My origin story – my start in user-centred design

My journey into the world of user-centred design began unexpectedly and serendipitously.

I stumbled into the world of user-centred design without even realising it. As a fresh-faced 17-year-old, I landed my first job at a start-up and was tasked with answering customer enquiries over the phone and email.

My challenge and solutions

But as you can imagine, answering the same questions repeatedly can get tiresome quickly. So, in a stroke of genius (if I do say so myself), I started creating templates to copy and paste my responses. I shared these templates with my colleagues, who were thrilled to have an easier way to answer customer queries.

But it didn’t stop there. I soon created a “moan book” – a notebook filled with summaries of customer complaints and queries – which I left on the product manager’s desk for easy access. Before I knew it, I had unwittingly created a feedback loop between our customer service team and our product department, allowing for rapid and iterative improvements to the product.

Before I knew what I had done, I had created a feedback loop. I was feeding user insights directly to the product team so they could make improvements.

  • I piloted product changes and then released them for wider distribution with the creation of my email templates.
  • My ‘moan-book’ created a feedback loop from operations to the product department, enabling rapid and iterative improvements to the product.
  • My ‘moan-book’ collated the top customer issues, allowing the teams to prioritise improvements to the product.


Looking back, I realise that I had stumbled upon user-centred design – a discipline that I would later come to know and love. And while my approach may have been accidental, the results were undeniable: improved customer satisfaction, reduced cost to serve each customer and a more enjoyable job for myself.

Today, of course, well-regarded companies understand the value of:

  • Investing in improving the tools, props and processes for their staff
  • Listening to customer service teams, as they are subject matter experts in the pains, needs and desires of their customers
  • Using customer insights to improve products and services
  • Creating feedback loops to enhance their products and services.

But back then, I was just a teenager trying to make my job easier. And in doing so, I unwittingly set myself on a path towards a career in user-centred design.

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