The November Debate: “User Experience is the Concern of the IT Professional”

Wednesday 11th November 2009, 6:30 pm.

Speakers: John Knight (User Experience Manager, Vodafone Ltd) and Chris Rourke (MD, UserVision).

University of Edinburgh Informatics Forum, 10 Crichton Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AB - map (click on Informatics Forum in the list of buildings).

This event is free of charge. Refreshments available from 6:00 pm.


This debate, chaired by Tom McEwan (Edinburgh Napier University), is an annual event where BCS Edinburgh bring together two experts in the field to illuminate a topical area of IT professionalism. This year we investigate what exactly “the user experience” is and whether or not it’s IT professionals who should provide it.

John Knight:

I work across a number of projects doing some design work, quality assurance and evangelising user needs to internal stakeholders. As UE practitioners we try to think of ourselves as giving people tools, rather than defining their entire experience. I like to promote the idea that the more open-ended and the more connected a product or service is, then the more successful it can be. But it’s harder to predict where that success will come from. This is the space where a lot of innovation and interesting design problems are – designing sociability as Jenny Preece puts it.

Chris Rourke:

A UX professional helps clients to do three main things:

  • understand the needs of their current and target users;
  • design interfaces, processes and experiences to meet those needs, and
  • ensure during and after the design process that these needs are being met.

By applying the correct combination of skills in research, design, technology and communication they help ensure that the users can work with, not against the systems, and they ideally find it a satisfying and enjoyable experience.

About the speakers


.John Knight

John Knight is a User Experience Manager within one of the largest User Experience teams in the industry with offices in Germany, UK and China with over ten years experience in UE.

John is also Communications Chair for the BCS Interaction Group (which publishes, Editor of Interfaces magazine and a Design Research Society Council Member.


Chris Rourke

Chris is the founder and MD of User Vision and has over 17 years experience in usability, accessibility, human factors consultancy and training. Chris has worked with clients including Hewlett Packard, Dell, NCR, AIG, Emirates Airlines and in the commercial and public sector. His user experience interests include accessibility, Rich Internet Applications, remote usability testing, eye tracking and persuasion architecture.

Chris is Founder and Past President of the Scottish Chapter of the Usability Professionals' Association and is a member the BHCIG. He holds a BSc. in Engineering Psychology from Tufts University and a MSc. in Ergonomics from the University of Michigan.

In his spare time Chris enjoys travel and sport, particularly ultimate Frisbee.


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