UX Maturity feat. James Morris

We caught up with James Morris, UX/UI Designer for Space48 for our content series ‘UX Maturity’.

Through this series, we hope to shine a light on all things UX Maturity. We hear about the UX Maturity of organisations, of the industry and of careers. We talk to people on all sides of the conversation, those on the beginning of the journey and those well on their way with the aim of sharing knowledge, stories and insight that others might find useful on their own path.

Chris @ ADLIB: Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your current role?

James: I’m James, originally from a small Welsh town called Carmarthen, and now an MSc Graduate of Product Design.

After graduating I worked a variety of roles across the design sector, including positions in fintech, start-ups and in agencies.

I’m currently working as a UX/UI Designer for Space48, an eCommerce agency based in Manchester.

Chris @ ADLIB: When did you first discover your interest in UX?

James: My field of study was physical product design and I had never really explored digital design until I moved to London to start a role for a fin-tech start-up. Through this role, I become more passionate about the field.

It’s surprising that even today, in such a digital world, there are such poorly made websites with lack of regard for user experience. Discovering this, and the difference I could make to these websites and user journeys, has really fuelled my interest in UX design.

Chris @ ADLIB: What’s been your journey so far and how did you develop your skills in UX?

James: As is the case for many other people, my journey hasn’t been the smoothest, and I spent a lot of time early in my career moving between start-ups and agencies for a variety of reasons. However, I feel that this journey has provided me with a real breadth of experience and a good understanding of how businesses operate that has been incredibly useful in my career.

This has really contributed to me developing a good variety of skills in a short period of time and in quite an unconventional way. There have been plenty of occasions where I have been able to handle a difficult situation due to having experienced something similar in a previous role.

One of the main things I’ve learned is that the biggest challenge beyond time and budget is the people who are involved in a project. Sometimes people will be difficult to work with, but what’s important is that you do your part of the job – all you can do with other people involved in the project is guide and convey your design and research work. Just know your value and have confidence in your work – If you have followed the right steps, you won’t go far wrong.

People are emotional and passionate, so as a UX practitioner you will need to empathise with stakeholders to help you work out solutions to difficult design projects.

Chris @ ADLIB: What would be your top 3 tips for people looking to secure a UX role?

James: I think these can vary but for me, I would say the three things that helped me secure a role would be

  1. Empathy

The people you will meet, work with, and work for will all be different – some extroverted, others introverted. Being able to step back and find the best approach to communicate in these varied environments will help a lot. No two interviews will be the same and approaching each one with the user in mind is essential. Just so long as you are still being yourself in these different environments while staying conscious of and adapting to the other party, you’re bound to do well.

2. Knowing your flaws

Whilst we all think we are the best designer, the reality is that we aren’t, but that doesn’t mean we can’t strive to be world-class. If you feel you have a knowledge gap, don’t shy away from this – own it and seek to learn how to close that gap. Ask questions, be honest and demonstrate how you plan on increasing your knowledge and expertise on a particular subject or skill.

This shows a positive, proactive outlook and will give someone the confidence that you will be able to contribute and lead moving forward.

3. Attention to detail

You will hear this all the time, but one thing I have learnt is that the detail is not a small or insignificant part of the design. Multiple factors will play increasingly important roles in a design or design review. These factors will range from anything like business goals, budget, and time to even the personalities of the various stakeholders.

One thing I have tried to do in past design tasks in which I been successful is look beyond the direct and initial design. This is where identifying the scope of a potential design comes in and not being afraid to tell someone that their UI/UX is poor while offering a solution.

“I have identified this is your USP, but you have it hidden away – here’s what we can do about that,” or “by inserting x or y design feature we can increase your conversation rate.” You want to lead and guide people through the rationale and story for why your design or feedback is valid.

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User Experience & Design

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Chris Nasrawi