User Experience Researcher, Schibsted Media Group, London
Bachelor of Business in Design and Finance
A great user experience can deliver huge business value, says AUT business alumnus Clouston Mahon who is a user experience researcher at European media giant Schibsted.
“I’m undertaking research in some of Schibsted’s many European markets to inform the design of innovative advertising software. This involves having users test a proposed concept, and interpreting the user feedback to improve the product. I also run workshops to ideate new solutions, and work with designers and developers to deliver them.
“I love solving problems for people by involving them in every step of the research and design process. By building things people actually want I’m able to deliver great business value.”
A life-changing decision
As passionate as he is about great design and user experiences, he initially had a very different career in mind, Clouston admits.
“To be honest, I jumped at the idea of doing an accounting and finance degree as they were perceived to provide the best paycheck. I half followed through with that plan and chose finance as one of my majors. However, I had always enjoyed creative studies and still wanted an outlet for those interests. Specialising in design for business seemed a great way to achieve this.”
This turned out to be a life-changing decision.
“I thought it would be two years of ‘making things look pretty’, but it turned out to be so much more. Design thinking in business is a combination of psychology, entrepreneurship and product design, and I decided to pursue this as a long-term profession. I had so many breakthrough moments throughout my studies, and the enthusiasm from the lecturers was evident and made class even more engaging.”
Designed for change
His degree prepared him well for the changing world of business, says Clouston.
“AUT has the courage to offer new and innovative programmes. By doing so, they can position students in emerging fields of business where they can excel locally and abroad.”
The workplace experience in his final year was one of the highlights of his time at AUT, he says.
“I completed my workplace experience at Lightning Lab, New Zealand’s first digitally focused start-up accelerator. Working as a user experience (UX) design intern, I was paired with some of the best in the industry to validate start-up ideas and develop products.
“Although I was only required to complete three months full-time, I opted to take my employment with them to six months to see out the end of the programme. I think showing that kind of commitment helped a lot in the long run. Once the work placement was over, Lightning Lab used their network to source opportunities for me, and would support my pursuits with references and phone calls to hiring managers.”