Navigating the Journey to Success in UX
A great user experience happens by design, not by accident. A UX designer’s job is not about choosing the colours and graphics for an attractive user interface. It’s about making the product work in the way our customers would expect it to.
Elite Avner Torbit, Lead UX Designer for tax and accounting products at Wolter Kluwer is focused on introducing design thinking methodologies that put customers at the centre of the design efforts of the company’s tax and accounting solutions.
She is responsible for creating the environment for everyone involved to be creative, experiment and collaborate every day, with the ultimate goal of delivering products that customers will love.
Here are three things you should know about Elite’s journey to working with UX within software development.
What do you do?
For the past seven years, I’ve been a digital UX designer predominantly focused on B2B applications. For the uninitiated, UX is the applied practice of guiding users on helpful, easy and satisfying user journeys, both in digital products, and physical products as well.
I have worked with a wide range of businesses, from large retailers and finance companies, to independent businesses, SMEs, non-profits and start-ups. It’s been a tremendously varied career so far, but what is common among all my roles is my focus on user experience at the centre of all design. I enjoy helping businesses relate to their customers and solving complex problems by making solutions simple. I also love the variety of facilitating workshops, running user research, sketching ideas and creating wireframes and prototypes.
How did you get into UX as a career?
In my career, it’s safe to say that pre-UX I was a bit of a digital generalist. I held different digital roles in project management, digital strategy and CRM management. I also managed project delivery for websites, and this was what piqued my interest in UX. UX designers are a bit like conduits as they talk to all the different people involved in producing a product or service. I liked that, because I’ve always been the type of person who liaises between everyone, acting as a bridge to various project needs.
I was looking for a new career direction…and began studying UX independently, applying what I’d learned along the way for charities and small businesses either on a voluntary basis, or for nominal fees. I did this for a year, and after that year, I had a portfolio I could use to begin applying for ‘real’ UX jobs, which is exactly what I did. 18 months after my self-directed journey into UX began, I got my first proper UX job as a contractor through an agency.
It goes to show how important it is to have a portfolio in UX, as, in my experience, companies won’t hire designers without a portfolio of work. They want to understand your thought process and how you approach something, whether you know the domain well or not. In most roles, the end result is usually the most important thing, but in UX, the process takes precedence in many ways. When you create a portfolio, it’s important to show your own journey through each project. You want to demonstrate how you contributed to the deliverables of each project phase, showing that you understand the UX process and everything that goes into it.
It’s all based on design thinking. Generally, I focus on B2B, but it doesn’t actually matter whether you’re designing a gardening app or a large-scale tax and accounting solution, which is my current focus: the process is the same. Design thinking is about empathising with users, exploring the problem and understanding how the people who use the product or service may behave in the moment, and why.
The importance of talking to customers. We start with a short discovery phase. This gives us a chance to learn, up front, about our customers’ needs so that when it’s time to start building a solution, we’ve already had a thorough validation of our ideas, and we deliver great outcomes based on research.
What’s it like being a UX designer at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting UK?
I enjoy the fact that we’re effectively a ‘floating resource’ and can join any team that needs us at a specific time. For example, UK UX designers recently joined the Wolters Kluwer Virtual Code Games, where teams of developers collaborated and connected to develop inventive solutions as part of our ongoing innovation stream. With over 500 participants and 100 teams across the globe, it was an amazing initiative to be part of, and we loved helping teams tell their stories by considering the user journey at all times.
Within our local community of UX designers, and more broadly at a global level, there’s a lot of support and activity taking place. We have coaching and best practice sessions, and we help each other to embed UX firmly across a future-focused technology business – it’s a great place for any UX designer to be, and I’m glad my journey has brought me here.