INTERVIEW WITH ANDY IRELAND, SENIOR UX DESIGNER
In our latest interview, we talk to Andy Ireland, who works as a senior user experience (UX) designer in the telecoms sector.
Andy has been working in UX for the past 6 years, with previous roles in financial services, publishing, and travel.
What does your role as an UX designer involve, in terms of responsibility and the day-to-day?
My role involves translating business goals, understanding technology and psychology and how this works via a variety of outputs; ranging from new product offerings to small digital changes that go unseen - but have huge impacts to the business and their users.
Day to day, you can find me:
- dissecting our research and data in order to make informed decisions
- creating and presenting wireframes to project teams and stakeholders
- seeking and identifying ways to improve our product offerings and our internal processes and methods
What do you think are the biggest challenges right now, when it comes to UX?
Last year saw a major rise in ‘personalisation’. The industries I have worked in have always been on the edge of inputting personalisation into their offerings, but it really hit an all-time high in 2016.
The challenge now, is understanding what impact that personalisation is having on users / customers. Research is key to this, and using that research to iterate the offering is also crucial. This is the challenge; proving and disproving the previous work to very fast-moving and large companies, and being able to act fast to make changes that really make a difference.
Which are THE ‘go-to’ tools that you use frequently?
- Sketch is my number one - their advancements, from a UX point of view, are second to none!
- Using user researchers - they always help to put across reasoning and ideas / problem areas with data, rather than opinion.
What advice would you give to someone new to a career in user experience design?
Take your time when entering the UX realm. There are so many other industries and sectors that affect and blend into UX, so it can seem like a mammoth task to keep on top of the constantly shifting changes that are out there.
Understand your key stakeholders, whether it’s from a project point of view - or a personal development point of view. These guys are the experts that can filter down the information that is in the big wide world for you.
Remember that there are always people out there that know more than you and that can help you improve. Don’t be shy in asking for help, and keep reviewing yourself and your work; all the while identifying areas to improve upon.
Personally-speaking, I learn a lot from watching others; how they conducted themselves in front of others, how they presented work, invited others to collaborate with them, and most importantly: brought others along on the journey with them.
Don't be afraid to speak out for what you believe in either. New ideas and thoughts can come from anywhere. You may be onto a game-changing idea or process change, OR you may find you spark a reaction that aids others to progress in some way.
What would you say are the nuances of working on UX for the telecoms sector?
Secrecy is the main one I have come across, which can lead to internal communication issues, and does makes project management a little difficult. But, from my short experience within telecoms, it is similar to working in other large customer-facing businesses, with comparable challenges.
On the secrecy note, I cannot say anymore! 😉
What do you think is next / up-and-coming in user experience design?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) which enables an 'injected a human layer between the database and the query'. Here is a really good article on this.
Data and analytics are better than ever before. Utilising this data, such as in the personalisation aspect (that I mentioned earlier), means that you can surface information to users as they want and need it.
AI is coming on leaps and bounds now, and using AI to interpret data / analytics can - and will - have huge value across the digital world.