My first year at SimpleUsability
Here, she recalls her first year in the UX Practitioner role. For anyone considering a career in behavioural research, we hope that this gives some insight into what’s involved and specifically what it’s like to work at SimpleUsability.
“I first heard about the User Experience Practitioner vacancy at SimpleUsability when I was busy working on the last pieces of assignments during my final year at university. At that point I hadn’t yet started applying for any graduate jobs, but felt that my time to find a suitable job was running out. I didn’t want an ordinary job; I wanted something different, something that I would enjoy doing every day of my post-graduate life. And when I stumbled upon this job, I knew. I knew that was the one. I knew that I needed to get it, whatever it took me.
I came from a psychology background, and I was always fascinated by anything where psychology could be applied. I completed the Psychology of Design module during my time at the University of Leeds and I loved it. The idea of using psychological principles to create better, more user-friendly products absorbed me. I had never even thought that such a job was available for graduates, never mind at a behavioural research consultancy using state of art eye-tracking methodology. So, of course I had to get it!
Since joining SimpleUsability in May 2013 I have never regretted that, and I still get extremely excited when a new project comes in. It’s a great place to work, and I don’t just mean our new incredible offices that we moved into just before Christmas. It’s the people that I work with, and the relaxing, friendly atmosphere. Even though I had to quickly get up to speed with the unique user testing methodology we use here, the team was always there to offer support with anything that I needed.
Teamwork is highly valued at SimpleUsability, perhaps not surprisingly, as it’s an integral part of pretty much everything that we do here. It’s also great to see our team grow continuously, because it’s an opportunity to meet even more like-minded people, who are passionate about user experience and research.
During this last year with the company, I have learnt a lot about user experience, user-centred design, usability testing, as well as eye tracking and how it could be used in the research. As a person who really enjoys conducting research and analysing data, I love the approach that SimpleUsability takes when working on any project. There is a lot of attention paid to every detail of the research, which is made evident through our bespoke in-house recruitment, carefully chosen methodology, high quality preparation for each project and superb training of the practitioners.
Take, for example, our post-task retrospective recall methodology that we use for our eye-tracking studies. Practitioners use carefully shaped tasks to let users do what they normally do on the websites while recording their eye gaze patterns. This allows us to observe real, non-interrupted behaviours that people naturally exhibit. The retrospective recall then ensures that practitioners ask only relevant questions when guiding users through the recording of their gaze replay. The wording of tasks and questions is designed to prevent leading users, so that their performance and answers are not biased by anything that the practitioner says. This approach to conducting the testing and taking into account all those little things resonates with me well, as this is exactly how I imagine carrying out scientific research which yields credible results. And SimpleUsability doesn’t just stop at this; there is a lot of care involved in the every aspect of the project’s timeline.
Although we do serious work as a consultancy, we are also always up for some fun! The time at SimpleUsability flies very fast, and this is because we try to make the most of it. Christmas party karaoke and a 10K charity run are some of those great moments that will be hard to forget, as well as collective drawing on the massive blackboards that we have in the new office corridor and our grand office move itself (several days of carrying stuff across the road!) followed by the fizz’n’gin party for our clients.
When you also know that your work benefits a lot of other people as they come to use websites, apps or advertising that you have helped to improve, it does make your day at work feel even better.
So, SimpleUsability has definitely changed the way I see work. It is that perfect job I was looking for to start my graduate career, allowing me to learn loads of new things whilst still using my Psychology degree knowledge and having fun on a day to day basis.”