An amazingly talented digital specialist, Morag gave us some great insight when we interviewed her recently in the weeks leading up to the inaugural UXUK Awards. Tough-talking Morag used terms such as “abomination” to describe one sector’s typical user experiences, marks the proliferation of devices as the biggest game changer in UX in recent history, and admits her love of monkeys in interfaces….With responses such as “There’s nothing wrong with a bit of a nudge – just don’t make it a shove,” this is one judge that will cut through jargon and get down to the business of discovering the best examples of user experience. Watch out entrants!
Have you got a favourite app / website in terms of the design and user experience?
Mailchimp always brings me deep joy – a quirky, engaging yet always usable interface which truly delivers delight. And monkeys are always a winner in UX.
I also have a softspot for the BBC iPlayer Radio app with its spinnable radio dial – there are hours of fun to be had just rotating it. Skeuomorphism done right.
And honourable mention should be given to the Virgin Trains app. It always gives me exactly the information I need, from live train times to ticket booking references – it’s a travel app which has actually thought about what its users do.
Which industries, in your opinion, tend to deliver the worst user experiences, and why?
Enterprise employee software is a notorious UX black hole – software for virtual meetings, payroll, performance reviews etc. is almost universally an abomination. Just because we’re in the office, we don’t stop being humans. The company who can deliver enterprise scale with a human interface will be doing mankind a great service and making themselves a fortune.
What has been the greatest game changer in the UX and usability sectors over the past 10 years?
The proliferation of devices, form factors and interfaces in the last ten years has completely changed the understanding, practice and importance of UX as a discipline. Ten years ago it was just about the desktop, rendering an experience which worked on a few screen sizes and operating systems. Now it’s about touch and voice-controlled interfaces, plus multiple form factors and operating systems. It has forced companies to put UX centre and forefront of how they work. It’s a huge challenge – and an intensely exciting one.
What do you think are the biggest challenges companies face utilising UX?
The fact that companies are no longer completing their journeys on a single device or channel, but zig-zagging from one ch annel to another, is a huge UX challenge right now. How do you design for a journey which will take place on mobile, tablet, desktop and perhaps offline too? How do you support those journeys so they feel smooth and seamless?
Responsive design is another – when consolidating a codebase, how do you design a UX which works across multiple devices and form factors? Most brands are still grappling with that question, although there are some brilliant examples of great execution out there already.
Do you have any UX pet peeves?
Dark UX patterns such as automatic opt-in to premium services are tiresome and mostly counter-productive. Users aren’t stupid and can usually see right through them – they just engender ill will. Designers should always remember that their users are intelligent, savvy people, and stick to giving them transparency and choice. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of a nudge – just don’t make it a shove.
If you could have any super power what would it be and why?
I’d like the ability to interact with machines through thought alone – I believe it’s called technopathy. Basically I’d like to cut, paste and search just by thinking. It will happen one day – I’m just ready for it now.