Lead Researcher (Contract)

Remote - Seattle, Washington, United States

Applications have closed
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Substantial is a digital innovation and build studio located on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. We believe technologists are in an unprecedented position to innovate in service of a more equitable future. Collaborating with our clients as strategic innovation partners to create thoughtful digital products from concept to launch, we are looking for two seasoned Lead Researchers to join us for two different contracts currently in negotiations:

  1. Researcher to join us for a 3-4 month project for a large philanthropy client engagement, with a rough start date anywhere middle of July to beginning of August through September, with potential for longer.
    1. For this project, experience with inclusive design and equity-centered design methods and approaches will be key.
  2. Researcher to join us for a 2-3 month project for an engagement with an organizational consulting company, with a rough start date at the beginning of August through September, with potential for longer.

Primary responsibilities:

  • Help plan, execute, and moderate primary research (e.g.: developing research protocol, screeners, discussion guides, and activities)
  • Lead synthesis of research, developing foundational insights, and strategic frameworks to guide product teams to make design/product decisions
  • Collaborate cross-functionally with other researchers and designers to guide creation of synthesis assets such as personas, user journeys, ecosystem maps, and readout reports
  • Plan and conduct research programs with a primary focus on qualitative methods: interviews, design ethnography, concept evaluation, participatory design, and usability studies should all be a part of your toolbox.
  • Plan, design, and facilitate workshops with stakeholder groups to uncover business and customer goals
  • Synthesize research data to create frameworks for design opportunities, product strategy, and customer needs
  • Prepare and present approaches and outcomes of the research in a compelling manner to both internal teams and clients
  • Work on collaborative teams including product design, software engineering, and clients to realize the strategic goals


Who You Are:


  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience
  • 5-7 years of of Design Research experience, especially qualitative/ generative research
  • Background in Human-Centered Design and Design Thinking practices
  • Proven experience leading projects working independently in various design roles
  • Experience or familiarity solving problems across multiple technology platforms (e.g.: browsers, applications, operating systems, mobile and connected devices, as well as other hardware)
  • Experience directly collaborating with development teams using modern development practices
  • Strong written, speaking/presentation, and storytelling skills
  • Fierce passion for collaboration and growing with others


  • Experience developing and applying insights in a regulated (government, healthcare, education etc) product development process
  • Experience moderating research with patients and/or other sensitive groups in a regulated environment

To apply, please submit your cover letter/resume, one of which should include a link your portfolio.

Job region(s): North America
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