People Behind the Product: The User Experience Specialist

Bronagh McStravick

04th Apr 2023
People Behind the Product: The User Experience Specialist

Megan Kinkead began her journey with Cirdan in 2015, as a Knowledge Transfer Partnership Associate specialising in User Experience. Since then, she has worked her way up through the ranks to become Cirdan’s Senior UX Specialist. Megan carries out a vast and varied role, encompassing everything from how the users of Cirdan’s products think, to how the products themselves should look and work. A lot of Megan’s time is also spent overseeing Cirdan’s Community of Practice which allows her and her team to understand the daily work of Cirdan’s customers, and how we can deliver for them and meet the specific needs of their workflows through our products by building relationships with them.

Aside from her busy and vitally important role within the UX team, Megan enjoys a range of varied and interesting hobbies, including video gaming, LEGO building and even finds time to volunteer as a sound engineer and editor for a small radio drama production company!

We caught up with Megan to get a deeper insight into the daily life of a Senior UX Specialist, and how Cirdan forms an integral part of her busy life.

What activities does your job involve on a daily basis?

As a member of the UX team, my main focus on a daily basis is to understand the needs of our users and help communicate those to our teams. This is done in a number of different ways. I’m often involved in discussions about the way our users carry out their work and how our products should support them. I spend time creating wireframes, mockups, and prototypes to show how the system should look and operate. I also create and maintain resources for the team to use to ensure our products look and behave consistently.

Another big part of my time is running our Community of Practice. This is a program that allows us to partner with our customers to understand their workflows and how we can design our products to help support those workflows. At the Community of Practice, we will have research sessions to discuss their current way of working, demo sessions to show what we are currently working on as we develop our products, and question and answer sessions to allow us to gather more information or validate our assumptions and for customers to give feedback and ask any questions they have about what we are working on. These sessions are a great way of helping us to get to know our customers and I particularly enjoy building relationships with them.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

I love the variety that the job brings. There’s always something going on and no two days are the same. I could spend one day mapping workflows and creating prototypes and the next I could be running a Community of Practice or assisting with product testing or even visiting our customers on site. I also really enjoy working with my colleagues – there is a great atmosphere working in Cirdan and I learn so much from everyone.

How do you spend time outside of work?

Outside work, I love spending time with my family and friends. I’ve always been a gamer and I enjoy playing video games, particularly anything with puzzles. I’m trying to start reading a lot more this year – I’ve come to realise that collecting books and reading books are two different hobbies! I’ve always loved LEGO and I find it very relaxing to spend time building different models.

I also volunteer as a sound engineer and editor at an organisation called Commission. They produce radio dramas based on the Bible and other stories, like the lives of various missionaries. The dramas are provided for free to various radio stations around the world. It’s a brilliant organisation to be involved in and I love the other people who volunteer and how creative the dramas are.

What are you most passionate about?

I’m passionate about user experience and creating products that improve the lives of our customers and allow them to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. Healthcare is such an important part of our society and I believe that it’s our job to create the best products we can so that, ultimately, people can receive the care and treatment they need.