I've waited a long time for this moment, an interview with Ran Liron, one of the leading UX personas in Israel. Ran holds the job UX Lead at Nielsen.
Let's start first with Coronavirus. How do you and your family get along these days?
I started a new job eight days ago at "Nielsen," my role is called UX-Lead. We have here 5 UX departments; I am going to create a new department that will be responsible for UX infrastructure. I haven't yet started to recruit the team, but that will happen soon. The Coronavirus disrupted our plans. I'm surrounded by good people who help me get into the job smoothly. Hangouts software is working extra hours these days :)
Why does the company need 5 UX departments?
The company has acquired several companies along the way, and each company has its product, with its needs, and they found it necessary that every company within Nielsen will have a separate UX unit. The company knows and understands the importance of the role of UX per unit.
Why did you choose "Nielsen"? What's the big challenge you found there?
I have the opportunity to be very significant in such a large company. This organization has several products. In the interview stage, I found a lot of talented people who can assist me achieve new goals.
You became an authority in the UX field in Israel; how do you recommend others to achieve this goal?
I have been working in the user experience fields for 23 years, I started teaching 11 years ago at John Bryce, and over the years, I joined Netcraft as one of the team members. I also started lecturing in meetups about UX and subjects which are close to my heart. These events have positioned me as an expert in these fields.
So, bottom line, what you did was you got out of your comfort zone and you've accumulated work experience to validate your words?
True, you mostly need experience and a way to empower others and get them to learn accurate content; you don't need to have 20 years of experience to start teaching or lecturing. Still, you must run 3-4 years at a high-tech company or design studio to have experience with clients, with several types of projects, so that your content will be validated.
Practically, how did you become an authority?
The truth is that it is a compound of several things; the first thing I did is to write a blog; you'd be surprised how esteemed a blog makes you look. Secondly, I was looking where to teach. It made me look very famous.
How do you recommend to startups and companies to implement UX processes and also to understand the importance of UX to their products, sites, and apps?
It depends on the organization. I think today people understand that UX is essential; awareness of this word exists. The challenge today is to get the key players to invest resources on this thing.
Let's take a practical example, such as a startup that just raised its first fundraising, it has X amount of money - they should choose how to divide the funds between marketing, operations, sales, and UX - how do you see it?
Very dependent on the product. The more intensive the interface with the user, then the UX here is a very integral part and requires investment.
One of the things that startups want to create at the beginning of the company is value, and UX does it - whether it is with new customers who meet the product or with investors who are supposed to spend their money on the product.
Another thing, UX, in my opinion, is to make things work the way your users want them to work, don't spend a lot of time and money on technology if you don't know for sure that your product will meet your users' wants. Creating an interface takes less time and money than the development process. UX gives you a great understanding of users.
Who should be the best friend of the UX designer?
Look, UX is like the product role in a company. UX meaning is to define the product, and only then to design the UI. In my opinion, UX and Product units should combine hands and run together. The UX designer must know the business goals and the roadmap of the company. Without knowing that - there is no chance the product will meet the goals of the company are.
How do you see 2020 continuing in the context of UX and Coronavirus?
I don't know where we are going, but digital products are here to stay. I think UX designers have nothing to fear from. Salaries of UX designers have risen insanely as compared to 10 years ago.
This is an indication that organizations increasingly understand that it is essential to invest in people who know UX.
Okay, the Coronavirus period is behind us, where does UX go next?
The UX in my eyes 2020 and 2021 is heading towards people who specialize in specific niches, whether it is UX designers who specialize in eCommerce sites, who specialize in the cyber world, who specialize in UX writing, who specialize in research and more …
Ido: Ran, thank you so much for your time and the great value you brought here!
Ran: Gladly, it was really fun chatting with you.