Professional background: Product and User Experience Designer
Studied at Academy Xi: UX Design
Currently Working at: Service NSW
Travelling the Globe with UX Design
Jet-setting across the globe for work is a dream for many people, but for Product Designer Roland Wimbush, this was a reality. After spending two years in furniture and interior design in South America, Roland moved into performance sportswear in the design capital of Milan. This journey eventually led Roland to France with Salomon/ Adidas, before returning home and employing User Experience (UX) Design principles in the NSW government.
Roland’s time at Salomon was a stand-out learning opportunity in his career. The iterative culture and willingness to learn from mistakes makes Salomon a market leader in sportswear innovation.
“We would continuously ideate, design, and build functional and non-functional prototypes and then travel throughout Europe and the USA to test them with mainstream and professional users”, Roland comments.
The company’s approach to embracing user feedback enabled agility in decision making.
“The feedback we received would either confirm we were going in the right direction or allow us to pave a new path. We would do this over and over until the design was perfected and we were satisfied there was real need and demand in the market”, says Roland.
Like many companies in Europe, Salomon’s close proximity to their core market allowed them to step outside of the building and learn faster than other competitors.
“Being strategically located in the Alps or the stunning South West coast of France meant total immersion in the culture and living the lifestyle we were designing for. Constantly testing our products in the water or on the snow kept the creative juices flowing and deeply motivated us to stay ahead of the game.”
After enjoying a whirlwind career in Europe, Roland decided to make the sea change from France and return home to Australia. Upon returning, Roland sought to continue stretching his capabilities in the quickly evolving Australian market.
“Because Australia is focused on becoming a leader in digital innovation I wanted to be a part of this energy and fast-changing space. Having worked mostly for established, forward-thinking brands, I was used to environments where I had the freedom to think out of the box and given permission to fail in the pursuit of innovation,” Roland adds.
The Human-Centred Design Approach
After a friend’s recommendation, Roland enrolled in Academy Xi’s User Experience Design course where he was able to build on the Human-Centred Design approach he had practiced in Europe. By adopting the UX mindset and toolkit, Roland learned to:
- Develop simple prototypes quickly and test ideas and assumptions to form a solid solution
- Effectively get hands-on and lead the user testing process, which he had only been supporting through his career in Europe
- Acquire evidence-backed buy-in from stakeholders which is key to any successful UX implementation
With newly acquired UX Design skills, Roland landed an opportunity to reignite his creativity and innovative mindset at Service NSW. Roland is currently part of a government-backed project enabling NSW consumers to compare plans and switch energy providers online. The ability to perform user testing on the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) ensured the digital solution was Human-Centred and fit for the end user.
As part of a personal passion project, Roland founded an ethical project that helps children in South America access education, which also helped him land his first UX Design role at Cancer Council Australia.