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Creating Experience with Context

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“Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context – a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city plan.”Eliel Saarinen, architect

Looking at user experience from a holistic viewpoint is critical to help grow your organization and change the way you innovate for your customers. Once you understand your customers, you can design experiences they will strongly identify with.

Jordan Girman is Senior Director, User Experience Research at Glassdoor. He’s also a presenter at The Market Research Event (TMRE) on Nov. 5-7, 2019 at The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.


As a preview to his presentation, Jordan shares his perspectives on “Designing Connected Experience with the Context of the User in Mind.”

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your experiences in UX design shape your character and career?

Jordan Girman: When I started my career, there wasn’t really a field called UX. There were the beginnings of it, but most people were termed as information architects and the field was still getting defined. I think that what really drew me to it was that I could be a part of that definition, and I liked the “wild west” feel of developing process and seeing what worked and what didn’t. So, the first thing that UX taught me was to say “I can do that,” and then realizing I could actually figure out how to do it. It felt empowering and made me feel valuable.

The second thing I learned was how to separate myself from my work. When I first started to design, I would look at how I did something, then apply that to my design. Very much “I like the color blue so everyone else must like this color too.” Changing my approach from “I think it should be this” to “What would the user do in this situation” radically changed not just how I design, but how I approach leadership and problem solving. Research and understanding context or the problem and people I work with are all major parts of why I have been successful.

Additionally, as I advanced in my career, I really learned how to step back from the item that I was working on and then view the project from a holistic perspective. Being able to see how what I am working on extends to a larger world, being able to zero in on small interaction and zoom out to a larger view of the experience translated into strategy and vision work.

PB: What role does UX play in the performance of a brand?

JG: Really any touchpoint plays into the user experience for someone interacting with your product. What that means is that someone who sees a YouTube video, listens to a radio advertisement, talks to a CSM or has an interaction with your website plays into that person’s perception of the company. Too often companies ship their org chart and think their users perceive their product the same way as the company does internally. But to a user, they are not interacting with ‘the mobile channel’ or ‘the brick and mortar,’ they are just interacting with the company, and it's one thing to them.

Because of this, UX is tied to the brand, and the brand is tied to the UX. If the advertisements and overall design of the marketing assets are vastly different from the product design, then experience of transition from buying to using suffers. Same goes true if the user experience is poor on the product, then the perception of the brand suffers.

At Glassdoor, we are working on ways that brand design and product design collaborate to make a seamless experience throughout every touchpoint for the job seeker and employer. It’s not easy, but we will get there.

PB: What are some of your most notable projects?

JG: In my early days, I was a big part of redesigning the Mercedes-Benz USA site ( for an agency called Critical Mass. From there, I was part of starting a UX agency working with a variety of clients. Eventually, I transitioned to product design working on large scale video games for Electronic Arts. There I did redesigns for NHL and the first iteration of UFC, and eventually building design systems for the overall EA online marketing experience. Currently at Glassdoor, we are looking at how to radically change how people search for jobs in the future.

PB: What will people gain from attending your presentation?

JG: I hope to see people change their perspective of how their users interact with the internet and they can take the learning and apply it to their product. As we transition to mobile devices, user experience has so many more influences outside of the screen and every company needs to start thinking about how to accommodate those outside influences.

Want to hear more from Jordan? Join us at TMRE 2019. Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in market research. Stay connected at #TMREVENT.

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