Judge’s Q&A: Steve ‘Buzz’ Pearce from Skyscanner

Judge’s Q&A: Steve ‘Buzz’ Pearce from Skyscanner

Executive Design Leader at Skyscanner, Steve ‘Buzz’ Pearce, takes our judge’s Q&A. Steve has worked on some of the most loved brands on the planet including Skype, BBC, Lonely Planet, Lego, Alexander McQueen, and Jamie Oliver.

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

I use YouTube in a prolific way! Most recently I’ve discovered What3words is very handy for precise location sharing.

Which industries, in your opinion, tend to deliver the worst user experiences, and why?

Insurance, energy, mortgages, estate agents/real-estate, because there’s so much regulation and because it’s an infrequent usage model, the experience becomes about first time single use. It’s time for these industries to become fully fledged ‘-as-service’ offerings. I was going to say health care, but I’m not convinced that should be ported to a digital only experience where devices can easily get in the way of fundamentally about intimate care for your fellow human being.

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

The mobile OS’s, mobile payments and mobile authentication have changed everything, literally for the positives – and negatives! On a more subtle level, the speed of access is possibly an over looked but massive shift in expectations.

What do you think are the biggest challenges companies face when it comes to user experience?

Using engineering processes as a proxy for success, e.g. “we followed the process so this should have been successful”. We don’t push enough against processes that don’t utilise design skills to full advantage, but this is changing in companies that are more mature in design literacy and tooling.

Do you have any UX-pet peeves?

Yes! Dark patterns in general are everywhere and should be outlawed. There are 2 at the moment that I hate. 1. cookie consent modals, especially on mobile web, and 2. pressure messaging (that is most likely a lie) to get you to purchase “hurry only 2 rooms left”, the issue is that a business gets addicted to this because conversion will go up, people are too trusting, however, I see the beginnings of people rejecting these companies because they’re not concentrating on what builds trust in the long term.

And finally, if you could have any superpower what would it be – and why?

To give beautiful, peaceful, restorative sleep to myself and anyone I know (and only need 4 hours of it!) – plus I want to be able read peoples minds. I spend most of my life trying to understand people and why they do what they do.


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