For this edition of FFS, we're delighted to be joined by human factors expert Ofer Monar.
If you're new to FFS, otherwise known as Futureheads Five Stories, this is a regular interview series where we speak to people who have interesting stories to tell.
And we couldn’t resist the acronym.
What’s the story of your career so far?
My career started in a bit of weird way. Back in the days when UX was called UI and UI was called GUI I was just completing my M.A. degree in Cognitive Psychology and had just enrolled in Ph.D. studies. As part of my job search (there’s not much to do with a research degree outside of University) I stumbled upon a job opening which required a master degree in psychology but no prior experience in design. I started this job, in a consultancy back in 2007 and this is what I do till this day, even after graduating. I mainly do B2B and complex systems design, and my career has spanned over product companies such as ADP to small agencies and freelancing. However, prior to this job as a UX expert, I was a teacher and I love to teach. As such, upon returning to Israel from the UK about 4 years ago, I began to teach UX to the private and industrial sector. Today, I am heading two academic programs for UX studies at Haifa University and at Tel-Aviv Jaffa Academic College.
What advice would you give to yourself when you were just starting out?
I would have told myself to be true to myself and to science. If I have one regret it would have to be not making more PR for myself. I think that in the design field, your name is as important as your skills. You are the brand and the product, act accordingly. Another piece of advice I would give would be to never rule out anything. When I took my first UX role, I thought it would only support me through my studies. Eventually, it became my life long career and passion.
What do you love most about what you do?
Most definitely the never-ending challenge of problem-solving. I am constantly applying my psychological knowledge on different and various domains of knowledge. Even after 11 years, there is constant change as the domain is hardly the same, technology is evolving and our world is changing. On top of that, teaching is always a passion and a thrill as no two students are alike.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned over the course of your career?
The ability to adapt to change. This is true as a life lesson but it is extremely important in UX. You have to adapt to new subjects, new cultures, new technology etc. On one hand, psychology principles remain the same, on the other, technology is changing by the day. It is the ability to adapt to change and keep solving problems which make a great Uxer.
What do you think is going to be the biggest challenge in our industry over the next twelve months?
Not sure its gonna happen in 12 months, perhaps in 24 months, but I believe the biggest challenge would be creating great UX for AR and VR (and MR and Mx…). We are slowly moving from a 2D mouse and keyboard world to a 3d wearable IOT, AR, and VR. In order to create good experiences in these realms, we must have profound psychological, ergonomically, statistical and design knowledge. I believe UX will have to build upon academic credentials in the not distant future to step up to this challenge. As Steve Jobs said: “Design is how it works”.
A little bit more about Ofer
I am 43, father of 2, freelancer, head of UX diploma studies at Haifa University & Head of HCI studies at Tel-Aviv Jaffo academic college.
I am also the author of the book: “Interaction Psychology: Human Experience”.
You can connect with Ofer on LinkedIn.
Want to take part in our FFS series? Say hello at firstname.lastname@example.org.