that I feel makes working by myself AND with others very smooth.
How did you evolve into a Senior User Research?
I became a Senior User Researcher after working for many years as a qualitative market researcher and loving being able to combine aspects of sociology, psychology and critical analysis in my work. This tied into my academic background in history as well as a few years as a high school teacher – another role where you definitely need to be able to read people and pinpoint their needs!
What’s the most surprising or interesting piece of information you’ve gathered from your user research?
One of my most interesting projects was a piece for Mitte’s mineralization concept. It was fascinating to explore what people know about different minerals, what they buy, the perceptions of mineral water and the role in health. For example, most people have an idea that mineral water is more ‘pure’ than other types of water, but aren’t sure of the benefits; so there’s an opportunity for us as a company to educate consumers on that.
What’s the one thing most people don’t know about you?
Most people don’t know that I’m a Latin dancer and used to travel and perform at festivals. Sadly not an option at the moment but I hope to polish off my sparkly shoes and get back to it soon!
What brought you to Berlin and what do you miss the most about your hometown Dublin (Ireland)?
The job brought me to Berlin! Also, I was eager to live in and explore a new city, especially one like Berlin where there’s wildly different things on offer. I’d been living in the Middle East for the last few years, so from there I do miss the sunshine, food and vibrant late night eating and entertainment culture.
Last but not least, If you could dream up any Mitte cartridge of your choice, what would it be?
Hmm, I’d probably want some kind of tea cartridge since I’m an addict – something combining the benefits of herbal teas with the flavour of a great black tea. Or hot chocolate…
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Is there anything more delicious than a drink of water when you’re parched? The water floods into your mouth, tickling your taste buds and moistening the back of your throat. The relief feels instantaneous; you can veritably feel the effects of hydration flood your body, any nagging traces of headaches dissipate, you feel lighter, focused,
Corona has been dictating our lives here in Berlin (and everywhere else) for quite some time now. Everyone probably remembers those first weeks and months of the pandemic and how it not only affected our personal lives, but also our workplaces. Fast forward to 2021. Times are still difficult, but there is a small light