Interview: UX & Redesign

A few months ago I interviewed with Morningstar – as part of the exercise they asked a couple of interesting questions to gauge my thoughts and approach to UX and design.

What are three common mistakes made by UX Practitioners?

1. Combining UX and UI too early

Understandably, people who create for a living are keen to see the product of their imagination, and might also cite efficiency as a key reason for combining different practices immediately.

But first we need to build a framework and organisation of content (information, data, behaviours) that reflects what the user is trying to achieve – design the user journey and tasks first, add enjoyable scenery later. This also prevents having to duplicate the two processes if we get new insights and need to redesign!

2. Too little or too much user understanding

UX practitioners know we’re designing for our users rather than ourselves – but no matter how much we think we understand their needs, asking them will always enhance our understanding.

Sometimes though we give too much attention to edge cases that only help a small number of users. The ideal solution focuses on personas and scenarios that cover the majority of users related to the core purpose of the tool.

3. No talking, sketching or testing

In short, this is about taking a break from the computer! Once we’ve done some user research, go away – preferably with great coffee – and let our mind and pen run with conceptual ideas.

Likewise, once we’ve got screens or a prototype we’re happy with, time to risk the ego and see how well your designs match what users are looking for – they will always know their needs better than you, so it pays to ask them!

If you could redesign any product or service, what would it be, and why?

My choice is based on a personal frustration – not being able to easily manage my money at a reasonable cost when travelling!

Right now getting cash or using a card typically means a bad exchange rate, high fees and only knowing the damage to my bank account when I manage to find wifi in a café or hotel.

For a better product, I would take a holistic approach and design a product that:

  • Connects easily to local banks so my finances are available in the local currency immediately
  • Uses a high volume, low spread provider like xe.com to ensure the best exchange rates
  • Treats my bank card as though I was a local – minimal to no fees, wherever I am
  • Partners with a local telecommunications provider so that my banking apps have free wifi, and I can check my balance and transactions anywhere I go
  • Sends alerts after transactions that I know how much I’m paying, how much local currency I “have” and when I need to fly home or cut the spending!

My experience is then transformed so that managing my money is as almost as easy as getting it straight out of my wallet, just as visible and just as accessible.

This in turn supports my core purpose of travel, seeing great sights and finding great coffee!

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