How was your University time?
Having said that, I found the academic world tedious. Diversity was lacking in the books we had to read and in the lecturers themselves. I didn’t feel inspired by the teaching and I didn’t get a lot of feedback or encouragement. I was ready to leave after 3 years and start working.
Why did you seek career as UX Designer?
I made the move into User Experience (UX) whilst working at Reed Business Information. UX includes all aspects of a person’s interaction with a product or service and it’s about making technology easier to use. RBI had been a publishing company but wanted to build digital products, and UX was a critical part of getting that right. I was inspired by watching usability testing and persuaded my managers that I wanted to study for a Masters degree in User Interaction Design. I worked full-time as a UX professional and studied at weekends. It was a leap of faith that help me to change my career path.
I developed my skills as a manager and was given responsibility for hiring a UX team. We set up a graduate scheme which I shaped, through which we trained a number of amazing UX Designers. I led the strategy and development of the team before leaving to become a freelance consultant. I now run my own business, Creative Product Consulting, and currently work with a start-up.
What helped you to get to where you are today?
Finding a support network in your professional life really helps. I started going to UX events years ago and made good friends. We keep in touch and help each other through career ups and downs.
I thought when I was growing up that I couldn’t work in the media, creative or tech fields because I was from the Midlands and I didn’t know anyone who did those kinds of jobs. It’s important to see people like you succeeding in your chosen field, which is why increasing diversity in business leadership is vital.
Another thing I’ve learned is that sometimes you have to move on. Not every company is a place you can do good work and if you run out of inspiration and motivation, it’s time to go.
Can you recommend a book that helped you?
Advice for someone looking for a job?
Jessica is a Product & User Experience Consultant. Her company is called Creative Product Consulting Ltd. She has fifteen years of experience in team development, product innovation and strategy, user-centred design / UX and customer research. She is also a keen writer, speaker and community organiser.