Meet Zesty: Ian Jones, Head of UX

By Zesty

Ian Jones is our head of UX. His role is to ensure we understand your customers, and to create and test the structure and layout of your website and the web pages within it to ensure the best, most efficient user experience for those visiting your site.

Our UX team, led by Ian, ensures that your customer’s journey towards performing a particular task – usually handing over their hard-earned cash – is established and perfected before we even start work on design and development.

Ian’s role involves talking to clients to gather information about their requirements, then conducting independent research to make sure those requirements tally with the expectations of end users. He runs workshops with clients at which he establishes what the website needs to achieve. This is accomplished by brainstorming with staff and stakeholders, then jointly making assumptions about what customers are expected to want from the website. Those assumptions are validated by talking to users, carrying out focus group tests and conducting research.

Ian explains: “We use our UX research to create users personas and a customer journey that each persona would take around the website in order to achieve a core task. It’s the journey that they expect in order to fulfil a task, with a call-to-action at the end.”

Wireframes

Those journeys are built into wireframes, or low-fidelity prototypes, by Ian and his team. These prototypes have no web design consideration at all – they solely set out the routes customers will take around the website in a monochrome map of boxes and arrows. Ian compares the role of the wireframes to an architect’s plans at the start of a building project. Once those journeys have been tested and validated, the fledgling website is passed on to our design team who can start to bring the prototypes to life.

Ian is no stranger to the next stage of the process. Originally a designer by trade, he began focusing solely on user experience as the internet gradually matured and our industry became more specialised.

He explains: “My world is filled with grey boxes and standard fonts. I rarely do any visual design now, but I used to. Around six years ago, UX reared its ugly head and we started talking to clients about users and tasks before any work was done.”

UX is the rock

Ian has effectively worked for us for two decades. His employment pre-dates Zesty’s existence, but since 1999 he has worked for the companies that ultimately became our business.

Of the start of his career, he says: “UX didn’t exist in those days. It was all about getting a website, because that was the new thing to do. A designer made things pretty first and foremost, and function only came later. You would then attempt to beat a website into shape to make the design do what it needed to do.

“The way we work now is infinitely better for us, our clients and their customers. The end user comes first in our considerations, which means the website performs more effectively for our clients.

“And because we are planning and finalising specific customer journeys before we start any design work, we are able to save time and money on the project. By getting the structure and wireframe signed off before any design work is done, everybody wins.

“Our clients get the website they want more quickly, our designers can design to a researched and approved journey rather than relying on guesswork, and our clients’ customers benefit from a streamlined and intuitive experience.

“UX is the rock that everything else is built on.”