Judge’s Q&A: Alberta Soranzo

Judge’s Q&A: Alberta Soranzo

First in the hot seat for our Judge’s Q&A this year is Alberta Soranzo, End-to-End Service Design, Systems Thinking and Agile Coaching Director at Lloyds Banking Group…

Do you have a favourite app or website, in terms of the design and user experience?

I’m addicted to CityMapper — the amount of information packed is astounding and being able to sync up searches, trips and places between devices allows me to plan my trips without having to leave my computer (where I do most of my calendaring), and to find them on my mobile devices when I need them.

Which industries, in your opinion, tend to deliver the worst user experiences, and why do you think that is?

Corporate systems — be it travel booking, HR, performance management or procurement/purchasing — tend to be pretty terrible. It feels like the moment a system is “mandatory” for its users, no care is placed in the user’s ability to be presented with a usable interface. Instead, they tend to rely on impossibly intricate navigational schemes and lengthy instruction manuals, rigorously in PDF format.

… And don’t get me started on corporate training and job application portals!

What’s been the greatest game-changer in the user experience and usability sectors over the past 10 years?

Content management systems and taxonomies. And, yes, I’m aware that they fall more traditionally under the “content strategy/information architecture” banner, but without them, we wouldn’t be able to consistently and appropriately deliver information to the multitude of devices and in the variety of formats that today’s technology makes available.

What do you think are the biggest challenges companies face when it comes to user experience?

The inability of organisations to connect the experience layer (the UX) to the rest of the system it depends on — I’ve lost count of the many organizations that offer beautifully styled front ends, and then force users to jump through multiple hoops in order to complete a transaction or retrieve information. Unless organisational barriers are broken down and UX is considered as part of the service it enables, the fulfilment of multi-channel strategies can never be achieved.

Do you have any UX-pet peeves?

Poor user guidance and lack of user feedback. Much too often we design slick interfaces that leave users befuddled, because they can’t either figure out what to do or what is even possible, due to lack of instruction and the complete disregard for design and interaction patterns.

Also, poor copywriting and grammar (or typos!) — content is experience.

And finally, if you could have any superpower what would it be – and why?

Being an omniglot – I get immensely frustrated when someone speaks a language I don’t understand, so speaking (and understanding) them all would be really cool.