Marcis Mikelsons- Germs is a head of UX Design & partner in Cube. He is the first guest at the weird talk show “UX PROs Unmoderated.” 

Design is an essential part of business, and it affects the lives of people around us every day. Design enables companies to communicate and engage with their customers. The Cube team is all dedicated to creating incredible experiences for the users and finding new ways of implementing design theory into real-world problems. Marcis, head of Design & Partner, has been helping achieve success in the digital space for over seventeen years. 

He was curious enough to join an unmoderated test and answer 19 questions. This is the transcript of the session made in Sharewell. If you prefer to watch the video, click here

UX Pros Unmoderated with Marcis Mikelsons-Germs:

Task #1 Marcis, we all are very impressed by your work! Is working in the UX industry always has been a part of your plans, or did it hit you at some time? Tell us your story: how did you become a user experience expert, and was it planned?

No, it was not planned. I started Cube company along with my partners already, I don’t know, in 2004 I guess. And at that time I was a flash animator. I made banners. That was my thing and what I did in this company. And but we… we grew we started to do, uh, websites. So I had to know something since I was, like the animation guy, and knew something about the design. So I also took part in designing websites. And, uh then, of course, there were other guys who are better than me in visual design. I was kind of for a long time the main an animator in a company. But at some point, I was involved more and more in these Web designs and then… kind of like, naturally… naturally dragged me into, like, solving more and more complex, let’s say, tasks design-wise. And that’s how I got into this UX design. Which at the time, I also didn’t know that there was a term for this.

We tried to do, like the design, some of design thinking methods to while working on, on on our projects and tasks with their clients. So, like prototyping and getting some feedback from the users, stuff like that. So that’s how I turned into a designer who’s working on the user experience. 

And no, it was not like planned that I want to be that guy. It’s just came naturally—next question.

Task #2 What do you wish you'd known before pursuing a UX Design career?

Well, uh, I am kind of, uh, kind of person who likes to, let’s say, experiment. Uh-huh. Meaning that, well, there’s some people that really likes that academic side. I like to study how stuff works and then executed. I’m more of s doer. For me, the best best learning is is by doing something, and that implies failing… a lot. I wish that I’ve known some theory better. Small knowledge about different methods and different theories. Yeah, I would. I would say that it’s something like that.

Task #3 Do your family and friends understand what you're doing? How do you explain what your team does to others?

Well, yes, my family understands. My friends, some do. Some does not. So I’m, I introduce so as myself as a designer that designs digital experiences or Web pages for people. That’s easier to understand. My kids think that I work with a computer, and my son, who is seven years old. He is like constantly asking me to make video games, which I’m telling him, this is not what I do, and it’s a lot more complicated, but he thinks that I’m able to do that.

Task #4 What do you answer when someone asks: "Why does customer experience matter?"

No one really asked this question anymore, and there was some time ago that it was like: Why? Why do we need to do this? But the people understand, like the clients they understand pretty well the whole idea. There may be questions about different methods or steps that we do. Why do we need to do this? But the whole idea of working on improving customer experience, I think it’s out of question nowadays.

Task #5 What's the most common mistake you see businesses make?

Arrogance!? Well, meaning that let’s say we do some kind of research and we… you know, there are is some findings. Well, like the user research, there is some findings that clearly says that you know what people think of it. And then… there are companies that still (if you’ve got like this research and evidence) but they say: okay, but we know better. And then that is something that is really hard to… hard to find because like that you think OK, Yeah, well, that’s that’s obvious what they say. But, you know, you know better that we need to do it like this so.. we don’t lose money or etcetera. And that’s not willing to.. Or sometimes it’s because of, you know, the budget, which is not there for for those activities. But that goes like deeper into, like the culture of the company. 

Task #6 What's the most unusual or even weird thing that a client has asked you or your team to do?

That’s maybe not weird, but it’s unusual. We were working on this redesign of some E-COM. Um, some e-com website, and, uh, when the site was, like, ready to launch, and when it was launched. The client asked to somehow, like, restrict the orders from the shop because they are, like, experiencing, let’s say, unusual… usually more orders than before. And they couldn’t, uh, literally couldn’t handle, like, delivering them. They asked somehow: Can you do something to restrict people from from ordering or products? So that was, like, unusual thing, which is kind of with a positive, let’s say, positively unusual.

