Interview with former ‘Media Psychology’ student Danielle Morris (@DMmediapsych)

By Mar.14, 2014

Adam Galpin caught up with one of our Media Psychology alumni from cohort 1. It had to be over Skype, mind, because Danielle was busy at work in London at the UK’s leading user-experience (UX) consultancy…

Hello Danielle. It’s great to catch up with you now the course is finished, and find out what you’ve been up to.

I’m working as a UX consultant at Bunnyfoot in London. That involves doing UX testing on a variety of projects. I‘m also involved in reporting back to the clients. It’s really varied as Bunnyfoot don’t specialise in particular areas like finance or fashion, so the projects that come through are really different. I sometimes do the reporting and presenting of the test results, and sometimes just the testing. Designing the testing protocol usually involves liaising with the clients, and often with external agencies and design teams. One major difference compared to freelancing is I don’t have to pitch for the work, or recruit participants myself. The deadlines are a lot tighter than academic research!

Congratulations on the post! You’ve done really well to get into employment so soon after submitting your final piece of work. What was your journey from course to job?

Well after we did the HCI and UX module in the spring semester, I saw that more and more things were moving online or going mobile and UX was always going to get more important. It seemed like there were going to be lots of opportunities in UX. Then an internship came up through the course at KeepItUsable and I went for it and got it! That was really useful because I got some hands on user testing experience, building on the UX research and testing skills we gained during the module. I also got more work experience at a children’s market research agency in London, SherbertResearch.

I actually sent my CV to Bunnyfoot in September of last year, but they didn’t offer me anything then and they kept it on file.

In the mean time I positioned myself as a freelance UX researcher and got a couple of jobs by approaching start-ups and pitching the benefits of UX input during the design process. One of them was guerrilla field testing a mobile payment app which involved going up and down on a train all day between London and Birmingham!

January seems to be the best month for recruitment, and I was actually offered three jobs in January but chose Bunnyfoot because I liked their ethos and ethics. They’re committed to lifelong learning and staff development, and provide me with training, for instance to use Axure (software for creating wireframes and clickable prototypes of user interfaces). They also do charity websites. And they offer training for other companies, promoting UX skills, so they’re very open in sharing expertise.

It sounds like you were very pro-active in building up the experience to get the job at Bunnyfoot. In what ways did studying Media Psychology help you?

Well obviously the HCI UX module was useful because it introduced me to the area. We covered all the important topics, and the assessment (user testing a social media platform) gave us some hands on experience with applying the methods. Jenna Condie’s session on discourse analysis was really useful. Also looking at eye-tracking was helpful as it’s really popular in UX research at the moment. And also covering topics like persuasion, attention and engagement, as all aspects of Psychology help understand the user and influence design. Scientific research and analysis skills are useful in any career in any industry, and the “Research Methods” module covered qualitative and quantitative methods that particularly lend themselves to UX.

We had to give several presentations throughout the course which at the time you think, “oh no…” but now I’m really pleased we did them because I have to give frequent presentations of results in this job. Also the group-work. Many projects here involve working in a team or collaborating with external agencies. So the group work activities like the user-testing project and the presentation for the communication campaign were useful in learning how to manage working with other people and relying on them. Also, writing the blog posts was useful to me as we have a blog at Bunnyfoot. In fact I’ve just written my first blog post for them on Gamification (read here).

And an excellent post it is too. Thank you for sparing me the time! We wish you the very best of luck with your blossoming career in UX and keep in touch!

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