Q: What do you do at Jumio and what does that involve?
A: My official job title is Experience Designer, but I work more like an in-house product designer. While Jumio has been investing a lot in technology, I’ve been trying to add UX value to the company as well as to the product. For instance, many internal tasks such as improving workflow, and clarifying clients’ problems can be solved by design thinking or UX attitude. No matter where a request comes from, it always has a strong connection with what we should do for the end-user. That’s why I moderate lots of user tests and analyze data as well.
But this is just for the right start of the project. I do care about design as a finishing stroke of the design iteration journey, which means that I design from end to end, from small graphics to a working prototype and hands-off for developers.
Tasks are always piled up as I’m the only designer in the company, but the most important thing to me as a UX designer is how to strike a balance between business goals and UX goals. It’s still challenging.
Q: What was Jumio’s selling point for you? – What made you say “I wanna work there!”?
A: First of all, I was keen to design a global product. ID verification has a very wide user spectrum in age, country, and gender. This is a remarkably rare chance to see the user’s behavior pursuing one single purpose—ID verification—all around the world; it is the perfect place to see how particular users adopt the UI. Furthermore, Jumio is a fast-growing company with machine learning teams and top-tier developers; it seemed like an ideal playground for a designer.
Q: Before Jumio, did you have similar experiences at previous companies or was this rather new to you when you started?
A: Surprisingly, I found similarities across all the IT companies I’ve worked with, regardless of location, because my job and daily challenges were really similar to my previous work experience. It’s true that living in Vienna is totally new to me and still challenging, but working in an IT company is relatively easy to land. Many IT companies have a flat hierarchy and adopt agile organization, which tends to influence HR to hire open-minded people.
As a result, I was more comfortable when I onboarded than I’d expected, which meant that I could just focus on my job.
Q: What are the most interesting bits of the role?
A: I’m always thrilled whenever I get feedback from an end user saying that my design does exactly what it was intended to. That’s so awesome. Other than that, I would pick the localization part. I didn’t expect to work on technical writing as much as I do now, but thanks to this experience, I can better understand cultural differences. Do you know that most internet users are non-English speakers? Do you know that there are paper-format driver’s licenses in Europe? Have you ever used bidirectional UI before? Do you know that English expressions often don’t work in other languages? How about the font? The system font you’re using now wouldn’t work in other languages. You start learning that if you design for a global product 🙂
Q: What do most people misunderstand about the role in general?
From “non-design” people: What is UX? Do you design the website? Ah, so web designer! BEEP
From graphic designers: UX isn’t a design. Isn’t it a consultant? BEEP
From UX researchers: I’m different from a designer. I’m a researcher. BEEP
Designers’ prefixes have been changed, but I believe that the fundamental definition of a designer is still the same; it’s all about using visual methods to create social value. Designers can use graphics and do research, because they need to know who they’re designing for, so why not code it if it can help achieve pixel-perfect design? The tool doesn’t matter, so to speak. I want to add a quotation that works for any job. “Technology is the answer. But what was the question?” I do research to ask the right questions then create a design to give the right answer.
Q: What would you say to potential employees wanting to work at Jumio? What qualities should they have?
A: I personally wouldn’t emphasize years of working experience. The skill set is similar to that required by other startup product designers, but, in order to work at Jumio, you have to be proactive enough to initiate your own design process and you should be able to manage the whole UX flow, not just a single part of the page.
The more freedom you have, the more responsibility you have to take. Anyone from your coworker to your client will question your design and you have to be able to deal with it.
It would help you to communicate with stakeholders if you had the experience of having improved a product or service with actual quantifiable results and initiated the project from scratch with your design; It would mean that you had already persuaded many people and made a profit from it. That would be a big plus for your portfolio.