My whole life I have been one of these people who knew what they wanted to study and what they wanted to do in the future… .Psychology has always been my area of interest. So, when I got accepted at the University of Crete to study Psychology, I couldn’t be happier. I graduated with first class honours and then continued with my postgraduate studies in the universities of Utrecht and Sheffield. A few years later I would get my license, become a psychologist and also work as a research assistant for several academic projects. My dream has come true and I had a lifetime ahead of me to enjoy it.
And then life happens… eight years later, I would leave Greece to move to London.
Until then, I had never heard the term user experience, I had no idea what a user researcher does and couldn’t even imagine that this could be a career for a psychology graduate.
But when I came to London, I was exploring the endless opportunities this city has to offer and it seems as though fate had intervened… I knew that some of my friends were working as UXers, but I had no idea what that was and thought it was totally irrelevant to me. Until, in the summer of 2017, one of them mentioned that I could become a user researcher, as a joke.
I literally started looking for jobs the day after. I was checking the requirements to see what skills were needed to do this job and it seemed to me that the years I spent as a research assistant would pay off, as I already had most of the required skills. I needed to learn about design and usability and building experiences. So many new things…
So, I created my action plan. I made a list with all the terms, the testing techniques and the skills. And then I started searching for definitions, articles and online sources I could use. A few days later I had my very own textbook, my guide in the world of UX.
Don’t make me think
Around that time, I remembered my old friend had once told me that the book “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug had changed his life. Well, it was about to change mine too. I read it, and then read it again. I spent my summer holidays and any free time I had from this moment on reading. I had found the online courses I would attend while working to strengthen my CV. And I thought I would start applying for jobs six months later. But once again – life had different plans for me.
A couple of months later I decided to give it a go and I applied for a position at Kainos. And here I am today applying my knowledge from psychology and research in this new and exciting environment of digital services. In order for this journey to begin I had to take a few steps back. I started again from the beginning, but I think it was worth it.
What I do as a user researcher defines the way the user interacts with the service provided. I am here to make sure that every service or product we build is user centred. That the user insights we gather and provide help the team focus the user’s experience on user needs and that the user has actually a voice in the meetings where decisions are made. I am the advocate of user needs-based design and I enjoy so much that my work has such a huge impact within the team but also on the user’s experience.
My career so far
For the past 10 months I worked on a Department for Transport project; a digital planning service to make ‘consistent, accurate data on street works available to motorists’. The multidisciplinary team of this project taught me so much and am I now ready for my next adventure to begin, heading to my new project to the Scottish Courts.
If you’re interested in what we do in User Experience, find out more here.