My designs change the way people experience the world.
Designer, experience analyst, unicorn—these are just a few of the fantastical names I’ve inherited while working in digital. With the spotlight on designers in the age of digital transformation it’s become almost fashionable to have a crazy title but that doesn’t change the work that I do.
At Accenture, I go by the title Interaction Designer (IxD). This means I help companies understand their customers so they can build better digital products and services. The work I do is neatly summarised into three areas: discover, describe and design. They form part of a framework developed by bespoke design and innovation company, Fjord.
‘Discovery’ involves research, learning about people and the context of problems. I bring a unique spark of empathy to the equation. I like to immerse myself in people’s situations, empathising with their pain and joy. I feel that relating to their situation on an emotional level helps me design better solutions.
‘Describe’ is the distillation of findings into clear and concise ideas. I draw on my technical background to see the world through both a creative and technical lens. I typically craft artifacts like user journeys, interaction models and information architecture maps. These artifacts help communicate my thinking with all the stakeholders involved and they look great too.
‘Design’ is where the magic happens. It’s where the stories come to life. I sketch, wireframe and prototype in an iterative fashion, testing and improving my designs continuously. I keep a human-centered approach, ensuring users are involved at every step of the process, from co-creation to feedback and evaluation.
The most exciting and terrifying part about being a designer in digital is that no two days are the same. Every day holds bewildering new challenges, culture-shifting ideas and the most diverse people. I like to think of it as living on the edge of an ever changing landscape, embracing uncertainty with a confident and open mind, and always staying ahead of the curve.
Of course I have my rituals and my process of thinking, collaborating and creating.
I usually speak with my team first thing in the morning. This takes the form of a scrum or standup. I really value continuous feedback and sharing of ideas, I think it’s vital to establish a rhythm and cadence for a project. Checking in with business and technology ensures everybody’s on board with the vision.
A portion of my day is dedicated to reading user experience related articles and keeping up to date with the international rockstars in the industry. This ritual challenges my established way of thinking and helps me break through into new creative ideas.
I often work towards solutions in a visual way, using paper for sketching, as well as stickies and whiteboards. Design thinking is instrumental in providing activities that get people excited about design. I think the impact design thinking can have on an organization’s culture is remarkable.
Amongst all the collaborating, researching and wireframing, I’m usually motivating for the user because, at the end of the day, it’s their experience that matters.
A designer’s work is never done; it’s an always-on stance that weaves its way into everything you do. It’s a lifestyle of constant observation and improvement. I am always looking at the world around me for inspiration and using that to form my solutions. And in turn these solutions begin to shape the environment around me. This is the power of an idea.
Outside the office, I’m just as passionate and intense. I enjoy thought provoking movies and spend a bit too much time gaming. I can usually be found out and about, exploring Jo’burg with my beautiful girlfriend.
My work is a direct reflection of my personality. I put my passion and soul into my work—it’s who I am. You have to love what you do and be good at what you do.
My advice is to turn your work into play. I think you should be curious about everything around you, like a child, never stop being in awe.
Perfection is not just about control, it’s also about letting go and embracing the wonder. Remain open and be willing to be transformed by new information. Sometimes it’s tough going against the current but it always has its rewards.