posted on 08 Jul 2018  

About UX, Before it was called UX. An interview with Alon Zager.

One of Israel’s pioneer UX designers talks about anticipating, solving and enjoying user experience problems.  


So, how did you get to this profession?


My childhood dream – aside from playing for Barcelona – was to sit with the smartest people I could find and look for solutions to complex problems no one else could solve. 


Fast-forward a bit, and while I was studying in university, I developed enrichment programs for gifted and outstanding children in science and communications. Suddenly, I found myself establishing protocols with a certain audience in mind, and I think that's when I started to think in ways that are very similar to planning user experiences. 


Later on, I worked for a marketing company that built websites, and quickly realized there’s a missing link in the chain. Things were done with little (or no) planning, and without taking the end users’ perspectives and needs into account. I realized that such a role was needed, so I started to research and learn, till I essentially invent a role for myself - and that's what I've been doing ever since. 


Today this sounds crazy given the buzz around the importance of proper user experiences, which I love. UX is a significant function that is absolutely instrumental to the success of every digital product we interact with. The more people acknowledge this fact, the better we’ll all be. 


 Alon Zager, UX designer



What qualities do you think every UX designer needs?


I think most importantly is having the ability to see things through a wide lens, and being able to comprehend the big picture in every project. UX Designers need to be adaptive, and account for various perspectives. They need to be empathetic to various needs, users and goals. Hold on, there’s more….


I think UX designers need to be able to prioritize and know how to decipher feedback. They have to stay on top of current trends and software, so they can whip up appropriate solutions to whatever problems they’re facing. 


Lastly, it never hurts to have a great sense of aesthetics because, after all, a designer has to be able to create, shape, and defend his or her visual choices.





Hexoo only has three people. Is that really enough for a company, and what kind of challenges do you and your team enjoy most?


We used to be bigger, but I’ve learned that when the core team is in sync, less is actually more. To get a job done, you need the right people who work harmoniously, but challenge each other constantly. Luckily, Gitit, Andrea and I have that.


We tend to relish on projects that start from scratch, where nothing is built and we have to set all the parameters and build things from the ground up. The more complex a project is, the bigger the uncertainties are, the more we get a chance to flex our expertise and show off our synergy. These types of UX challenges make us to feel at home, even when the content we’re dealing with is totally foreign to us. In fact, it turns projects into little adventures, which gets us really excited. 



The most important thing to have in a client is……


Trust and confidence. 

For a project to be both efficient and result in a great outcome, mutual trust is absolutely imperative. I think one of my main roles is finding ways to expedite that process – removing obstacles and trepidation, and putting my clients at ease, quickly. 



Lastly, what are some UX challenges and opportunities you’re foreseeing in the near future?


I think one of the great challenges our industry faces is how to properly institutionalize learning and streamline sources of knowledge, training and accreditation. Things are still fairly new, so you see a variety of methodologies (and contradictions) when it comes to basic guidelines and best practices. It’s a tough balancing act, because design should always be a little amorphous so we can continue to innovate. 


On that note, I love how quickly we can illustrate new concepts and ideas these days. The process of creation has been made so simple, which allows for more time to plan and strategize. 


As for the future, I think monitoring systems are booming. Data is everywhere, and companies benefit from custom dashboards that crystalize information in real time, in an intuitive experience. Systems are becoming more and more sophisticated, and the level of intelligence, information flow and interfaces super interesting and complex. Personally, I can’t wait to start figuring things out. 





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