Written by Rosie Neill

Product Marketing Manager

One of the key cogs in the Blackbullion wheel is the Design Team! Headed up by Annie, the team spans both Graphic Design and Product Design.

It’s the Design Team’s responsibility to make sure that everyone who engages with Blackbullion, from students to university and college staff, feels welcome and that our platform is accessible, inclusive and intuitive to use. Here’s a peep behind the scenes.

Introduce yourself and tell us what your role is at Blackbullion.

Hey there! I’m Annie, and I’m Head of UX (user experience) & Design at Blackbullion. I’ve been with Blackbullion for almost 4 years now. Previously I was designing at various agencies and mobile product studios in Sydney for 8 years, before moving to London and embarking on this journey with Blackbullion.

What are the main aspects of your role?

I oversee design, working to provide a delightful experience for everyone who interacts with Blackbullion.

My primary focus is leading the user experience vision across the product and making sure that users are at the heart of what we build. That means asking the questions ‘how can we use user feedback, insight and data to support our decisions?’ and ‘what research can we do to make sure our platform is as powerful as can be for the staff and students that use it?’.

How does Design work at Blackbullion?

We have two distinct design disciplines at Blackbullion — Graphic Design and Product Design.

Graphic Design are guardians of the Blackbullion brand. They are a touchpoint across all departments, ensuring everything that we produce looks and feels like Blackbullion, and is right for the intended audience.

In particular, the Graphic Design Team works closely with marketing, producing campaigns and merch, which is the first way a potential user or partner will experience Blackbullion. They do an amazing job at making the topic of money, which can be intimidating and emotionally charged, into something that is really approachable and engaging for students.

Product Design are advocates for user-centred design, and we sit within the Product Team. We spend a lot of time running user research with Blackbullion users — speaking with students learning from the financial education in our platform, those applying for financial support through the Funds Management System, and university and college staff — to understand their motivations and needs.

Once we have identified opportunities to improve our users’ experience, we discuss solutions with the rest of the team, including running ideation workshops to generate ideas and make sure we get a range of views. We then prototype solutions, test them with users and prepare finalised designs for development.

Across both Graphic Design and Product Design, one of our core principles is that everyone should feel welcome at Blackbullion. We make sure we are as inclusive and accessible as possible, not just by working closely to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), but also making sure we are including people using assistive technology in testing, carefully considering the language we use in the platform, and depicting stories or visual representations of a diverse range of people.

What’s the best piece of money advice you’ve received?

Automate your budget! As soon as my income hits my bank account I have standing orders set up to distribute the money between my four bank accounts (general expenses, splurge, short term savings and long term savings). It means I never have to think about budgeting, and I save without having to think about it.

And an interesting fact about you?

I have the gene that makes coriander taste like soap!

Finally, what’s your favourite part about working at Blackbullion?

Initially, it was the mission that brought me to Blackbullion – I think most of us can identify with having wished we had Blackbullion when we were at uni! But my favourite thing about working for Blackbullion is that after 4 years, I still feel energised about starting work on a Monday morning. I think that’s a testament to the opportunities I’ve been given to take on new challenges and the support and trust that has enabled me to grow and learn. Everyone who works at Blackbullion is made to feel like their work is valued and appreciated, not just by management but also between teams and colleagues.

We’ve got one more post coming in our ‘Building Blackbullion’ series, where we’ll be speaking to our founder, Vivi, about Blackbullion’s mission of financial wellbeing for all, and her vision for the future.

To get some great financial advice and learn more about the team in the meantime, you can read the Marketing, Customer Success and Product Team instalments.

Make sure to sign up for our staff newsletter to get the latest insights and info from the world of financial wellbeing & student support. On that note, don’t forget to join our CPD-accredited Autumn Staff Training Series this academic term – curated by Lynne Condell MBE!

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