UX & Design
Amanda, you started in the field of psychology! How did you find your way into UX? Are there any similarities?
“Yeah, that’s a funny story, actually. I’ve always been into design and creative work, but then my high school counsellor said that working with design isn’t a real job that you can make a living from. Therefore, I started to study psychology but soon realised that it wasn’t for me, even though I had a big interest in it. I looked into how I could combine psychology and design, and eventually found interaction design.”
Yes, and then you made a career out of it! What attracted you to Visma?
“I love that we work with need-to-have products. For example, we have products that make sure people get their salaries on time and products that help plan the workforce in hospitals. We’re trying to make these heavy, difficult processes more enjoyable and easier for people. For those who work with this eight hours a day, it makes a huge difference if they have a good experience using the product.”
“There’s a lot of responsibility, but also the freedom to handle those responsibilities as it works best for me”
I think you hit the core of UX design right there: impacting other people’s lives for the better. How do you go about creating these good experiences?
“It's about trying to understand the people who are using the product. Let's say you're purchasing a train ticket through a mobile app. It either works well, or you might struggle with the payment. Whatever it might be, something is not running smoothly. As UX designers we try to find out how you expect and prefer for that process to work, and then apply that to the product. So the next time you buy that ticket, it's not a struggle. The most rewarding part of the whole process is when I go back to the users and hear them say ‘this is an improvement from what I had before’ or ‘now I understand how it works’!’’
You’re currently developing Visma’s design system. Tell us more about that? Which other disciplines are you working together with?
“Sure, together with a team of visual designers, front-ends and a few more UX designers, I’m developing the design system for Visma’s master brand and products. I’m also involved in collaborative design processes with different product development teams who need support to imagine a new feature or a new product altogether in their product line.”
The UX community has grown significantly since you joined Visma back in 2016. Now you’re over 180 peers working with UX and design! How are you finding it?
“My absolute favourite thing is that our community makes a huge difference. We’ve grown into a large group of people, but still kept the same vibe as when we were fewer. We have a very active UX community that supports, contributes and helps each other out. The company has a very open culture in general, where you’re always free to speak your mind. There’s a low threshold to sharing and asking people for help, which is important.”
Working here, you get to take part in many different cultures, and have close colleagues across cities and borders. How would you describe the company culture?
“What I find pretty cool is that there are many different layers to our culture – due to our size, that we are located in different countries and the great mix of people working here. We have the Visma culture, but we also have our local office cultures, and on top of that, the team cultures. Overall, we all trust one another. You know best when you're able to perform at your best. If you do your work well and deliver what's expected, it doesn’t matter what time you're at the office or exactly what time you leave. There's a lot of responsibility, but also the freedom to handle those responsibilities as it works best for me.
This all sounds like a great mix of responsibility and freedom! How do you see your professional self grow in the next couple of years?
“Something that I've always appreciated is that we have a lot of room for personal development and the freedom to explore. Next year I hope to learn more about design ethics and how I can be more aware of that in my work. Design ethics is really important, it’s about being more aware of how we treat people and how our products can affect how people behave in certain situations.”
Lastly, as you’re part of a tech company, we feel obliged to ask the million-dollar question: What’s technology to you?
“I think it’s two-folded: what technology is and what I would like it to be. I would like technology to be something that we integrate really well into our lives and our society, where it helps us perform better in different situations. Take the example from earlier, where we look at how you plan the workforce in a hospital: That's something that just needs to work, and it's complex. But we can use technology to make better choices to make sure that you have the right people in the right place at the right time. Technology can be applied in so many ways for these invisible things that should just work.”