Meet Creative Paul Boag, User Experience Consultant

We recently caught up with User Experience guru Paul Boag at the London leg of the Adobe Creative Meet Up which featured inspirational talks from some of the most creative minds in the industry.

Read on as he shares his top five tips for success in the design world…

Adobe: What are the three ingredients to creating a great user experience?

Paul: I’m sure that there are a lot more than three but here are my key ingredients to creating a great user experience.

  1. Stop assuming

Things can feel so obvious when we are designing. We think we know the right solution. We think we understand the user’s needs. But we don’t. You have to talk to users. You have to learn the truth and get them using your interface. Only then will you know if your assumptions are correct.

  1. User experience is not just about the user interface

Many things impact the user experience. Things like site performance or what happens when they switch devices half way through a transaction. User experience crosses channels, disciplines and devices. We need to follow the experience beyond the nice interface we have designed.

  1. User experience is collaborative

I don’t like the term user experience designer. It implies only one person shapes the user experience. This is not true. In truth designers, developers and content people all shape the experience together, from senior management in the boardroom to the customer service staff manning the phones.

Adobe: Can you share any examples of brands that do this really well?

Paul: I would say Disney get user experience in its broadest sense. Their experience starts from the moment you look up a park online to the day you visit. They have designed everything to be magical from the hotel to the concession stands.

Another good example is Uber. They took an experience and identified the pain points. The challenges of hailing a cab, having the right money, working out the tip. They sort out every rough edge in the experience and smoothed them away. The result is a seamless experience that is so good the competition consider it unfair!

Adobe: What do you see happening in web design over the next few years?

Paul: Web design is going to become a small part of a bigger eco system. Websites will always have their place. But digital design will become much broader. It won’t just encompass your website. It will encompass mobile and other sites too. Siri is just as likely to read your content or Google to input into their own site. That combined with a new generation of smart devices will change what it means to be a designer in the digital space.

Paul Boag

Adobe: How can young creatives take advantage of the advancements in web design as they look to enter the industry?

Paul: The longer you do something, the more stuck in your ways you become. This gives the young an advantage. Don’t listen to those who tell you it cannot be done or that isn’t how things work. Push the boundaries. Cross divides and relentlessly experiment. You will get it wrong a lot but that is okay. The cost of failure in digital is low.

Adobe: What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?

Paul: The best piece of advice I have ever received came from Winston Churchill over 60 years ago. He once said “success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” That has been a huge comfort to me in my career and an inspiration too.

Watch Paul’s talk at the London leg of the Creative Meet Up on our Adobe UK YouTube channel.

Why not check out our interview with Radim Malinic from Brand Nu?

About Paul

Paul Boag is Digital Consultant, Trainer, Speaker, Writer, Mentor and User Experience specialist. He helps not-for-profit companies such as the European Commission, UCAS and Doctors Without Borders adapt to the digital world by refocusing them on user experience and engaging with a new digitally savvy audience.