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The banking jobs: UX designer
Two letters: "U" for "user" and "X" for "experience". UX designers build the best possible digital experience for website, software or mobile application users. Though their job was still unheard of 15 years ago, UX designers are now an essential talent for every user-oriented digital company. Joao Samora, UI and UX designer at BNP Paribas, breaks down all the elements that make interface ergonomics a true form of art.
UX design is a relatively new field. How do you become a UX designer?
I have a background in design and visual communication. In theory, it lends itself more to the UI (user interface) side of my job, which focuses on how interfaces look. UX design has a more technical and psychological side: it's all about putting yourself in the user's shoes and anticipating their reactions in order to imagine the best possible digital experience. I worked for almost 10 years for Asus as a digital designer before joining BNP Paribas. That's where I acquired most of my technical skills, which are inseparable from my job. I started tackling UX issues for an application project. Right away, I was very curious to understand the mentality of users: how and why they use a particular tool, and what obstacles they face.
What exactly does this job entail, particularly at a bank?
Nowadays, UX design has become a strategic expertise for companies. A strong user experience drives customers and consumers to choose a particular brand and then remain loyal to it. From an industry point of view, it also allows us to stand out from the competition. The BNP Paribas Group is undergoing a profound digital transformation. I am currently working on two main projects: a credit application form for existing customers and an application for Cetelem. The aim is to offer new functionalities, test them, correct bugs, make the digital experience more fluid, monitor analytics – all to better engage the user.
Has it led to strong results?
Since the beginning of our UX design work on the customer form (...), the conversion rate has increased from 35% to 70%
Yes, even better than expected. Since the beginning of our UX design work on the customer form mentioned above, the conversion rate has increased from 35% to 70%. This is an efficiency that has doubled after a few weeks spent optimizing the user experience. The same goes for our objective of increasing digital signatures. Today, nearly 95% of contracts are signed digitally. BNP Paribas is also well known within its sector for its UX design services.
Are there any essential skills for succeeding in UX design?
The reality is that technical skills can be learned on the job, with each successive project. In my opinion, the most important thing is to have a good sense of psychology, so that you can put yourself in the users' shoes. You also need an open and constructive mindset and to be ready to work across departments, because designing an efficient interface means talking with a broad range of stakeholders: communications, product managers and product owners, IT of course, but also the company's senior managers and strategists. You have to make sure that these professions, IT and business alike, understand each other. This organizational aspect is also part of my job.Finally, you need to have a knack for education and transferring skills: you have to know how to imagine, communicate and materialize ideas that concern technical as well as business staff.
I always start by drawing quick sketches to provide a concrete illustration of how I see things. Then we can start our discussions, in order to evaluate what can be done, why (in terms of business) and how (in terms of technology).
Photos : ©Prostock-studio - ©jcoudriet
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