Usability specialist in the digital operations department at the CBC
I do user research on our digital products, including our apps, our website and some of our internal systems. All our shows have a website, and some of them have their own second-screen experience apps. There are mobile apps for CBC News and Sports, too. I look at how our end users are using our products and how to make it easy for them to achieve what they want to do.
At the CBC, my team is constantly looking at different design challenges and coming up with creative solutions.
I did a bachelor in business administration at Wilfrid Laurier University, where my concentration was marketing and consumer behaviour. After that I started working at Pepsico doing sales analysis in the retail sales department. I did a lot of analysis and reporting for the drug store accounts, and financial modelling – a lot of number-crunching.
I did that for a year, but I wanted to do something a bit more creative, so I decided to go back to school. I came across a brand new master’s program at the University of Waterloo in digital experience innovation. It was the first year it was being offered and it was the perfect mix of business, technology and arts. I’m really interested in psychology and human behaviour. That was one of the reasons I was interested in marketing and consumer behaviour. Everything is going digital, so the program seemed like a step in the right direction.
The MDEI program is very diverse. Everyone in my class was from different backgrounds, skill sets, life experiences, age groups and industries. One of my classmates was in anthropology, and another was in journalism for 20 years. I wasn’t expecting that at all, but the user experience field is so interdisciplinary, you have to look at things from different perspectives.
When I do user testing and research, I’m constantly reminded that people see things in such different ways. How we think something should work could be completely different from how people use it, in terms of their needs and priorities. It’s incredible to see that people have such varying expectations and behaviours.
A lot of people say to me, “Wow, you actually made the transition between business and the tech field,” but I actually don’t see it as that big a jump. At Laurier, I took courses in brand communication and consumer behaviour, and consumer behaviour isn’t that big a jump from user behaviour. It’s just translated into the digital space, so I definitely pick up on things I learned in those courses and bring that over into the user experience field.
Where to study
ONTARIO COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN (Toronto) Masters in digital futures: $11,437/term. ocadu.ca RYERSON UNIVERSITY (Toronto) Masters in digital media: $16,233/program. ryerson.ca UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO (Waterloo) Master of digital experience innovation: $14,200/term. uwaterloo.ca