Kelsey Thomson

Kelsey Thomson
  • Senior UX researcher at Bank of New Zealand
  • Wellington, New Zealand

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From theory to practice: what UX practitioners can learn from academic research

UX Research has grown organically with the rapidly expanding software industry. It has proven its worth in swiftly delivering insights that shape successful products and services, but what can we learn from our academic research roots? Practising UX in a commercial environment means that there often isn’t time to apply the same rigour as academic research. Concerns such as ensuring a large sample size or creating reproducible studies are often less important for business products due to fast delivery cycles and iterative approaches to design. However, there is still a lot of valuable knowledge to be gained from these research traditions that can enable us to make better product decisions. These academic practices can help us be more discerning in selecting methods, more rigorous in our analysis, and more selective with our experiments. This talk will be a curious gaze into the philosophical underpinnings of our research, and what we can learn from 100 years of academic research theory.


Kelsey is a Senior UX Researcher at BNZ, focused on improving the online business banking experience. A lifelong curious learner who loves diving into the messy places, she enjoys helping product teams make better decisions through understanding people. Kelsey also co-organises the UX Meetup in Wellington, a passion that stems from the love of building communities and connecting people.