Why a Guild for UX Researchers?
Raymond Lee, FounderBy Raymond Lee, FounderNovember 11, 20214 Minutes

Why a Guild for UX Researchers?

Guild Origins, Purpose, and Demise

With origins stretching back 2,000 years before the birth of Christ, guilds are best known as medieval associations of craftsmen or merchants who came together for mutual benefit. Typically guild members all practiced the same craft and even lived on the same street in a given city. Important purposes of the guild included overseeing the practice of their craft and maintaining high-quality work, training apprentices, and regulating the flow of work to their self-employed members. Guilds also gave back by performing charitable work among their members, but also in the community at large (1). Beginning in the late 18th century, the power and popularity of Guilds began to fade as a result of industrialization and modernization and the rise of the corporation, which proved to be a more powerful means of organizing people to achieve desired ends.

People Want Freedom and Control

Why would this be a time for guilds to rise again? COVID has shown it is possible for people to work remotely and has given them a taste of the freedom it affords; people want control over their work and personal lives and most prefer working remotely; technological advancements have made it possible to work remotely; finally, many different types of knowledge workers can work relatively autonomously, using modern technology to collaborate.

The Great Resignation

Many people are rethinking their relationship with work, and are considering severing their connection to a single employer in favor of working independently, to preserve the freedom they have experienced in working remotely. Some who do this may seek a different “basis of attachment” (2) so that they are not completely on their own. The Guild is just such an organization, where experts in a specific field can join together, develop professionally, work together, train apprentices, and do good for society.

UXr Guild

The UX Researchers’ Guild mitigates the challenges and risks for researchers who choose to work independently. It is a means to join with other researchers, collaborate, learn, and not be isolated professionally. It is a means to market our cumulative expertise, each new member strengthening the whole, rather than weakening each other through inadvertent competition as sole practitioners. The guild, as a collection of many, allows for greater influence in promoting research standards, mentoring apprentices, and providing charitable aid.

A Guild for Researchers and Those Who Depend on Their Insights

While UXr Guild exists for the benefit of UX Researchers, it also provides benefits for clients who are looking for research expertise. With a stated purpose of maintaining high research standards, the most important standard the Guild maintains is the quality of its members. With rigorous standards for membership, clients can be assured that Guild researchers are excellent practitioners with current experience in a wide variety of industries. If clients can trust the high standards of the Guild, it is no longer necessary to search on their own for researchers and screen them one at a time. The Guild saves a tremendous amount of time and effort usually spent by clients and researchers finding each other, assessing expertise and fit, making contracts, negotiating rates, obtaining approvals, and so on.

Please join us in our mission to define and refine the modern guild, to benefit researchers, clients, and the most vulnerable among us.

Footnotes: 1: Wikipedia (Guild); 2: Adam Grant, “Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know (speech at the Upwork, Work Without Limits, Summit).” Photo credit: Nicholas Hoizey, Unsplash.

Raymond Lee, Founder