How do you advocate for UX?

I often find myself in situations where people have these funny ideas of what UX is. I’ve heard things like ‘UX can happen after we’ve built the site’ and ‘we don’t need the fluffy stuff right now’. But these type of comments are a really good indication of how mature a company is. So I begin with the basics; where UX came from and what our days look like. Then I drop a few stats in on how UX affects the success of a project. They’re usually nodding like lambs by the end of it.

What do you think is the most important aspect of UX?

Wow, that’s a tough one. I would start at the beginning, your strategy. So many times I’ve joined a project somewhere in the middle and you immediately realise that it’s a little bit of a mess (I’m being nice). I truly believe that having a clear UX strategy from the start will greatly reduce the risks that the project will fail. I’ve learnt you can’t guarantee that any idea will be a success in the real world. You have to agile and always validate through testing.

What tools do you use?

For productivity I use Airmail, Calendar, Agena, Bear, Slack and the usual business apps. For design work I love whiteboards, they’re just wonderful to map out customer journeys on. Paper of course, then we go over to Sketch for screens, InVision for clickable prototypes, Zeplin for collaboration, Atlassian for project management stuff, Lookback for usability testing and Keynote for presentations. I love using Keynote. Did you know I give workshops?

What stood out to you when you last did usability testing?

I often catch myself asking leading questions. Really bad, because when I rewatch the recordings I find so many things I can improve. I think what I really like is making people feel comfortable when they enter the lab or testing room, that’s where chit chat (often demonised) can really help a participant feel relaxed. I guess being hospitable to people that are helping you improve your product is the lease we can do.

What do you love about your current job?

The people. Hands down, the people I work with are bloody amazing. I’m inspired by them, we have tons of fun together, we work hard together. Gosh, they’re just top notch. I think there are like 50 nationalities at Backbase.

I also really love travelling. I’m so lucky to get to travel doing work that I love. It’s not always rainbows and butterflies, but I still get excited when I hear get to go to places like Mauritius or Mongolia.

What books have helped you with UX and design?

The User Illusion: Cutting Consciousness Down to Size by Tor Norretranders

Super interesting, even though it’s a bit old, I still enjoyed learning about our conscious and non-conscious minds. [look]

Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug

Such a crucial read. Was drilled in us at uni. The new revisited version also has great examples from recent years. A quote I often use “Testing with one user early in the project is better than testing with 50 near the end.” [look]

Think First: My No-Nonsense Approach to Creating Successful Products, Memorable User Experiences + Very Happy Customers by Joe Natoli

Oh my word, such a long title, but such a good read! Seriously all the tips you’ll need to build great experiences. I was highlighting constantly. [look]

The Lean Startup by Eric Lies

I mean, if you haven’t read this yet, we have nothing else to say. [look]

UX Strategy: How to Devise Innovative Digital Products that People Want by Jaime Levy

This book really helped me set some foundations for building up a good UX strategy. Good principles that you can build upon. [look]