A little bit about me

Me - Jay Heal

Hi, my name is Jay Michael Heal. I am truly passionate IxD / UX / UI designer who is dedicated to creating engaging experience for users. Also a big fan of some of the Lean UX principles that focus more on the outcome than the output (and the need for less documentation), this meaning we are focusing less on the page in isolation and more of the holistic experience these pages are made up of. To be a good designer I feel it is important to know your users. Through out my career I have also undertaken research responsibility that have included usability testing, contextual enquiry and workshop facilitation.

My background stems from a love of programming at a young age, starting with BASIC then moving through to C, C+ and Visual Basic. In the mid-1990s, through a mixture of my love of programming, technology and print design from rave culture I found a new love for the emerging web design scene.

After completing college, instead of going further with my Computer Science studies I decided to make the most of my passions and study Multimedia and New Technology at University of East London. At the time in the late 1990s / 2000’s, UEL was at the centre of New Media design start-ups in East London, which was very fortunate for us. Even before UX became the popular term it is today, our lecturers were embedding a user centred-design approach from the very beginning.

Since graduating, I have spent some time working freelance as both a designer (online & offline) and front-end developer, although more recently I have focused more on UX design. Working within the FMCG, news and media sectors as a designer has been a great learning curve. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work for and with great organisations such as the BBC, Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda, Johnston Press and Cambridgeshire County Council to name just a handful.

From a personal point of view, I believe we are within an important time in history where we are able to use technology to do great things. My belief is UX as a discipline is a key component that allows us to innovate while remaining aligned to people’s lives, solving real-life problems and real use cases through great design. With ever new devices and increasing bandwidths, we are just scratching the surface of what is possible.

As an ex-developer, I feel proud in the fact that I am able to integrate well with them and fully understand the challenges involved with embedding UX into a fast paced Agile environment. I feel the strength of Agile and UX combined is through collaboration and transparency of work. While providing them with the documentation and deliverables they require for each sprint, I am able to work on future stories to ensure we are maintain a holistic overview and product vision of where we are heading.

In some of my spare time, I am working on some of my own ideas- most notably an app that helps carers and parents of children with special health issues. Speaking and empathizing with the challenges involved, I hope that when this app finally gets released that it may help make a real difference.

Also in my time away from work, I am keen attender of UX conferences, Agile meet-ups, occasional public speaker and reader of related books. My work never seems too far away, even outside of my working hours. Also, I am a contributor on the fantastic UX By Design blog where I like to talk about my thoughts on where UX is going.

When I am not doing anything related to my passion of UX design, I am a proud father of 3 children (Dennis, Yasmin and Max) and husband to my wife Josie. Also, a massive Chelsea FC fan (by birth) and House music fanatic (both collecting, producing and playing). Big foodie (especially Japanese and Korean) who likes to cook as well as eat out and keen gym member to off-set this unhealthy obsession with good food. I also spend time watching movies and the latest TV series – current favourites are Walking Dead, Homeland, Fargo, Luther and Mr Robot.

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