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Dive into the world of Product Design and innovation with Oliver Borders, the Head of Product Design at AZA Finance. With nearly four years of dedicated service, Oliver has played a pivotal role in shaping the user experience and interface of AZA Finance’s financial products and services.
In this interview, he shares insights into his role, the challenges he has overcome, the skills he values in potential team members and who he would LOVE to have a beer with!
Q: How long have you been at AZA Finance, and what is your role?
A: I have been at AZA for nearly four years. As the Head of Product Design at AZA Finance, my team and I are responsible for shaping the user experience and interface of our financial products. Over the past three years and nine months, I have been crafting innovative and user-centric designs that enhance our financial services’ overall functionality and appeal. By collaborating closely with cross-functional teams, I work towards ensuring that our products not only meet but exceed the expectations of our users.
Q: Tell us about your teams and what they do
A: My team is an integral part of the broader Product and Engineering team at AZA Finance. We are responsible for overseeing the design aspects of both customer-facing and internal products. Our responsibilities include conducting extensive research, gathering feedback, and developing innovative solutions to address any challenges we may encounter. We are committed to delivering the best possible user experience by providing well-thought-out designs and solutions.
Q: Are there any specific skills someone applying to join your team should have?
A: A diverse skill set is highly beneficial for individuals aspiring to join our team. Key skills for this role include proficiency in Human-Computer Interaction, an understanding of Psychology, expertise in User Experience Design and User Interface Design, a solid understanding of Data, as well as possessing curiosity and a genuine interest in solving both user and business problems. We value candidates who bring a holistic approach to product design, combining technical insight with a deep understanding of user behaviour and business objectives.
Q: What have been some of the biggest challenges you have faced in your career, and how have you navigated them?
A: Moving from being an individual contributor to a manager was a big adjustment. However, having a team to work with has been a great experience. Helping other people grow as designers has been extremely rewarding for me.
Early in my career, I faced a significant challenge when switching my career path. Initially, I started as a graphic designer and gained valuable skills in this field. However, I discovered my deep interest in psychology and user experience, which made me want to transition to follow my interests. Although it was not an easy shift, I found it to be very rewarding. My background in graphic design provided me with a strong foundation, which helped me to embrace the nuances of psychology and user experience and make them my focal point.
Furthermore, I’ve moved about quite a bit, as my career has spanned various industries, including energy, telecommunications, and finance. Each transition presented a steep learning curve, which I have enjoyed. Adapting to new industries has broadened my perspective and enriched my knowledge.
Q: Who inspired you to pursue the career you have today?
A: I have been inspired by many experts in the fields of UX, UI, and design, who have led me to pursue my current role. Among them, Joe Leech stands out, as he shares valuable content on psychology, UX, and business. Jarrod Spool is another name I look up to, as he talks extensively about usability and design.
I would also like to give a shout-out to Ben Franck, who worked as a UX designer at an agency I used to be a part of. His presence helped me understand the field better. Additionally, Conor Ward gave me my first opportunity as a UX Designer at British Gas. I was fortunate to learn a lot from the team he helped create there.
Q: What’s the best advice you can give someone who just started their career in your field?
A: It’s important always to keep learning, work hard, and treat people kindly. Building strong relationships with others is incredibly important.
Q: If you could spend an hour having coffee with anyone in the world, who would you pick and why?
A: There are a couple of people I would like to meet. From a work perspective, having an hour with Simon Sinek to discuss business, psychology, and leadership would be amazing.
Apart from that, I would also love to meet Ben Ainsley and talk to him about his sailing career. I think it would be better to have a beer instead of coffee for this one, though!