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Interview with Jason Lung, Senior Designer at Tesco Bank

Posted 3 months ago by Rory McCormick
Interview with Jason Lung, Senior Designer at Tesco Bank

Jason Lung is a Senior UX Designer at Tesco Bank, the personal finance arm of one of the UK’s main supermarket brands. Starting his career as a web designer, he’s witnessed the shift toward UX and has learned how to be user-centered in the process.

Tell me how you got started in UX?

My career started back in the early 2000s when I finished my degree in multimedia design. My first job was working in a local digital agency at a time as a junior web designer. So I guess my background would be more similar to a lot of people out there, where you started out as a traditional web designer and then made the transition toward UX/UI design.

While skills-wise they’re not too dissimilar, the new skill sets that I acquired along the way are more to do with understanding the user's needs. So when you work as a designer, a lot of the time you're thinking from a business perspective, rather than from a customer's perspective. Even though that is something that we all knew about, you know, this, this is something we really want to get right.

I think the introduction of UX means that we actually have a term, we have a place to actually talk about things that's more related to the customer. So from that perspective, I think that's where everything started to grow at that point.

Being able to try to incorporate a lot of the customers' needs is really crucial in a project. I picked up on this aspect of my role, during my time working for Argos. They started out with a new team in London where they really wanted to introduce managing the customer's needs. So they built the office on top of an existing store so we could design during the day.

We could just pop downstairs to show the demo to real users and ask them quickly while they're waiting in the queue. That was really cool guerrilla testing that we were able to do. We made our office space almost a testing hub. So what that means was that I could invite colleagues as well to come upstairs and go through a bit of a user journey with us too. It was really interesting being able to do all of that.

Did you develop your research skills on the job as a designer or from your studies?

Yeah, I definitely learned on the job and I also had the desire to want to know about more as well. So in that sense, I'm always curious about how people will react to certain things. A lot of the time, we try to see it through the lens of the customer when you're trying to pretend to be that customer. That's a good start, but I think the next step would be to find out what would users say about certain things as well.

So even though we have a bit of idea of how things should work, the best way to find out is actually always to ask the customers, and then they’re always surprising us with different answers, things that we never expected. It’s good to be curious and try to verify with the users.

At Argos, did you plan your testing on the shop floor in advance or did you also do it on the fly?

Yeah, there are different overlaps in terms of the kind of design Sprint's we're working on. So we definitely knew, maybe weeks ahead in terms of certain things that we want to change and upgrade. But during a particular sprint, we might try to do a quick user test. But we'll also try and plan something, which is more of an end-to-end journey. Ultimately, that will require more work and planning to do that, too. There are definitely different levels of testing.

How do you work now at Tesco bank? How's your team structured?

We’re getting to be quite a big team now. It's good to see that we've grown from 10+ to 20+ people during my time working there, so it's only been maybe just over two years now. We have a differing range of skill sets. There are people who are more visual hands-on prototyping people, as well as people who really want to carry out lots of UX research and measuring UX as well. So that means we have quite a mixed bag of people that can all rely on each other as well. Sometimes if you want to find out more about certain things or you need a bit of help from someone in that area it is really easy to get that from the team as well.

You mentioned that you worked in sprints in the past; do you have a particular methodology that you follow currently?

Yes, so the good thing about working in Tesco Bank is that sometimes you do have really big projects that you need to have a clear planning structure of how you want to tackle it. For example, if you do want to deliver something for open banking–which is a huge project–you really want to know the requirements, what is the planning, and what kind of research you really want to focus on before you actually get started.

Compared to things where you just want to do a quick reskin of something and maybe you just want to do quick A/B testing, so I will share with customers to get an idea of it. That's where a lot of the time I find Marvel to be really useful to get really quick feedback from people and definitely, definitely love the prototype parts of it as well.

How have you adapted to remote working over the past 12 months?

It's obviously very different in terms of the way we collaborate on a project level as well. What I found previously, was that you could share something quite easily with other designers or even other product owners. Now you do need to plan things ahead a little bit, but I do like how everyone's adapting to that style as well. So that means you can just have a quick chat with someone over teams, and if you do have a question you can try and grab someone quite quickly.

I think apart from the way we communicate with each other, the way that we work is pretty much the same in terms of how we go about a project.

How do you use Marvel in your workflow?

Sometimes it could be at the beginning of the project. So it really depends on the size of the project and what we're trying to get out of it, in terms of the content of it.

Very early on in the process I use Marvel as a user testing tool to test out really simple concept ideas quite quickly with customers. Then later in the journey, when I want to visualise the experience with different stakeholders that's where the prototyping part comes in quite nicely.

Marvel prototypes are where I can share it quite easily with other people on the team and everyone will have a single point to find out that information. Handoff is also really cool and I love that you know how quickly you can update things as well on the fly. So you don't have to upload things over and over again and that's the beauty of it.

How do you manage the design expectations of other delivery teams?

We mostly have JIRA tickets for a lot of the work. The delivery teams will use that to try to organise the backlog of their items and they adapt different things they want to prioritise. The way we use Marvel is that sometimes I generate a share link and share it with the project teams, and then I also attach the link using the JIRA plugin as well. In the end, everybody gets the same update of the visual journey and they’re able to see the prototype working and understand the UX as well.

How has Marvel’s user testing helped/changed your design process?

I really like the heatmap feature, because it is really good to be able to see how customers actually interact with the prototype or for thinking about how users want to go through that journey. I think being able to see that and collect that data is definitely useful as a designer. It also lets you push forward the idea of the design as well, because there is data to back your designs up. We really wanted it to be less about my opinion about this colour, it’s actually being able to use some sort of data to back it up. So having that to hand is really useful.

What do you look for when reviewing a user test?

There are different times where being able to see how customers reacted within the videos as well. This is because sometimes it's not just looking at the heatmap and trying to make a quick decision. You can use the video recording to understand the facial expressions from the users and how they actually interact with your design as well, that's all valuable. There are a couple of different data points within Marvel that we can actually use to help us with the design.

Where do you see design going in the next few years?

It's always quite a tricky one with design. The most common-sense way I would say is design and hardware both go hand in hand. So it really depends on what kind of hardware we could improve on, and then the software will follow.A few years back, maybe 2010/2011 is where we had all of the big augmented reality stuff come out.

You know, IKEA was introducing planners, and Samsung introduced the TV planner where you can measure the TV at home and then you can just see that TV in front of you. That’s a really cool thing, but not a lot of us are using it or making the most of it apart from the Google AR stuff. Hardware can enable what the design can achieve, but a lot of the time it’s also depending on the consumer's needs as well in terms of what they really want to use today. I think that's what is really important to us.

Nowadays design is definitely less about making things prettier, but actually making sure that it meets the user's needs. So I think the future of design will be a lot more of that and how we can utilise design and hardware to make things as simple as possible.

The user's needs will always drive the market and if we do have that product at that right moment, I think that's where you see things will start to get really used by consumers. So design is always the same as well: There's no good or bad design, but there's design that actually works for people. So if people are preferring to use it in certain ways, because it's easier for them, then that becomes a good design.

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