More diverse teams offer greater harmony and performance
When you’re designing a user experience (UX) and an interface (UI), you’re looking for a balance. A balance between creativity, technical skills and human qualities, a visual balance, a balance between customer and user requirements, etc. This is precisely why diversity is important in our field.
I have been Lead UX/UI Designer at Societe Generale for a year and a half. Having been identified as a top performer in this area in the Group’s expertise programme, I now manage a team of six people. Our role is to design solutions and applications for the Bank’s business units. We work closely with the users to develop customised tools tailored to their needs. At the outset of any design project (for an application or other purpose), we also do a lot of “design thinking”, using ideation techniques.
Being a UX/UI designer is a great job, which requires a combination of creative, technical and soft skills. To be a good UX designer, you have to be very interested in other people. You need interpersonal skills to be able to get users to attend workshops and to develop their ideas. In UX, we build applications in conjunction with the users… The UI work comes next, where we put flesh on the bones, improve how it looks and make it as intuitive as possible to enhance the user experience. So, a good designer is someone who can find the right balance between these two skills: identifying and understanding the expectations and needs of users and producing an attractive interface.
I’m occasionally asked if I’ve encountered any difficulties working in UX/UI as a woman. It’s true that in the early years of my career I was in a very male-dominated environment. As a young woman, I had to work extremely hard to find my place, and then to establish myself as Lead Designer. This requires courage and a certain amount of self-confidence. The more expertise you acquire, the higher you progress up the hierarchy, and the more complicated things get.
That being said, I work in a field with more diversity than other areas of IT, such as development. There are a lot of women in the UX/UI community. In fact, this creative aspect is what appealed to me - I’ve been fascinated with it since I was small. To start with, I wanted to design record covers, because I’m a big music fan. With a background in design, and having worked as an artistic director and freelance web designer for many years, I’ve seen my job move towards the digital space and get much closer to users.
“There are more and more women working in IT, and opportunities are becoming increasingly available to them.”
I’m also lucky to work at a company that is committed to promoting women in every sector, and at all levels of responsibility. This commitment is especially apparent in the Group expertise programme I mentioned earlier, which is aimed at identifying women leaders, especially with technical profiles. There are more and more women working in IT, and opportunities are becoming increasingly available to them. I definitely see progress - things are moving in every aspect of the work sphere. However, - and not just at Societe Generale - I have to say that there is still plenty to do in certain areas, such as professional recognition and fairer pay.
“Diverse teams are more harmonious and perform better.”
All this effort is very important. Whether at operational or management level, we have everything to gain by working together. Diverse teams are more harmonious and perform better. Women add a more human dimension; they lead projects in a more “rounded” way. Here too, I believe very strongly in balance. A good balance between men and women who complement each other very well is really valuable. At the moment, there are four women in my team. Gender is not a criterion for selecting team members, but diversity is something that I keep a close eye on, because it offers the balance I’m looking for, and which is essential in our work.