Judge’s Q&A 2017: Lara Burns

Judge’s Q&A 2017: Lara Burns

Judge: Lara Burns
Role: Chief Digital and Technology Officer at Age UK

Do you have a favourite app & website in terms of the design and user experience?
It sounds really boring – but I love Tesco’s mobile app. It does what it should do, in a really easy way. As a busy working mother, I get to do my weekly shop in 15 minutes on my way home from work. What’s not to love? 

Which industries, in your opinion, tend to deliver the worst user experiences, and why?
It’s not really a particular industry, but mobile sites in general.  I am constantly amazed at how awful the mobile UX is with some massive corporate retail sites. I name no names, but I do wonder how some sites got past user testing, when buttons don’t even work on a mobile site, or you have to scroll across a screen to see something.

What has been the greatest game changer in the UX and usability sectors over the past 10 years?
It’s got to be mobile.  How do you still deliver great UX across a screen that is more than half the size of desktop? And how do you meet the challenge of the expectation of immediacy and always-on that has come alongside the dominance of mobile?

Having said that, I think the massive game changer coming next is around voice – which for many in UX is a totally different non-visual dimension.

What do you think are the biggest challenges companies face utilising UX?
In any organisation that has been around for more than a few years, it is just that ability to put user needs at the start, middle and end of everything. I have that conversation again and again. Once companies start to put user needs first, and orient themselves, and the way they do business accordingly, then they are truly transforming.

Do you have any UX pet peeves?
Anything really that hasn’t been thought about from the point of view of what I want to do as a user –  rather than information that a company wants to push at me or collect from me which gets them what they want.

If you could have any superpower what would it be and why?
The ability to sleep deeply for 10 hours every day without actually taking 10 hours out of my day – so I can also do all the other stuff I want to do!