What does a UX Consultant do all day?

Jessica Lovegood, UX Designer at Booking.com

Welcome to the latest in our series of UX career Q&As where we highlight a respected UX professional, who works close with – or tangentially next to – UX and find out exactly what their role is within their organisation, and what UX means to them.

The purpose of this ‘day-in-the-life’ is to give transparency to the mythical beast of UX. It will also help anyone interested in breaking into the UX industry know how others made it and possibly shed some light on the role of a UXer for other people in an organisation who may not understand.

This week: Jessica Lovegood, UX consultant, designer, developer, speaker, empathy advocate and current UX Designer at Booking.com.

How did you get to this stage in your career?

I started off working in IT mainly, working on content, websites, coding. I knew I loved tech and gadgets but I also knew I loved psychology, business and design. I practiced a lot and essentially just kept applying the skills I knew I had in my ordinary roles. I learnt constantly so I developed in all those areas – I think this now makes me a really strong candidate when I look for UX roles now as I can understand everyone at every stage of a product. I know the business, the user, the design and the code, which means I can help our team achieve our goals.

Was there a lightbulb moment when you saw the value of UX?

Essentially, I didn’t know that that was what I was doing until a wonderful mentor and now friend pointed it out. I’d been working on web projects of all different varieties for a few years and we started work on a huge one with a key team of eight. As part of that eight, Anthony Faconti led our team and one day he just said to me, “You know you’re doing UX right?”. It was then that I investigated this upcoming field and realised that whatever role I’d been doing, I’d always been enhancing the user’s experience.

What does your average working day look like?

At the moment I’m working on a brand new product. Being in NPD mode means that whilst I’m always in the middle of designing something, interspersed with product conversations and research. We work in an agile fashion so we use things like stand-ups in the morning and Trello for organising work throughout the day. The project is focused on employee experience rather than customer experience so there’s also a lot of awesome conversations around HR practices and meeting with our HR counterparts as we work through design and development.

How do you use remote UX testing in your testing process?

I’ve been using remote user testing for some work I’m doing with a client at the moment. We’re currently doing it ourselves – I’ve not managed to convince them of the value yet so this is the cheapest option. I’ve written scripts for myself and a few of our team and trained them on how to deliver, the things to watch out for and how to take notes. In this scenario we will walk through the product observe the user, just as would would in a non-remote user test.

Do you think the people in your organisation understand UX?

In my organisation, yes. Clients, not so much! In my organisation we even hire copywriters as UX writers because we believe that users should be at the heart of our work. We iterate, we research and we test. Clients often don’t really understand what it is, even when you’re doing it. Generally speaking I just make sure that I’m clear on the impact of any proposed UX tasks and make sure I report back that impact. I also often role it up in other tasks if they’re more comfortable and try to involve them in the process where possible.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I’ve asked my parents and they say I wanted to be in a band! I’m one of these people likes to try new things and gets very obsessive so I have always had a multitude of hobbies and therefore skills. I still don’t think I know what I want to be when I grow up and to me, thats the fun of it.

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