User experience is a slightly cold phrase to describe a very human interaction. It could be a simple as a door that doesn’t open the way you expect, the feel and way you use an iPhone, the way in which you use a piece of software on a computer or how you interact with a website.

I’ve spent more than 15 years working in user experience but not from a focused, trained to do this now do this as a job direction. No, my route to working in user experience came from making or ‘designing’ things that people used – record stores, magazines, newsletters, websites, online music stores and software to name a few.

It wasn’t even the heart of what I did day to day but always formed an important part of each role. Listening to the customer/user/client seemed one of the best ways to build a better product and so sell more product etc. As my career has progressed, without really knowing it, I’ve alway managed to ensure the next role had a little more UX involved in it. That includes some major sidesteps in career path from retail to journalism, journalism to digital media, digital media to ux.

Finally now, user experience is all I do for work. I’ve dropped salary, changed titled, made all the steps that make a CV a horror show to explain to potential new employers! However, the point is that I’ve arrived at a job and career that didn’t really exist as a recognised job even 10 years ago. So I guess I was just waiting for the path to exist before I took it.

The best part is that all of that work experience to date only adds to and assists what I do for work. I’ve a much broader understanding of many different types of business, founded often on having actually worked in them. I sometime wish I’d followed the educational path to this point but I simply didn’t know that this is what I wanted to do then.

So, from the UK, via the US, you can now find me in New Zealand as a user experience designer. And the best part is that the route forward is filled with even more opportunity as user experience becomes more valued and better understood.

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