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In UX Design, I regularly conduct user interviews to better understand their expectations and needs towards a product or service. This exploration phase is very enriching for the initiation of a project. I followed this interview concept to answer your questions about my background:
How did it all start?
At the age of 10 I took my first computer course on a Thomson MO5 keyboard (the gum keys… very special user experience). I entered my first lines of code in LOGO. Fascinating, magical… And unaffordable.
However, computers and programming will always revolve around me during my schooling until my first iMac. My studies in Sciences fro the Bac S to the Master in Cellular Biology will teach me a lot in terms of culture and methodology which will later be very useful in the demonstrative approach of Design Thinking.
In 94, at my first Internet connection, I immediately feel that I am in front of a real revolution and I want to participate in it! I successfully obtained a double competence in computer science with a DESS in New Internet Applications and my career in the digital sector was launched in Geneva.
The first job?
So I got my first job in a Web agency in Geneva in 2002. I am a Web Consultant and develop Internet sites, Extranet or Web applications during 3 years for various customers (automotive, radio, pharmaceutical, luxury…).
I perfected my sense of service, learned to build a database and new programming languages, including Flash Actionscript, which allows me to reconcile performance and aesthetics (as I like to draw, I appreciate graphic culture very much), in particular on a large eLearning platform project for a large watchmaker. I am interested in the trades, including its mathematical formulas for simulating the gears of mechanisms. My curiosity and my investment allowed the project to accelerate its development significantly. This client hired me at the end of the project.
Then a long investment of 15 years?
In this large luxury company, I continued to update the eLearning platform, and then my field of action was extended to the management of its corporate website and the development of various multimedia projects.
I was asked to evaluate all the digital tools of the sales department: the presentation of my audit caused a sensation and I was asked to create my own multimedia office to take charge of this ecosystem.
I am now manager of multimedia projects and my team: we are developing the multilingual corporate website as well as a secure communication platform with multiple tools such as the product library, sales data capture by shops worldwide and reporting generation, information sharing with the sales network and, as of 2007, mobile applications (product catalogue, knowledge duels, product customisation), etc….
My role consists of analysing needs, studying projects, managing their design and monitoring their development, analysing their results, while developing and growing my team (from 3 to 8 employees). I am very user-oriented, I am interested in and documentUX Design, but the lack of availability does not allow me to go deeper into the process.
What can we learn from this long experience?
Many innovative projects, of which unfortunately very few are visible to the public, my team, which I love and which I have seen evolve.
My increase in skills, of course, my ease of working in a team and my ability to get all types of professions to collaborate: from the graphic designer to the technical developer, from the salesperson to the public relations officer, including accountants, museum guides and external service providers.
I have often been praised for my teaching skills. I am indeed someone who adapts her speech to the person in front of her. Using technical terms to confuse an interlocutor does not correspond to my values. I am honest and transparent in my communication.
I evolved to the position of Chief Digital Officer within this large luxury company and for the last 3 years my role had become more diplomatic than creative.
Having been involved throughout these years in all the strata of digital projects (from the idea to the realisation via development) I have concluded that contrary to what one might think, digital is an environment in which the human element is omnipresent. Designing solutions that place people at the heart of projects, by listening to and constantly interacting with the field , is key: this is the leitmotiv of Design Thinking and its digital counterpart, UX Design.
UX Design (User Experience Design) cannot be improvised; a 4-day training course is not enough to qualify for this profession. So I decided to put my career on hold to do a Master’s degree in UX Design and go to the end of my reasoning. Immersion and maximum concentration in UX Design during my Master’s degree: I deepened the concepts (especially Design Thinking), I learned new methods (creation of personas, heuristic evaluations, usability questionnaires, ice breakers, UX Business Model canva….) and above all I apply them to concrete projects (UX audit of a large platform, innovating with a mobile app, researching oppotunities with a user study, etc…). After 9 intense months, I successfully completed my Master’s degree in UX Design and my digital expertise is even richer and more elaborate.
I’m curious by nature, and being independent allows me to meet and work in many sectors, with many different professions and personalities. This is very enriching. And I can share my experience with many companies.
I can also organise my time to fulfil my other family and administrative responsibilities (I am a local councillor in my commune).
What are your challenges?
I would be pleased to discuss openly with you about your current issues and problems.
How would you describe your job to a non-expert?
UX Design is often misunderstood by adults and children alike. To take a culinary metaphor: a meal without UX Design is like eating a frozen dish at home, a meal with UX Design is like a tasting in a great restaurant: a starred chef will design a product but not only that, he will define the experience you are going to live. He will choose the decoration of the room, the cutlery, the ingredients, the proportions. He will cook, put the dish on the plate, welcome you, serve the dish at the table and greet you. That’s what UX Design is all about: creating a global experience tailored to its users.
UX Design is not just for large companies, it is for all sectors, whatever their size, with a view to providing a fluid and satisfying experience for its users. There’s nothing like a satisfied user, he’ll be your best ambassador.
A typical day?
Very organised, as soon as my Macbook Pro is switched on, I plan my day in my Notion template and start by working on my current projects (research, analysis, development of clickable prototypes, preparation of videoconference or face-to-face workshops, user testing).
I remain available throughout the day for my clients, on the phone or by video, and I give them progress updates on projects, usually on a weekly basis.
My lunch break allows me to work out while listening to podcasts for my digital watch and to respond to requests on Linkedin or by email.
What have you done that demonstrates the “solution tour” side?
The year the first iPhone was released, the president of the company I was working for said to me in a corridor “how do I put my 20 product catalogues in my suitcase when I go on a business trip? I prototyped a mobile app, motivated one of my employees to train in iOS development and within a few months we launched an offline product catalogue app with more than 1,000 descriptive files including photos, videos, press kits, etc… The app appeals to the president as well as to sales people around the world. This app is available on iPad and is always used and updated.
What do you like best about your job?
User testing is always surprising: you can never guess what users will do or experience with a product. You learn a lot from them. I like to get my clients involved in user testing, it’s often very instructive and good for perspective-taking.
I really like prototyping because it’s the moment when my client really becomes aware of the concrete nature of the project.
Team Figma or Team Adobe XD?
My preference is Figma because it is the most stable tool in collaborative mode and therefore in co-design with the client. However, I adapt to my clients’ tools: Figma, XD, Sketch… It’s up to the client to give me his preference.
My experiences make me a seasoned, knowledgeable and complete digital professional: in addition to a strong competence in designing solutions, I have a vision and a sense of global analysis allowing me to understand both strategy and innovation. I am open-minded, accessible and share my knowledge with pedagogy.
In the conception of your projects or the resolution of your problems, it is desirable to be accompanied by a solid person, who listens to you, and is flexible to allow you to reach your objectives. This is why I offer you my services.
Thank you for reading this.