In User Experience, I understand that my main job is being a bridge between users and stakeholders; that is, understanding well the users' needs and desires, communicating that to the company, and making sure that the company goals are well covered by the design. That way, everybody can be happy*!
*Most of the time
Usually, my very first activity is gathering information about the domain or specific aspects of our objective (e.g., the redesign of the home page). In this case, I performed a competitive analysis of other educational sites' landing pages: information, sign-up processes, layout, basic SEO, etc, vs visitors hard data. That intelligence allowed me to have a much clearer picture of what I wanted to achieve with the redesign of our own home page.
A big part of the initial discovery process of a project consists of organizing the information in a clear way, and that's a part I truly enjoy, as it allows me to present information that might be very dry in a more original or attractive way, giving it a visual structure. Here I use a simple matrix for different options and a diagram which shows how those options deploy throughout time.
When the goal is to understand a process that might be complex, a good ol' flowchart is second to none. Especially when working directly with developers and product managers, is important to communicate these processes in a clear and concise way. In this example, I used a flowchart to also present usability suggestions in order to improve the experience for users (and reduce headaches for the company).
During my HCI studies I quickly learned how important is to have early input from real users, good and bad (but especially bad), as problems and mistakes are the ones that people remember the most when they think about an interface.
In most of my UX jobs I have been in charge (or at least involved) of research and usability testing. At my previous role at Britannica, I was responsible for designing tests and moderating them, as well as analyzing results and presenting them to the team.
I normally gather lots of information and insights during usability tests. My job is then to summarize all that information into digestible blocks, which involves organizing the usability issues found in order of urgency and presenting good and bad findings about the experience.
Just like during the discovery process of a project, is important to clearly convey all the main points about usability issues and users attitude toward an experience. In this example, I used people icons instead of numbers or charts to show some qualitative aspects of the study, and used colors to individualize participants that may have had infrecuent issues within the study.