About Sophia – Contact me

Time to read: 6 minutes

Hi, I am Sophia and I work in Discovery, Strategy, and Design for Products and Services.

What Architects do for the built world, I do for the (partially) digital one. Some places call this “Strategic Design”, because I use design methods to achieve business outcomes, in others it is “User Experience – UX”, because the goal is to shape a good experience for the users.

Amongst many other jobs, I spent 6 years at IBM honing my information design skills, 6 years freelancing on the London tech & FS scene, and 5 years at BCG (Boston Consulting Group) directing my UX mastery into product and services strategy.

I can help devise experiments to learn what will and will not work. We prototype, we test, we learn. We move forward.

If what you need is not within my skillset, I’ll refer you to someone else or leave you with a short plan of action.

I’ll always make time for a coffee if you’re curious about what a human-centred approach can do for your company.

Most often, I am the person you send to survey the field (made up of humans, objects, environments and IT systems) to find the sources of problems, spot opportunities, prioritise them, and design you a solution (or five) that will serve the humans involved and the company’s goals the best.

I always know if my solution works because I test it with humans when it is just a paper sketch and iterate on it until it does; work, that is. It’s a very interesting job, and is best summarised as ask, listen, illustrate, and experiment.

Typical projects

  • Uncover opportunities – Map out a service as experienced by customers and staff, and identify opportunities and improvements we could explore.
  • Evaluate high-level concepts to minimise risk before investing – Use a combined analysis of a survey, social media sentiment analysis, focus groups, and interviews, to decide which of up to 12 concepts (products or services) would be most likely to a) benefit your audience and b) be adopted by your audience.
  • Evaluate refined concepts before investing – Use prototypes in interviews, surveys, and usability assessments to determine which concepts will be most likely to a) benefit your audience b) what would need to change for them to be more likely to be adopted c) best align to your corporate strategy d) are feasible technically and with what timeline.

I can promise you…

we’ll have some good laughs, discover things neither of us expected, and make your product or service better for the people buying into it.

Where do I go?

My usual place is leading the design team. I’ll be the Head of UX in a company or the Lead UX on a big client project. I make sure that products and services meet the needs of profitability for the business, feasibility for the Dev team, and good user experience for the humans. But in real life, I talk to practically everyone…

I specialise in UX

This means I obsess about how and why people do / use / understand things; from mobile applications to doorknobs. I design and help build a human-centred world.

I love…

the projects I can foster from an idea to a finished product, and watch someone using it in real life. I once watched my (now ex) partner’s father use a part of the passport application service that I designed. It felt amazing!

I am told that I don’t look like…

a geek. I have a technical background, with a B. Eng. in Computer Engineering. I’ve forgotten more maths than the average person ever learns, and I used to love designing digital and analog circuits. I will always love STEM fields. If you’re working with our next generation and want a friendly human techie for them to meet, please get in touch.

I cannot stop…

Designing handbags and dresses, categorising and restructuring information, and writing and painting. If we meet in the wild, you could always ask me about NaNoWriMo.

why “UX Architect”?

My choice of UX “Architect” is deliberate, and based on how a (partially) digital service is like a house.

The Engineer is an expert at how best to build a house so it will stand, the Architect understands how it will be used, and by whom, so they can create all the necessary spaces as a prototype, so everyone can see what they’re working towards and debate improvements before a final build, and the Designer gives it personality and refines certain presentational and interactive details.

Obviously, the best real estate – digital or physical – is built by teams of all three disciplines who start working together alongside the people who will use the space as early as possible in the project.

what I believe in

In no particular order: Being on time; Equal opportunity; Pay parity; Doing things right and doing the right thing (not always the same); Using fountain pens; Learning new things; Doodling; Reading; Looking out the window; Not wearing headphones so you can hear the waves lapping at the beach; Making things with one’s hands; Sticking by your decisions (unless you come to realise they were stupid); Researching anything well before committing to it (from a book to a job); Being proud of the work I do; Sharing the knowledge I have collected; Loving like you’ve never been hurt; Being silly; Leading by example; Laughing; Getting up to dance even if the song is crap; Letting go of the things you no longer need; Being prepared for the future, even if that is just by carrying an umbrella for the afternoon’s rain; Sitting in the sun; Smelling the roses; Giving of yourself generously; Writing; Actively making the world a better place, one smile at a time; Drawing by hand; Conversations; Art as healing; Art as inspiration; Fashion as Art; Technology being simple.

For Design Practitioners: Design Counselling

For designers and researchers who are feeling isolated, overwhelmed, uncertain, or just find themselves wondering “is this right?” a few too many times in a week: let’s talk about it.

I was once on a project where everyone on the greater transformation team of 30+ people was five to ten timezones away, in a different culture, and I was leading a team of two as the most senior design person in that digital transformation team. I often wondered if I was right, needing to bounce my plans off of someone, anyone, to test them for robustness and pacify my self-doubt-gremlin.

One of the design principals where I worked volunteered half an hour every Friday to chat about what had been done, and what I was doing next. 99% of the time, everything was fine. Often, one of his questions triggered a thought process, and a new idea to try. I got the highest possible rating on that project, and even had to act as Product Principal while someone was off, alongside my Design Lead role. This wasn’t because I got help… it was because I got validation that everything was indeed ok. We are our own worse enemy. My doubt was my own, and talking to someone else who had enough experience helped dispel it.

I personally have a “design counselling buddy”, in my wonderful friend and Senior Product Research Manager Jessica Richards.

This is the service I am offering. Listening, validation, as well as expert advice and coaching if you need those too. Having led high performing design teams for eight years, five of those at BCG (Boston Consulting Group, one of the Big Three management consulting firms) and helped people grow, I can help you find your stable footing in whatever stormy work seas you may be navigating. You’ll always step away heard, and with immediately actionable steps you can take.

How does this work

  • Format: 45-90 min sessions (online or in-person).
  • Free introductory 30-min session to see if we are a good fit.
  • How to book: Message me to schedule a session.

For Chief Product Officers and CEOs

I can help you set a vision with your product team, based on data and qualitative research. As an expert facilitator, I will get you to co-create this as a team, creating buy-in from every stakeholder who is present.

How does this work

Contact me / CV / portfolio

If you want a copy of my CV, portfolio, or have a question about life, the universe, and everything, the easiest way to reach out is on Linked in: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/eurydice13.

I have accounts and communicate / publish on many social networks. Feel free to contact me on any of them, or use the contact form below.

@eurydice13 on twitter |
Linked in CV / profile
| @eurydice13 on instagram

I am available for independent consulting work.
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