Task #7 You worked with many different businesses. Is there a company you’d like to work with which would be a dream fulfillment? If yes, tell us more: which company would you like to work with and why?

I haven’t thought about this like which would be my dream fulfilment. The thing that I like about, ahh.. working at this agency is working with different teams. That has different experiences, different backgrounds and different knowledge about… what the design thinking thing is. 

Projects that we have worked with I think those who have.. Which is not like the classic… some big corp. that are selling some gadgets or something… Something like NGO or or governmental projects that have, like this, that where you don’t have to literally sell some… I’m not saying nonsense, but you know, some good. So but where you, like, change something in a society. That’s I think, uh huh, kind of better, better energy for those projects.

Task #8 You are the head of the Cube UX design team. What project /-s are you most proud of?

I would probably call some of the latest stuff we worked with. Never think about this, which I’m proud of… but yeah. I’m proud with our collaboration with the Rimi Baltic team, which we started, uh, a few years ago. Our collaboration of first working on a public website. And then there was this… this, like, sudden task of launching E-COM in one year. So that was also really intense and really interesting process which, like the merging on on on many different tasks later on that we are currently approaching and trying to, let’s say, learn together with them. How if I like, uh, projects and, uh, this task that we do become, like, more complex and more bigger and how to approach them, and then how to get along with that? So yeah, RIMI would be like one of those that we spend really much energy here within Cube. 

So another one of the latest that we worked with was SEB Baltic website redesign project. Which was also really interesting experience for us. We’ve got a lot of work with many different people from the SEB side. A lot of stakeholders and really, like different, different perspectives on how people so see their products and customers and stuff like that. So I think we need a good job of getting this new platform up and running. 

Task #9 Which, in your opinion, are the qualities needed for a person to work in your team?

You have to know how to listen to what others say. Whether are those our client is like getting feedback on your work, or whether those are, I don’t know, user tests that expose some of the imperfections of your work. So and you have to be open to comments, even if they suggest that you’ve done something wrong. But you have to be able to understand…to digest it and turn it into the like improvement of what you do.

So I think that is the most important. I think that’s that’s the main one here. Everything else can be. Maybe it’s easy to learn, but this is kind of like when you’re… if you are emotionally not ready, that can end up ugly.

Task #10 Marcis, one of our followers has a webpage, and he would like to know your thoughts. Click on a link below and tell us what is your first impression.

Task #14 What is your favorite APP or a website (from UX point of view) and why?

My favorite… So if I had to compare so well, for example, there are, like, different map apps, right? The apple map, Google map. And there is Waze. So for me, the Google map works the best for my needs. So if I have to find, like, some like addresses or or explore the places around. So this is… I think regarding, like if you look at this one, so that would work for me the best. Is it like my favorite app? Absolutely not. I’ll be happy that I shouldn’t use it at all. And it’s not like I use it just because there are good UX. I think there’s always there’s some kind of need for me to use.

Task #15 What are your trend predictions in UX design this year?

Trend predictions? I don’t do that kind of stuff. Just keep up the rating. I don’t really look at trends there, like, kind of useless. Every time the same. VR, AR, big data or wherever.

Yeah, so I’m not really into that thing. Trends.

Task #16 What topics are not spoken enough in UX?

Actual data on results for our work that we do. We usually don’t have access to. For example, if we do some kind of project which is launched and then… you know we don’t have access to some let’s say data analytics, data business data. So I would say, probably also in a larger organizations, it could be the same that you can’t like access and and see the impact of your work from the business side. Because that’s… if you have those results, results from how your work impact business, that that’s a major thing where you can, like, continue to.. expand, like this design thinking, ideology across the company. And if it really brings results and if it doesn’t so you can try to figure out what what to improve. So, yeah, I think the data on..on the business that for me, that’s that’s, like, not spoken enough for obvious reasons.

Task #18 Thank you for being part of this unmoderated session! Please rate how do you like the questions:

So since I have no expectations, what’s going to be there? I think it’s 4 (Out of 5). It wasn’t great by those who were good ones.

Task #19 Thank you for participating!❤️ Is there anything else you'd like to add?

I think Sharewell is a good tool. And I’m looking forward to using it more on our projects. So keep up the good work!

[The tester completed session]

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These are unmoderated test sessions with UX professionals that are magically turned into the weird talk show.

Unmoderated test includes questions that reveal our guests struggles, findings, learnings and dreams. In each session guest also is going through one website our followers has sent in and provides feedback.

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