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My career story: Becci Davis, UX researcher

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Becci Davis is a user experience researcher in the Digital team, but her career certainly wasn’t heading in this direction after graduating with a degree in silversmithing, goldsmithing and jewellery.

“In 2015 I was working as a design technology technician at a secondary school, but knew I didn’t want to work there forever. Someone I knew at Direct Line put me in contact with James Sharpe, a digital designer and I secured a month’s work experience over the school holidays. I learnt how to use different types of design software and prototyping tools, but most importantly it was my first insight into office life. I’d never had a job like that before and it was a really valuable experience.

Using the skills I learnt at DLG, I got my first graphic design job. Over the next year I did my best to make sure James and the rest of the creative team at Direct Line didn’t forget about me – mainly by applying for any design role that they advertised.

My persistence eventually paid off and I was offered a job at DLG as a designer.

After a period of time being mentored by a lead designer, I was let loose on a product of my own. Once settled, I naturally found myself doing as much user research as possible, trying to find out how people use the website, where they look for certain things, and what they struggle with. I soon realised that I really enjoyed the research and testing element of product design, perhaps even more than the visual side.

Direct Line Group has been supportive and has encouraged how I want to develop my skills and career.

The fact I was doing so much research didn’t go by unnoticed. After a year as a designer, I was asked to move into a researcher role as part of a user experience team. Rather than working within a scrum team, I’d be a research resource for all scrum teams and their products. The role is excitingly varied, from user testing new ideas and the live site, to competitor analysis, to facilitating design thinking workshops. The facilitation of workshops is where my experience in a secondary school is invaluable; if you can engage a class of teenagers, running a workshop with professionals is comparably easy.

I’ve now returned to scrum life, working on a project which has been user-focused from day one. As the project grows we continue to test and experiment, leading by example and never assuming we know the answers.

Direct Line Group has been supportive and has encouraged how I want to develop my skills and career. Rather than being spoon-fed training, I’ve actively found courses and conferences, which the business has enabled me to attend. My personal development plan has been vital in attending training courses, I use it to my advantage to work on skills I want to improve, such as presenting or facilitating.

If you asked me when I graduated, would I be working as a user experience researcher for a leading insurance company, I’d say no. But do I enjoy what I do? Absolutely! And that’s why I’m such a supporter of companies providing work experience and grateful for anyone that gives up their time and expertise to young people at the beginning of their career. Without it, I’m not sure where I’d be right now.”

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