In week 7 of Autumn term, we were joined by Nick Sexton, a Reading graduate whose design career includes working as a freelancer, digital designer at Dyson, and an experience design lead at Jaguar Land Rover. In this session, Nick gave his interpretation of user experience design (UX) and how considering the needs of users is important in the design industry.
Jaguar Land Rover and Dyson
Nick loved recreating websites and designing simplistic movie posters while studying at Reading, as well as ‘starting that old-age dream of being a freelancer’, which he began in order to gain experience in designing for clients. Nick’s talk explained his progress from graduate, to freelancer, to ‘grad scheme’ intern and finally to the senior roles he now occupies. His focus on working in-house, rather than agency-side gave us an insight into how design processes work within two brands with very specific design identities within their industries.
Nick’s experience with UX design for Dyson and JLR is a great example of what companies need to consider when engineering products for their users
‘In the world of work, everything’s collaborative’ – Nick Sexton
The importance of experience
Nick emphasised that in order to succeed in designing for users one must discover, define, develop and deliver; which involves looking at the start-to-finish journey along with the experience. Looking at these details erases problems before someone buys a product, increasing satisfaction. When it comes to designing for screens or pieces of machinery, Nick learned a lot directly from James Dyson: ‘Aesthetics are important, but if it doesn’t work it’s fundamentally not very good’. Focusing on the functionality and purpose is of a higher importance than of appearance, as those who would use a product would simply want to achieve their goal without frustration.
The purpose of ux design is to ensure the journey of users has no problems and achieves what is desired
‘If something is ugly people will get over it. If it doesn’t work, that’s where frustration comes in’ – Nick Sexton
The importance of UX design and the journey that users take to achieve their goal with a product was a driving message behind Nick’s presentation. Students who have projects involving UX found the session especially helpful in understanding what needs to be considered when producing work that would be used by an audience.
‘I thought this was one of the most interesting Baseline shifts I’ve ever been to, I especially liked how it linked to the UX project us part 2s are working on at the moment.’ – Part 2 student
‘Very interesting insight into a huge industry, would never have considered this [the motor industry]as a significant industry for graphic design.’ – Matt Perks