Those of you that have been around for a while will know all about the Member Spotlight initiative. For those of you that are new, the theory is that being part of a community like this is valuable in that you have the opportunity to form relationships with peers that have similar or complimentary skills to your own. In order to help you to meet those people, every now and then I put one under the spotlight so that you get to know each other a little better.
This time around we're chatting to Natalie Eustace, and I have to say, I really enjoyed reading her responses.
What first sparked your interest in UX, Natalie?
This is a tough question, I would have to say it was less of a spark and more of a gradual nudge in the general direction. Completing my joint degree in Computer Science and Psychology, I only had one paper involved around Human Computer Interaction. This was the only thing even slightly related, and I jumped at it because it was different from programming. I followed this with the masters in Human Interface Technology. If there was one solid point, a "spark" that I was heading in the right direction, and that UX was where I wanted to go, it was probably listening to all of the amazing stuff that Tom Furness (a founder of Human Interface Technology) had done on his journey through HIT.
What aspect of UX do you enjoy the most and why?
Generally I say that I enjoy the fact that I can help improve and make a better experience for people. But today I'm going to be a little different and say that I also really enjoy the variety of work. User Experience is not just limited to web, it can be industrial products, transportation systems, you name it. I like the fact that you could follow your passion, but also that depending on the company you work with, you aren't always completing UX for the same thing. If you are a consultancy, you could work on a variety of different areas, and so you are always learning something new about the topic, while applying your knowledge.
What is the dream project or client that you’d like to design the experience for?
Through my psychology background, I really like the thought of working on or helping design technology for people either in Hospital situations, or with disabilities. An example of this is some technology I was taught about while Tom Furness was giving a guest lecture in my masters course. He told us about a Virtual Reality game that hospitals were using with a Head Mounted Display to help burn victims while they were being moved through physical therapy. It was found that the patients playing this game felt no pain because they were so immersed in the experience, their focus was not on their body. This was amazing because physical therapy is very very painful and unpleasant when patients are focusing on it.
It would be really awesome to be able to make this kind of a difference to people's lives.
If you weren’t in your current job, what job or career would you choose?
This is actually not a tough one. I really really like to bake and decorate, and by this I mean things like pastries, biscuits, and especially cakes. So if I wasn't in my current job I would love to work as a Pâtisserie.
The funny thing is that I don't really like to eat what I make, which goes against the saying, never trust a skinny chef! But I really like it when people enjoy eating what I make.
I grew up wanting to be a chef, got experience with that and decided that life (in restaurants) was too demanding and stressful. I continue to bake for family and friends when I have time, and feel like being creative.
When have you been the most satisfied in your life?
My experiences to date have not been too wide or varied, so I shall go with a childhood moment that has yet to be surpassed. I really love animals, and growing up (after our first cat passing) we were not allowed to have any large animals. So I grew up with pets such as: guinea pigs, rats, mice, rescued hedgehogs (until made to set them free when rehabilitated).
When I was a teenager, my Mum learned about a family at her church who were looking for someone to take their rabbit off their hands due to their young daughter mistreating it. When we got Charlie, she was scared, almost feral, and would not let anyone come near her in her cage without trying to attack. It took around two years plenty of permanent scars, but I managed to finally get her to come up to me so I could take her from her cage to run around our lawn, she would cuddle, and had completely changed. I think this was one of the most satisfying times in my life because I had had the power to give her a better life, and feel truly loved by a family.
If you could choose one superpower, what would it be and why?
Superpower... hm. This is the one conversation topic that comes up with friends and family that I have a difficult time with. I'm a big fan of x-men and sci-fi, but I would have to say Biological Manipulation, so the ability to heal others. I know it wouldn't really help with the world's overpopulation crisis, but that can be figured out by someone else!
I'm lucky enough to not have anyone pass in my life (while I was old enough to understand), and I have really good relationships with my Grandparents. I am not looking forward to learning how to grieve at this level.
Lastly… do you have a site, a blog, a twitter feed or anything else that you’d like to use this opportunity to promote?
Indeedy I do, I generally hang around on linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/natalieeustace