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My career story: James Sharpe, UX manager

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James Sharpe is DLG Digital's user experience manager. Since he joined five years ago, there's hardly been a big project he hasn't been a crucial part of.

James is a presentation professional (Keynote, not PowerPoint), so it's best if we let him tell his story:

"I started off as a graphic designer, way before the role was split into specialties like digital or print. Back then it was assumed that you could design across all platforms and media.

After some time in e-commerce I joined DLG as a digital designer, but naturally found myself focusing more and more on user experience. Eventually, it made sense to officially make that my role, so now I'm user experience manager.

I’ve found everyone very supportive in helping me take my next steps. The personal development process is great for helping people progress in their career, and the organisation as a whole is very good at looking after staff, offering lots of incentives and discounts. The working hours are ideal, too - 9-5 is great for a work/family balance.

I’d describe my job as being broken up into two parts. The first is the traditional side of user experience, so analysing user journeys, doing user testing, creating wireframes for best practice solutions and basically looking at everything from a customer’s point of view.

The second part is all about using and facilitating design thinking workshops to resolve both customer and business problems by looking from the top down, and using rapid prototyping to bring concepts to life.

I love the design thinking side of my job, and really enjoy running workshops with people. The best thing for me is when you put someone in a customer’s shoes and they have a lightbulb moment when they realise what a customer is going to experience. We can become so focused on how things are going to work from a technology perspective, that it’s good to bring it to life for people from a user’s point of view.

I like that I get to think about our customers first and foremost.

What we do is much more complex than regular e-commerce. People buy insurance products out of necessity rather than desire – for example, you need to have car insurance if you're going to drive.

There’s also a huge amount of pre-work for a user to do before they get to a premium page. They do their own research before deciding on a brand, and then have to go through some quite lengthy forms, so making that journey painless and intuitive is very, very hard.

On top of that, there are lots of people to please. Every stakeholder has objectives that need to be met, so it’s a case of piecing those objectives together while delivering the best possible experience for our users.

I like that I get to think about our customers first and foremost - that’s my job."

Check out more career stories:

My career story: Becci Davis, UX researcher

My career story: Chloe French, propositions manager

My career story: Hamzah Chaudary, UI technical lead