How Aveni Detect software comes to life is down to the work of our designers. Our growing team is dedicated to continuously improving the usability, look and feel of our software. This week, we introduce you to our incredibly talented user experience designer, Chloe Poulter!
We find out about where she was before joining the startup world as well as this, she shares her love for design and creativity!
Hey Chloe, welcome to Aveni! How’s it going and what have you been up to since you joined?
Thanks Hayfa! I’m so pleased to be here!
I’ve now been at Aveni for 5 weeks and we’ve done a LOT in that time. The highlights have been our two UI projects (one completed in my first week!) and meeting our users. We’re collecting baseline experience quality measurements that we’ll benchmark against in future user-tests.
I’m also enjoying setting up our design operations (aka DesignOps) so that we can scale our design group. So far, we have design processes documented, backlogs set up, and principles defined. Next we’ll assess the design system and introduce the team to their first Design Sprint!
Before we get started, tell us, what does a user experience designer do?
There are a million great definitions depending on the designer you talk to. At the core, we draw ideas and plan out screens for the development team to build. I think strategic conceptual work actually has the most impact on the business. And of course, we couldn’t do either if we didn’t dedicate time to understand our users’ needs. There’s a lot more to an “experience” than the screen that someone sees!
My Design Thinking approach makes sure we build the right thing, rather than the obvious thing. I refer to it as “the science of good ideas”.
Aveni is also a great place to blend between Product Design and a more consulting/bespoke model. Every customer we work with has a huge impact on the product that Aveni will mature into. We learn each new customers’ organisational model and business process and gain insights. In making sure that Aveni works for them, we get a step closer to making Aveni work for everyone.
What brought you into the world of design?
What a question! My year 10 D&T teacher had studied Product Design and showed us all sorts of cool stuff he’d designed. He made the design of even something like an extension lead exciting. I thought that it was all pretty awesome so I copied him and studied Product Design at Loughborough University. The course focused on designing consumer electronics, which was fun. But I got hooked when we studied Design Thinking for fostering innovation. Design Thinking is more mature in software design than 3D product design – so I worked at IBM for a while, and now Aveni!
Here’s some Design Thinking you can do at home:
Here’s a fun activity that introduces design thinking, which you can do at home. Grab a pen and a piece of paper, and in 30 seconds, design me a telephone.
I bet you came up with a cool phone!
Now, take another 30 seconds, and design me a way to keep in touch with distant friends.
I bet you designed something WAY more exciting than a phone. Maybe something innovative, that does the job better than a telephone would? Or something that works for somebody who couldn’t use a telephone?
This is Design Thinking. In-depth understanding of a user problem generates much better solutions than the obvious.
What are your current roles and responsibilities within the team?
First, I work with our users (and potential users) to understand what they do with Aveni. It’s not just what they say or ask for – it’s about figuring out what they need! Then I share what I’ve learnt and run team activities to create new product ideas as drawings on post-it notes. From there, I iterate on our drawings and post-it notes until they make enough sense to test with our users. We adapt the designs based on their feedback, and I work closely with the development team to build it.
I also love to get involved in the customer pitching process. I help us accurately identify customers’ needs so we can sell the right blend of Aveni Detect for them. That one’s a real rush of adrenaline!
What does collaboration look like between teams at Aveni?
While Aveni is scaling up and developing a more mature structure, we’ve not lost any agility. Half of the time, I sit in the development team’s sprints and consult on changes that might affect the user. The rest of the time, I work with the strategy team – Product Management, Business Analysts, Jamie & Joseph and more… They’ve adapted so well to the Design Thinking workshops that I facilitate. Next, I’ll teach them all Design Thinking so they can facilitate workshops for others too!
What do you enjoy doing outside of work and where else do you find inspiration?
Right now I’m training for a walking marathon in September in aid of the Alzheimer’s society. (shameless plug for my JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/trek26stonehenge202126miles2021-chloepoulter ). When I’m not walking, I love to cook to make up for all the calories burned, and look after my cat Pablo who has just turned 1!
Inspiration seems to come to me in the form of people rather than anything else. There are some amazing networks for designers around. Triangles-london, The Design Kids and Leaders of Awesomeness are great examples. I enjoy learning about design & research methods as much as what the output they created is.
To learn more about our wonderful team, check out our team page!