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My (Em)Path to UX Design Pt.1

October 29, 2019

For over 20 years, I worked at large ad agencies creating campaigns for USAA, Chevy, Coke and McDonald’s. Five years ago, I never considered a career in UX. Yet, it feels like my experience as a creative supervisor has led to this.


I've had some great opportunities to share some UX knowledge at some events. Working for an insurance brand, empathy is key to connecting to our customers, but it's applicable to any brand. Here are some highlights from my talk, "Taking the (Em)Path to Human-Centered Design at UX Camp Chicago:


“I’ve learned that people will forget what you’ve said.

People will forget what you did,

But people will never forget how you made them feel.”


- Maya Angelou


Author Maya Angelou never worked in UX design (to my knowledge), but this quote best summarizes the empathy effect on UX. Users won’t recall content verbatim and good design is defined by their ease of navigation. That’s all users care about experiences.


Compared to many brands, I believe insurance brands probably struggle harder to achieve this kind of connectivity with customers, which is why an empathic approach to design is so important. When you think about it, UX design has two goals regarding customers:

  1. Get people to do things they may not want to do – even if it’s good for them. People need to protect themselves from the “what-if’s” in life. What if the house burns down? What if you die? Yes, they are important questions. And no, they don’t make pleasant family dinner conversations.

  2. When the “what-if’s” happen, UX is often on the front lines helping customers get through some of the more difficult situations in life. Then we are the reassuring voice that says, “We’re going to get you through this.”




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