Thomas Rougier is Cosmo Tech‘s UX Manager. He answered our questions from the Cosmo Tech office in Lyon, France.
What is your role at Cosmo Tech and what does a typical day look like?
I am the User Experience (UX) Manager and my primary focus is on delivering the very best user experience for clients. Every day I interact with clients, with users, and with owners of our products to better understand their needs and then to design a user interface that fits these needs and delivers the sort of experience they want. This is very much a process, a journey rather than a destination. There is constant iteration, constant returning to users with tweaks and updates, and constant interactions with the product owners to propose UX and interface changes that will move us closer to the perfect user experience.
Managing this process means keeping up with developments in user interface and UX outside of Cosmo Tech, reading articles and learning more about design and UX, and connecting with others in the UX community to ensure Cosmo Tech’s processes are in line with best practices. As the manager of the UX team, I also keep up with the the work of the wider UX team, offer them advice and guidance, and help out where I can.
How important is design and user experience for a technology company?
Design and the user experience are some of the true differentiators for a technology company. While it is not the case with Cosmo Tech, for a lot of technology companies the product or service is not significantly different from that offered by other companies. The way that product or service is designed, though, and the way the user interacts with the product or service? That’s what makes it different and that is what can make it really valuable to users, and the company attractive to investors.
At Cosmo Tech our focus on design and user experience begins early in the development of our applications. This has some great payoffs for the company as we save money by making good choices early in the development process instead of later when end-users get their hands on an application for the first time. But there’s also a payoff and benefit for users, too, as the early focus on user experience means we are getting feedback from potential end users early in the development cycle. It helps our development team meet the expectations of the client and makes for a smoother user experience when the product is eventually released. In other words, by making a great user experience one of our goals, we end up with a better product that better meets the demands of our clients.
What advice would you have for someone who wanted to join UX team at a technology company?
First, be disruptive. The demand for good UX and good design exists because there is so much bad UX and bad design. If you want to work on a UX team you’ve got to be prepared to overthrow bad design and bad UX and propose something better – almost by definition, you’ve got to be prepared to disrupt that status quo.
Second, be curious about technology and also about the fields where the technology you are working on will be used. A great user experience is (or should be) the goal of every technology company so, when researching UX trends, you need to be curious about how technology companies are implementing their UX. Be prepared to explore trends, compare solutions, and read widely.
Third, be prepared to serve other teams. The user experience is important but you only need a user experience when you have a product that has users. The UX team needs to be prepared to work with and serve the other teams and, in doing so, help them to build a better product, offer better service, and help them deliver the outcomes that clients are looking for. Someone looking to break into UX in a technology company needs to be ready to fulfil this service role.