Gareth Williams

UX & Product Lead

I pride myself on turning complex problems into simple and engaging experiences, through a multidisciplinary skill set, empowering teams and 10+ years of industry experience.

What I bring

  • 3+ years of experience directing multi-disciplinary teams to deliver world-class digital products.Providing strategy, insight, vision, prioritisation, costings, and sales.
  • 10+ years of experience as a UX practitioner with strong discovery & delivery processes. Still love being hands-on when required.
  • Creativity and problem solving bringing together business goals, user insights, market understanding and product vision to build out roadmaps, models, service & journey maps, and iteration plans to deliver products.
  • Experience in Agile methodologies: utilising lean approach to product development with frequent testing to embrace subsequent learnings; prioritising product backlog when in feature rollout.
  • Investigative mindset discovering insights from both quantitive and qualitative research. Presenting findings in visually engaging formats to disperse insights across all levels of business.
  • Wide range of skills and tools, developed from working at a variety of start-ups, in-house and agency teams. Solutions delivered for CMS based systems (Drupal, AEM, Umbraco, Craft), E-Commerce, Virtual Reality, Chat Assistants and Mobile & Web Applications.
  • Strong & clear stakeholder engagement bringing everyone along the production journey. Experience working with renowned editors & art directors, global company owners and C-level executives.
  • Strong technical understanding, fluent in development processes and concepts to facilitate productive conversations with development teams.
  • Understanding and appreciation of design and it’s application.
  • Comfortable with feeling uncomfortable to take calculated risks that benefit team, business, and user. Outwardly display passion & take pride in how products empower users.
  • Provide motivation and inspiration to develop others in their discipline and building team synergy.

Experience

Principal UX ConsultantNomensa
Dec 2017 - Present
  • Increased tourism in Wales with beautifully presented stories that tie in with practical and actionable tourism destination information.
  • Digital transformation discovery for Virgin Media (UK & Ireland), their parent company Liberty Global and other European regions. Utilising Customer Interviews,
  • Workshops, User Journeys, IA, Prototyping and User Testing we optimised sales and care journeys for new and existing customers.
  • Making inaccessible National Trust properties accessible through an award-winning Virtual Reality app.
  • Transforming support for Google’s MeetingRoomHardware team through an interactive 3D Room Design Guide.
  • Increasing sales by aligning users needs and actions with core-product and add-on sales journeys for UPC Switzerland.
  • Re-invigorating the Welsh Governments content creation team through service design to improve their ways of working and uplifting their output to match user needs.
  • Increasing team sign-ups for Alzheimers Memory Walk by optimising the sign-up journey through prototyping, user testing, and development.

Throughout my 4+ years at Nomensa, I have gained new insights and ways of working from working alongside people from human factors, psychology, design, technology and philosophy backgrounds.

I have had the pleasure of working with a range of clients including The Welsh Government; CharcoalBlue; Google; National Trust; Virgin Media; Liberty Global; Institute of Physics; Alzheimer’s Society. Directing multiple key accounts, managing multi-disciplinary teams to deliver experiences for clients and their customers.

Share passion, knowledge, and skills through internal training and inspiring team members with team-meeting presentations. Exploring and trialing new technologies in my own time to see where these will fit within our lives in the near future. Sharing findings with the team to inspire and influence current projects and bring in new clients. Recently questioning how teams design Voice Apps and conversations we have with them, particularly in how product teams and stakeholders visualise and collaborate on what eventually ends up being an invisible conversation.

Senior UX ConsultantNomensa
Mar 2016 - Dec 2017
UX ConsultantNomensa
Apr 2015 - Mar 2016
UX DesignerFreelance
Oct 2014 - Current

I take on freelance projects for small local businesses when I have time available. Covering product/UX design or the whole website production process of concept, design and development.

Recent Projects

Lead Information ArchitectCondé Nast
Mar 2012 - Jan 2014

After a year at Condé Nast I was promoted to Lead Information Architect.

