Work inspiration with Jesmond Allen

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Jesmond Allen

User Experience Director at CXPartners in Bristol

My name is Jesmond Allen and I’m a User Experience Director at cxpartners in Bristol in the UK. This means that I run projects with interesting clients like TUI Travel, Nokia and the British Standards Institution to create compelling, usable, successful interfaces. I ran the Charles Tyrwhitt project that won Redesign Of The Year at the 2011 National eCommerce Awards in London.

I’ve been designing user interfaces for longer than I care to remember (like since the mid-90s), and in 2012 co-authored the book "Smashing UX Design: foundations for designing online user experiences".

Hardware

I’ve been a Mac user since 1995, when I was first shown Photoshop and became addicted. I now have a 13" MacBook Pro, plus an external monitor - I like my screen real estate. The 13” is my preferred compromise between screen size and portability.

I also do a lot of my best work on Post-its and whiteboards.

Software

It’s my job to get the best out of my design teams, and that rarely means I’m heads-down wireframing any more. However, if I do wireframe (or otherwise create a diagram), Omnigraffle is my software of choice.

The tools I mainly use now are: Apple’s Mail app, Numbers for devising proposals, Keynote for presentations, Notational Velocity for note taking, and Basecamp for sharing and communicating with clients.

Dream setup

Pretty much what I have now, except with an enormous external Apple monitor. And some renewed need to tinker in Photoshop occasionally.

Inspiration

This is going to sound cheesy, but the answer really is the people who will use the products and services we design. User research is the single best way of generating ideas and testing them. You always learn something you weren’t expecting, however many iterations you’ve already been through.

Working in an agency, where a new project or new client comes along every few months, you can never get complacent. Every new project I get, I need to learn a new business model and figure out how to portray it most effectively to their customers. So there’s never a dull moment, and I get new inspiration all of the time.