Introducing the Product Design and UX Research team at Which?

Stephen McCarthy
Which? Product Delivery
3 min readJul 21, 2022


2 team members talking at a table. One has a phone in their hand. There are post-its on the wall behind them.

The design, UX and research practitioners that work across the digital products we create at Which? are well established and respected within the organisation. But we’ve recently gone through a bit of a transition within the team that I’d like to talk about, in the hope that it might help other organisations who are making a similar transition.

What has changed and why

Prior to me joining the organisation back in January 2022 the team was made up of UX designers, visual designers and UX researchers. Generally teams had an embedded UX designer and visual designer — with the UX researchers prioritising work across a number of teams. As we transitioned to a modern agile multidisciplinary squad model over the last few years, we decided to trial a move to more hybrid Product Designer roles. When I joined this trial was just starting and 3 people in my team had moved from UX and visual design roles to being the single product designer within a multidisciplinary squad.

The core aims in moving to the product designer model were to:

  • Minimise unnecessary hand-over within teams and enable simpler communication channels between squad practitioners
  • Open up the design process so the whole squad are more involved
  • Become leaner in our make-up and improve product/design/engineer ratios within teams to enable more efficient delivery cycles
  • Enable more opportunities for capability growth within the design and UX research community

What happened

The truth is our industry is riddled with interchangeable job titles that don’t mean much to many. But the skill sets (and indeed mindsets) of a UX designer and a visual designer can be very different. We wanted to make sure that our team members were willing and even excited to evolve their capabilities and move into this new role.

The people undertaking the trial very much embraced the extra responsibility. Generally designers like to learn and be challenged, and moving to a product design role brings different obstacles depending on your design/UX background.

We know that capability growth is key and needs to be nurtured properly. We wanted to set up in a way that enabled proper capability growth with these new roles. So when I joined we immediately kicked off work building a fit for purpose capability framework that our team could benchmark against. This is enabling us to focus training, coaching and work opportunities more effectively — tailoring them to the individual as they evolve as practitioners.

The new set up

We now have a product designer embedded in each squad. Some squads — that have a broader remit — have two.

UX researchers are responsible for strategic research initiatives that sit across multiple squad priorities. The longer term aim is for the UX researchers to also act in a coaching capacity to enable the product designers to do some of the more day to day usability testing and research that enables iterative user-centred development within the squads.

We are also maintaining specialist visual design, UX design and UX research roles across our leads layer so that they can give appropriate support across the squads and projects where coaching or hands on design/research intervention may be needed.

We’ll continue to monitor how this new shape is working. As we grow as a team — in both headcount and capability — we’ll iterate as needed to make sure people are happy, doing good work and being challenged. We know our designers and researchers will still have different strengths and we don’t expect people to become unicorn practitioners. We’ll continue to seek both generalists and specialists to shape the overall capabilities of the team.

We’re hiring — come work with us

We are currently hiring Senior UX researchers. It’s a great time to come work for Which? and help people in the UK navigate the ever more complex consumer landscape. The cost of living crisis and broader issues around scamming, sustainability and travel industry chaos are just some of the areas where people really need help at the moment. At Which? you can give that help — in a supportive, inclusive and flexible work environment.

Feel free to contact me on twitter @loft27design if you’d like more info.



Stephen McCarthy
Which? Product Delivery

Head of Product Design at Which? - Ex Head of Design for Government Digital Service and GOV.UK