Your organization’s structure might be a problem—and 5 other answers from Kina’ole’s Jeff Parks

Jeff Parks

Every day, for the next 2 days, I’m doing a brief Q&A with a UX pro, who’s taking part in our 10 minute speed sessions to fix your website UX. This is an amazing opportunity for you to get 10 minutes of free, one-on-one feedback on your website UX!

Today’s Q&A is with Jeff Parks, Co-Owner at Kina’ole Inc. Request a session with Jeff

Tell me a little about your UX knowledge/practice:

I have always been fascinated by human behaviour. I majored in psychology in university and, before getting into the web I used to be a rehab therapist for people with acquired brain injuries, so user experience has always made sense to me. We aren’t designing for machines, we’re designing for people.

Regardless of the solutions I’m designing for, I never lose sight of that. I strive to create seamless experiences for clients that put the user at the centre of interaction and design decisions. We can do anything with technology today. It’s not about what we could be doing, it’s about what we should be doing. So, for me, user research and testing is paramount to making those decisions easier for business.

Who have you worked with/for?

I have worked with clients from all over the world, including Mexico, Jamaica, the US, Canada and Europe for all verticals and sectors. I had a company for 5 years called Follow The UX Leader where I taught workshops on User Experience and Information Architecture to companies like Boeing, Fujitsu, BlackBerry, UbiSoft and HootSuite. A lot of the work that I do specifically is wrapped up in signed nondisclosure agreements, but I am pretty excited to say I got to work with the NBA on some UX work awhile ago.

Which project are you most proud of?

I am always proud of work where I can really make a difference. Non-profit organizations like the Children’s Bridge Foundation and the Canadian Lung Association always drive home how important our work is to so many.

I have done a lot to help the user experience community as well. I used to have a couple of podcasts that I did with major thought leaders in our industry to share ideas and concepts with a broader audience. I was also on the Board of Directors for the Information Architecture Institute for a couple of years. We were the ones who initiated the first World IA Day. That event has grown to include 57 locations in 28 countries over 6 continents—I’m definitely proud of that!

What do you consider the biggest problem with websites today?

Believe it or not, the problem I run into doesn’t have to do with the websites themselves. Rather, it has to do with the organizations behind the sites. So many websites have been designed to reflect the organization’s structure. That makes sense, because each department is then responsible for their piece of the website. But then when you try to design for web and mobile—with an eye towards that truly omni-channel experience for customers—the cracks in organizational efficiencies start to show through. How do we create a flawless experience for our users regardless of channel? That’s what companies are struggling to do behind the scenes, and that’s what I help them to look at and optimize for.

What quick fix could any website owner make to immediately improve his/her website?

Slow down and think about your customers. Think beyond target audience segments and reflect on how they use your website. What do they want to do? A lot of times, creating a great user experience is paring back on content and zeroing in on fundamental information and interaction. Less is more. I believe that’s the best advice for a mobile age.

Request a session with Jeff