My Responsibilities

  • Staying up to date with industry and technology developments.
  • Researching how people were using Condés digital products, analysing this, then disseminating findings to management, editor, sales and product teams.
  • Defining the product concept and vision and clearly communicating these to every team in the form of presentations and documents.
  • Creating wireframes and prototypes to explore and define the Information Architecture and User Experience for each project.
  • Conducting User Research from the earliest possible stage to keep users at the core of the product.
  • Working closely with the design and development teams to realise each project.
  • Being part of the product management team alongside head of product, lead developer and lead designer to support the product team, manage the product process and run project reviews.
  • Supporting and teaching the IA team.
  • Working with management and sales teams to develop advertising opportunities and specifications.
  • Presenting and discussing product visions and project work with high profile management and magazine editors. 

The projects I worked on gained both success in the company and the industry, with the Vogue redesign receiving praise in the form of multiple nominations for two Webbys and an AOP(Association of Online Publishing) award. The introduction of Vogue and Glamours topic pages saw them rise highly in Google search, as all content across the sites were automatically collected into topic hubs on celebrities, trends, brands and locations.

As part of pushing myself and the team to take on challenges the industry faces, I was part of a team working towards a responsive advertising solution. We ended up building a responsive ad builder which has been commercially used across the Condé Nast sites by Burberry, Gucci, Chanel and other high profile fashion brands.

As part of being promoted to Lead Information Architect I hired a Junior IA. I went through the interview process, and chose to hire Nathan Medford straight out of university for the inquisitive way he thought about problems and a sharp design eye. He didn’t have any IA experience. At first he supported me on research projects; creating visuals and collecting data, then I gradually introduced him to and trained him in the methodology of IA and UX.

I thought a lot about the industry and the work we and others were doing. This led to me being asked to be part of a Condé Nast innovation project, where upon finishing I was chosen to further develop my vision for the future of online magazines. During this, I became involved higher up the business, influencing digital business decisions through discussions with the Head of Marketing, Head of Digital and the Deputy Managing Director.

More specific project and process write ups can be found in my portfolio. I left Condé Nast as I wanted a break from London and to take some time out.

Projects 

Information ArchitectCondé Nast
Mar 2011 - Mar 2012

I was the first Information Architect to work for Condé Nast UK. I introduced UX, UCD and IA best practices to them; touching every level of the digital business and helping develop new working processes for the product team. Working on projects across all platforms, focusing predominantly on the web based products, I was part of transforming the digital presences of the magazines Vogue, GQ, Wired, Glamour, CNTraveller, House & Garden and Johansens.

I was responsible for the concept stage of projects; this would include research, wireframes, prototypes and working with the editor, sales, development and design teams to realise each project. At first we approached each project from scratch, like an agency; each magazine brand was a client. I realised we could make improvements across the board if we took a more product focused approach to how we worked. To speed up development times and improve the functionality of the sites/apps across all brands, I designed a series of core products. As we worked on a new project we would learn new things and design new features, having core products allowed us to implement these new features and have all the sites updated, rather than only the latest site project having the new features. Core Article, Gallery and Responsive Ad products are now live across all the websites, and is currently rolling out to the digital magazine apps.

Projects

UX DesignerKey Criteria
Jul 2010 – Mar 2011

My time with Key Criteria was split between two separate products, from this I learned how to effectively manage my time and priorities to stick to delivery deadlines for multiple simultaneous projects.

Their flagship product ZangBeZang was a solution for mobile operators to utilise data produced from their customers to deliver unprecedented targeted advertising. Designing a great UX for global mobile operators is vital; their relationship with the customer through this product had to be positive and it was my role to insure this. I developed user activity flows, wireframes and conducted usability testing for their Customer Care and Marketing Dashboard applications.

