Version 1 Careers: An Introduction to UX Design
In our latest Careers Blog we chat about all things UX and Service Design with Niall Diggins, Head of Service Design at Version 1.
Version 1 helps thousands of clients across the UK and Ireland to overcome their Digital Transformation and Application Modernisation problems. Part of this service often requires simple and intuitive user experiences across a customer’s online platform. In applications where usage rates are very high, saving a few seconds on a screen can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of users, thereby decreasing the cost associated with tasks. This is where UX Design and Service Design comes in.
“We strongly believe in user experience and a user-centric design methodology here,” states Niall Diggins, Head of Service Design at Version 1. “Service Design should improve the experiences of both the user and employee so that the value of the combined effort is tangible for all. It’s a great career move for someone with an interest in UX or UI design.”
The User Experience
If there is one thing that Niall believes is important when entering a career in UX or Service Design, it’s the awareness of the people behind the tech. “We’re not designing for a screen: we’re designing for people,” Niall says. “As such, we always need to think hard about the context in which they are using our services.” Service Design pros can do this, Niall believes, by considering 5 simple questions:
1. Is it Findable?
“UX Designers bridge information gaps so that people become more familiar with a product or service”, says Niall. “The design should use the same language and the same patterns wherever possible.” According to Niall, when this isn’t possible, the approach should still remain consistent. “Once a user learns how to do something, they should be able to transfer that skill to other parts of the site,” he says. “If this logic is something you regularly consider in your daily role, you’re already thinking in terms of Service Design.”
2. Is it Usable?
Usability describes how a user can interact effectively with a product and how easy a product can be operated. Niall believes that the best interfaces are almost invisible to the user: “A simple UI avoids unnecessary elements, is clear in the language used on labels and in messaging.”
3. Is it Valuable?
The product must deliver value. It must deliver value to the business which creates it and to the user who buys or uses it. “People unfamiliar with a career in UX or Service Design can often underestimate the impact it has,” says Niall. “Without value it is likely that any initial success of a product will eventually be undermined, so the Service Design plays a huge part behind the scenes.”
4. Is it Desirable?
Desirability can be conveyed in design through branding, image, identity, aesthetics and emotional design. By using common elements in a UI, users feel more comfortable and can get things done more quickly. According to Niall, consistency is key here: “Once a user learns how to do something, they should be able to transfer that skill to other parts of the site.”
5. Is it Accessible?
Accessible design is good design. Everything built should be as inclusive, legible and readable as possible. “I’m always purposeful with page layout,” says Niall. “Careful placement of items can help draw attention to the most important pieces of information and can help with scanning and readability.” Additionally, sites built with disabilities in mind can enable users to employ a variety of assistive technologies to help them navigate these obstacles. It is important though, as Niall attests, that the website is built appropriately so as to allow the technology to work. “Priority number one is always triple check you’re not limiting access to anything on the site,” he says.
Entering the World of UX and Service Design
So, what does it take to become successful in UX Design or Service Design?
According to Niall, the ideal candidate for a role in this field with have a keen eye for detail with a good understanding of people. “A lot of the time we’ll be liaising directly with customers, so being able to clearly communicate our ideas – or interpret customer ideas into actionable plans – is key.” The UX and Service Design team at Version 1 is often the face of a project, and as such “communication skills are a huge bonus.”
The ability to accept criticism is also important, Niall says. “Not everyone is going to love your designs all of the time, so being open to feedback and being able to turn criticism into fuel to power your next iteration of ideas is essential for any role in a UX or Service Design field,” he states. “It’s definitely not a career for an ego.”
When it comes to education, there is no one-size-fits-all background that makes you more or less likely to succeed. “You don’t need to be an expert in every area of UX or Design to have a fulfilling career in the field. We’ve such a mix of talents here in the team, it brings a fantastic array of perspectives to the table.” With a crew comprising of ex-Product Designers, Marketers, Technologists and even a Fine Art connoisseur, there really is no limit to where your career can go with the right attitude and a commitment to succeed. “If you bring passion and a willingness to learn, there are always exciting opportunities open in Version 1.”
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