Judge’s Q&A: Annmarie Kiddle

Judge’s Q&A: Annmarie Kiddle

Annmarie Kiddle, Head of UX at the Financial Times, is answering our judges’ Q&A next…

Do you have a favourite app or website, in terms of the design and user experience?

There are a great many digital experiences that both satisfy our practical, psychological and emotional needs while delivering on brand promise. I’m particularly impressed by the explosion of experience design within the health, self-help and mental health space, and content creation and news publishing have raised their game in the last 3 years.

Favourite for me are user experiences that somehow become essential because they are so human… I currently couldn’t live without the banking app from Monzo. As well as its ground-up, modern approach to banking, user need is clearly driving product development. In addition to all the cool app features, they’ve also figured out a simple way to deposit cheques (who writes cheques anymore? My mother, that’s who!), and not only did Monzo make this super easy, they gave me peace of mind with an in-app message to say it had arrived. Simple and human.

Which industries, in your opinion, tend to deliver the worst user experiences, and why do you think that is?

GDS aside, public services are typically terrible for many reasons, mainly because underlying systems and business units, integral to seamless customer experience, aren’t aligned or even aware of each other. I dare you to submit a tax return without wanting to kill someone; it’s frustrating, unreliable and confusing. Why is my data not centralised? It’s infuriating. Any industry where the legacy technology and internal politics of the company impact the user experience delivers the worst experience.

What’s been the greatest game-changer in the UX and usability sectors over the past 10 years?

Businesses embracing customer-centric design thinking methodologies and taking a customer-first approach. Working with analytics and data teams to understand patterns in onsite behaviour on a mass scale which might dictate a different experience is needed for different audiences.

What do you think are the biggest challenges companies face utilising UX?

Breaking down business silos through customer-centric thinking and collaborative design. Often, business units and different departments have conflicting goals and approach user experience as a way of meeting their own business needs – at the cost of a joined-up approach. We know customers see the brand (the business) as one experience – the one they’re having with it – and the challenge for business units is to deliver on their goals with this holistic, customer-centric view in mind.

Do you have any UX-pet peeves?

When anyone uses the blanket term ‘surprise and delight’ to describe the pinnacle of any user experience success… I’m not sure I want to be surprised or delighted when I’m using a mental health app, for example. Making an experience meaningful to a customer is a far better measure of success.  Plus, people who think UX is just about mapping ‘journeys’ or making something ‘usable’ and not a creative approach to problem-solving.

If you could have any super power what would it be, and why?

Time travel without a doubt! Who wouldn’t want to go into the future, or back to the past, even if just for a moment?