I collaborated closely with Project Managers, Product Owners, Visual Designers and Developers on a day-to-day basis. I was involved in the whole process from beginning to end to ensure the user’s experience was at the heart of every point of the product development cycle.

Their other product Loky, creates a secure, private area on your mobile where you can hide sensitive contacts, filter their messages (SMS & MMS) away from your regular message inbox, send messages back to them and also store your sensitive media files and documents.

I joined the Loky team at the same time a new product owner was appointed. We worked closely together to overhaul the entire product, including it’s branding, functionality and UX/UI design. I produced research and analyses of current offerings and created user personas. This aided me in applying holistic reasoning when introducing useful, user friendly and visually appealing features to the product. Acknowledgement of this success has featured highly in customer reviews in the marketplace.

We developed Loky for Android, Symbian S60 and Blackberry 9000 series smartphones. Developing consistent UX sensibilities across three different mobile operation systems was very demanding. It was important to find a balance in the UX to realise a consistent feel across operating systems while keeping within users expectations for each individual platform. I also led the Symbian and Blackberry development teams, taking them from conception to final delivery into the app stores was an enjoyable and especially challenging journey.

Working closely with developers and usability testers, I have gained immeasurable knowledge into designing empathetic solutions for Android, Symbian and Blackberry users. 

Co-FounderLoopIt
Jul 2009 – Aug 2010

Cofounded by myself, Killa Kela and Duncan Stahl, LoopIt was a music creation and sharing app. It was based on the concept of a loop machine, a physical tool popular with beatboxers. We held fun workshops where we got professional beatboxers to show us how they used their loop machines. Observing how they used them, what they could and couldn’t do on the physical loop machines vastly improved our understanding of the apps user experience.

This was a very hands-on team project. I worked on the product requirements and produced wireframes for the entire app. Alongside Duncan Stahl, we wrote the business plan and finance projections. I also created UI Mock-ups of the application that were used for demonstrating the app to potential investors. We had partnerships with leading beatboxers including Beardyman and Eklips to produce add on packs of their sounds. LoopIt was put on hold after not being able to secure funding.

UX DesignerComment Technologies
Jan 2009 – May 2010

Comment was a full social network for businesses, enabling a business to control the conversations with their customers. As a UX Designer I worked closely with the product owner defining user personas and creating concepts for new functionality.

I created activity diagrams for user journey development and wireframes and mock-ups for potential ideas, making these presentable to stakeholders, clients and also for the development team to build from. My wireframes would be pixel perfect and include a style guide for the full graphical interface. I ran user tests throughout the development process to make sure the product kept the user’s needs at its core. 

Creative (Freelance)Spit Kingdom Publishing
Jan 2009 – Feb 2010

Spit Kingdom is a music publishing company, focused predominantly on the beatboxer/artist Killa Kela. I created the UX for their websites, then designed and coded them. I also designed promotional material including posters, flyers, micro-sites and music videos, including a YouTube series titled KelaVision. This was a very exciting and dynamic role involved inside the music industry.

CreativeBandpie
Oct 2008 – Jan 2009

BandPie was my first step into the start up world. Based in London, I joined a team of three others trying to build music creation software that ran in the browser. I created their marketing assets including promotional websites, animated video advertisements and graphical elements for the product. I learned first hand how small companies are set up and learnt a lot of business lessons. BandPie shut down after failing to secure further funding.

Awards

Winner Digital Transformation - WirehiveVirgin Media Ireland + Nomensa
2018
Winner Digital Innovation - WirehiveNational Trust + Nomensa
2017
Nominated for Best Practices WebbyVogue.co.uk
2013
Honoree Best Web Magazine WebbyVogue.co.uk
2013
Nominated Best Consumer Website AOP AwardsVogue.co.uk
2013

Education

BA (Hons) PhotographyUCCA, Rochester
2005 - 2008
National Diploma Fine ArtBedford College
2003 - 2005
City and Guilds Website DesignBedford College
2003

References are available on request