An Interview with UX Researcher, Yessie Klein (Australia)
Creating something that didn’t previously exist is intoxicating, designing products and features is completely addictive, solving people’s problems is incredibly rewarding
How did you get into the [UX] field?
Ten years ago, I became UX/UI Designer-Researcher, as a natural transition from psychology to visual designer to user interface designer to UX designer manager to Senior UX/UI Consultant; those are just different titles in different contexts. I started by learning psychology and design. and went to university. I have studied my degree, 2 masters and PhD but mostly learned by doing a bunch of projects. I learned all type of skills, programs, techniques, which can give you the advantage to create and test everything really easy. Then did some html, then some CSS and I start stacking techniques and tricks until I realized I could build things, put websites together and prove complex software concepts in cohesive presentations and/or prototypes that work and solve the problem.
Any advice for people wanting to get into the [UX] field?
– If you have Passion for the craft, curiosity about people and technology, ability to learn quickly, a detail-oriented nature, receptiveness to feedback, that’s a good sign. Keep these traits in mind.
– Attend local tech events in your area. If there’s a local UX meetup nearby, that’s a great start.
– Find a mentor: search for a UX designer you admire, and ask them a few questions about UX.
– Get comfortable with teaching yourself new things.
– Learn and Practice Design Fundamentals.
– Take UX courses online (Coursera, Skillshare)
– Learn CSS and HTML on Codeacademy
– Sign up for UX Thought of the Day. You’ll receive one email every day on most weekdays of the year. Each email contains a bite-sized UX thought or UX tip you can apply to your design work.
– Follow UX folks on Twitter: UX Professionals to follow: Jared Spool, Dana Chisnell, Dan Willis, Dan Brown, Christina Wodtke, Eduardo Ortiz, Abby Covert, Charlene McBride, Steve Portigal, Karen McGrane, Whitney Hess, and Dan Klyn
– Read some of the classic UX Books:
- Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug
- The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman
- A Project Guide to UX Design by Russ Unger and Carolyn Chandler
- Information Architecture for the Web and Beyond by Peter Morville and Louis Rosenfeld
- Letting Go of the Words by Ginny Redish.
What do you enjoy about working in the UX industry?
I love creating something that didn’t previously exist, it’s intoxicating. Designing products and features is completely addictive and solving people’s problems is incredibly rewarding. There is always something exciting to look forward to, you will never, ever know everything, design inspiration is everywhere, you see the world around you differently than other humans, and want to fix all of the things, you’re always surrounded by a deeply passionate, supportive community of like minded people.
What has been your favourite project to work on?
I have had the opportunity to work on many unique projects in many diverse areas, but my favourite it was when I was tasked with all aspects of leading this project, from research, design to develop the product. This project presented me the opportunity to lead and learn with a variety of experienced leaders through all the process. I not only learned the important intricacies, but also learned how to effectively manage a diverse group of individuals through an essential initiative.
What is the most common usability issue you encounter during your testing?
The most common usability mistakes when doing usability tests with users were:
- Not getting the most from the user
- Not choosing the meaningful scenarios to test – one of the key usability mistakes
- Not understanding what the outcome of tests represents
- Not recruiting the right participants
- Not designing the right tasks
- Not facilitating the test effectively
- Not planning how you’ll disseminate the results
- Not iterating to test potential solutions
- Tiny clickable areas
- Pagination used for the wrong purpose
- Duplicate page titles
- Content that is difficult to scan
- No way to get in touch
- No way to search
- Too much functionality that requires registration
- Old permalinks pointing nowhere
- Long registration forms
- Performance of a top task is negatively impacted by too-similar link labels.
- People can’t find a top task link hidden on secondary landing pages.
- Some visitor groups have lower success rates than others.
What is the one piece of advice you would offer brands to improve their UX?
- Work with a User Experience Designer on the usability of your product before concentrating on making it look nice
- Focusing on “Impressive Design” over “Usable Architecture”
- Remove unvalidated features
- Listen to what users want, not what they actually use.
- Don’t take user feedback personally
- Include an on boarding experience
- Optimizing for mobile
- Keep your forms as short as possible
- Create an emotional connection between your brand and your users
What future UX trends do you envision?
- The evolving meaning of words: We don’t sell an experience as being “intuitive” — we prove it through user testing and positive feedback from customers.
- The interactions of the future are not made of buttons.
- A new spatial paradigm: Sound design, architecture, lighting, physics
- Intelligent apps
- NUIs, interaction design & prototyping
- Anticipatory Design
- Enterprise consumerization
- Virtual and augmented reality
- Chatbots and VAs: Every interface is a conversation
- More specialized professionals
- Design must be automated
- Research is the real opportunity
- Automation will set us free
- Designing beyond apps and screens
- Storytelling by design
- Design as a core skill
What is unique about the UX in your country?
Despite being a big country, Australia holds one of the leading positions in UX in the world. In Australia, the major push for UX has come from practitioners who were able to gain traction in some government organizations, and others who created a series of specialized agencies. Australia’s UX community created a volunteer organization and put together very interesting conferences, filling large auditoriums with young designers and developers eager to get into the UX community. There is also an interesting startup scene of growing importance that has been receiving all types of backing. Many of these start-up projects work in agile mode and have been quicker to incorporate some UX concepts and methods in their process.
There is also some hope in just waiting for markets to mature and naturally evolve towards models that prioritize design as many global companies have been doing. But we can help catalyse this evolution of these markets. Also Australia is known for these great areas.
– The UX community
– UX Mega Meetup
– UX and Design Conferences