Consultant Profile: Patch McCabe
As a continuation of the series where we talk to our UX experts, we spoke to a long-time UX Connections team member, and asked everything you’d need to know about their UX journey.
Okay, let’s start off with the basics – where did your interest in UX start, and how did you get to where you are today?
I’ve been aware of UX for a long time, mainly as a result of my studies. It was really while working in the automotive industry that UX became more prominent for me. At the time, I was working on design and vehicle interiors and the vast majority of the customer feedback and complaints about the vehicles were all related to the in-car interfaces. Hence, I started to take much more of an interest in how they work, and the issues consumers were facing. It was something I found really interesting, and the deeper I dug the clearer it became to me that it was an industry I really wanted to transition into.
What was the most challenging part of your first project for UX Connections? What did you learn from this experience that has helped you improve your work?
My first project was for an assets management firm, and it was a really enjoyable project to work on, but I’d say the hardest part about it was almost completely down to the timing. As it was fairly early on during the pandemic, the remote working systems were not as well established as they are now. That meant there wasn’t as much communication with the client as I was used to. I’m definitely someone who prefers to work collaboratively with clients and to keep them involved throughout the process, so that they always feel in control of the project. The shift was definitely an interesting challenge for me so early on during my time at the company, and it’s something that’s definitely stood me in good stead in projects since.
What would you say is your expertise within UX and UI?
In terms of my personal expertise, I’d say it leans more towards the wireframing and prototyping side of things. I’m pretty obsessive about Figma and all of its amazing features. Having said that however, I’m from an Ergonomics background, and empathy has always been such a key factor in my work, and a skill that I’ve been able to build over the years. This is particularly helpful working in UX now, as it allows me to quickly and accurately understand users’ wants and needs, in order to be able to come up with the most suitable solutions for them.
What industries have you worked in so far?
I’ve been very lucky in the sense that I’ve been able to work across lots of different industries while at UX Connections. I’d say the one that I’ve probably worked the most in during my time at the company is Events and Experiential Marketing. I’ve also worked on loads of exciting projects across Automotive, Fintech, Sports Betting, and most recently the Metaverse.
What has been your favourite project so far?
My favourite project so far has been the design of a neobank app for Ukrainian refugees. The product was for a global remittance company, and the goal was to make a mobile banking app that was simple, accessible and approachable for people fleeing Ukraine during the war. The main USP for the app was the ability to open a basic account without a permanent address or formal ID. It would mean the users were able to access, save and send funds back to their families in Ukraine. It was a really interesting project, not only because of the global climate at the time, but also because the brief was to really strip back the complexity, and create a design that was immediately usable for all users. I also learned a great deal about the differences in how Ukrainians view online banking, and it was really interesting for me to approach the design from a completely different angle to how I might otherwise have done.
How do you perfect your ‘design thinking’?
In terms of perfecting my design thinking, I try to apply a number of laws and rules to all of my projects. Whether that be Nielsen’s heuristics, or Schneiderman’s golden rules. Having said that however, I do see it as a constantly evolving process, where I try to reach as much as I can about current trends and methodologies. There are a few sources that tend to focus more on the technical aspect of UX design that I find particularly useful. My favourites probably being UX Collective and Nielsen Norman Group. The latter actually has a really good podcast that I recently started listening to, which I would highly recommend.
What’s the best thing about working at UX Connections?
My favourite aspect about working at UX Connections is probably the variety of the work. Due to the nature of the job, it means that everyday is completely different, and I’m constantly faced with new and exciting challenges. It also means that I get to work with, and learn from, a huge range of talented people in a variety of different job roles.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I find inspiration for my work from a huge variety of different sources. I guess the obvious answer is simply just from the apps and websites I come across and use on a daily basis. I think that’s very important in our job role, to be constantly analysing and assessing current UX patterns, to ensure that our designs are not only innovative, but also consistent with consumer expectations. On top of that, I’d say, more specifically, there’s a number of websites that I regularly visit if I’m looking for inspiration for a specific aspect of a design. These are Dribble, Behance and Pinterest.
One thing you’d improve the UX of, if you could?
Something I’d love to improve the UX of, is the refund process for delayed or cancelled flights. Recently, I’ve unfortunately been on the receiving end of a few flight delays and cancellations, and I found the process of getting a refund to be incredibly frustrating, no matter who the provider is. In reality, this should be a very straightforward and rewarding task, with just a few simple steps needed to complete it. I understand that it’s likely these companies employ dark UX patterns to slow down the process and decrease the likelihood of the user actually claiming their refund, but in my opinion, this leaves users with negative brand perception and is only likely to lead to fewer customers rebooking through them in the future.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to Patch for taking the time to talk to us about his time as a UX consultant, as well as those who have taken the time to read this – feel free to leave us any questions!
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