Here at UCA, we’re always keen to hear about what our alumni are getting up to, and how they’re forging exciting careers in the creative industries. We’ve caught up with our MA Design & Communications graduate Inez Torre to find out how she’s getting on as a User Experience (UX) designer.
What is a UX designer?
Well, UX stands for User Experience. A UX designer studies and assesses the way users feel about a system or interaction, checking how easy it is to use, its value, utility, and efficiency. This then influences the design process and the final product.
How did you come to work with the BBC?
I joined CNN in 2012 as the Senior Designer for its international edition, and whilst there I had the opportunity to work on the complete re-design and launch of their new responsive website. It was a big project that lasted roughly two years and once it was launched in 2015 I wanted to find a new challenge, as I felt my work there was done. Not long after, I was contacted by the BBC regarding a senior position within iPlayer, and it seemed the perfect project to work on and the perfect time to change – so I accepted it.
Tell us about your average day
It’s always difficult to say what an average day is for me because it depends on which projects within iPlayer I’m working on. My days normally start with checking my emails and meetings for the day before leaving for work. That way I don’t waste time going through them later.
As soon as I arrive in the office, I join the daily stand-up meetings with the Product and Development teams for the projects I’m leading. These are followed by a quick catch up with my UX team to go over the current work-stream and updates.
The rest of the day will generally be split between meetings with different BBC stakeholders and working with the team on the week’s deliverables and goals.
What are the biggest challenges when working on a product such as iPlayer?
The BBC is a huge corporation and iPlayer is one of many products. Within the BBC, we all follow each product’s style guide and the Global Experience Language (GEL) guidelines. This helps all products feel part of the same family even when looking distinct. It’s a big challenge to find common ground when making decisions on new UX patterns that affect every other product.
What is the most important aspect of UX design?
It really is in the name – the user. It’s obvious, I know, but the key thing UX designers must remember is that they are not the user. Once that barrier is overcome, it’s easier to approach any solution with an open mind and not with preconceived ideas.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Firstly, the iPlayer team is fantastic! I really enjoy working in such a great atmosphere. Secondly, it’s a product that holds big potential, not only on the UX side but also the visual design as well. The challenges of working on a product like that are very exciting!
If there was one piece of advice you could give a new graduate, what would it be?
It’s handy to be a generalist. Because my BA had a bit of everything, from 3D modelling and coding to sculpture and painting, it meant that – even with the Graphic Design specialisation during my MA – I was able to have basic knowledge of the most varied mediums. I’ve always found that in graphic design it’s incredibly handy to have that knowledge because it means that you can build on it when the job requires it. And if you’d like to take the freelance route, flexibility is key.
You can find out more about our Graphic Design courses at our Epsom campus, including the range of careers graduates go on to pursue and the industry links they benefit from while studying with us, here.
To find out more about the huge variety of creative careers our alumni have embarked upon, as well as some of the exciting professional projects they’ve been part of, why not download a copy of our 2017 prospectus?