UX as a competitive advantage: An interview with Jessica Ivins

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UX as a competitive advantage: An interview with Jessica IvinsSoojung Chang
February 2, 2018

Jessica Ivins, a faculty member at Center Centre, knows all about UX. She had a virtual sit-down with V1 to discuss where UX has been and where it’s going. Among the key themes she says are customization and clarity, especially as companies continue to discover UX’s benefits.

If your design is easy and enjoyable to use, you can stand out from your competitors.” Jessica is a UX designer and faculty member at Center Center – UX design school in Chattanooga. She had a virtual sit-down with V1 to discuss where UX has been and where it’s going. It’s a broad field, she explains, making it a bit of an enigma for designers, organizations and individuals trying to decide how it best fits them. With every organization having different needs, she says customization in terms of her design process is key.

“I try to customize my approach for each organization I work with. From there, I customize my approach to each project. No two organizations are alike, and no two projects are alike,” she says. “That said, I generally take a collaborative approach to UX design. I involve as many people as I can in the process, making sure that everyone who’s involved in the project gets their chance to participate and contribute.”

Clarity is an important part of working in the field, she says. “For example, I used to work at an email marketing company called AWeber, where I was the first dedicated UX designer. People there had very different ideas about what UX was and what I’d be doing as a UX designer. Some people thought I’d simply be making wireframes, while others thought I would only do usability testing. Many people had never worked with a UX designer, and they had no clue what to expect from my role. To introduce UX into the organization’s process, I collaborated with people across many different departments. I invited people to help me conduct user research. I invited people into my process when developing prototypes or other design artifacts. I ran brainstorming sessions on how to improve the customer experience. Over time, I won my team members’ trust, and I helped the team learn the benefits of UX design.”

UX remains an emerging field, but one more broadly recognized for its value across industries, she says.

“In the early days, UX designers had to go out of their way to prove their worth. Many companies didn’t see the value in UX. Now, for the most part, the situation is reversed. There's more demand for UX designers than there is qualified talent to meet the demand. I don’t see this changing any time soon. Technology is a booming field. For every design that’s easy to use, there are probably dozens of designs that aren’t easy to use.”

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