Senior Interaction Designer

Terry Price, Senior Interaction Designer

I have found just what I had been looking for!

Why did you join The National Archives?

Working as a career designer – there had been a part of me that felt like something was missing for a while.

I got the opportunity to come to work at The National Archives as a Senior Interaction Designer in the Digital Records team a year ago.

I wanted to find a role that encompassed some of the things that are dear to me. A place where user centred design was a truism and proper user research takes place to benefit all users with differing agendas.

In the first few months of joining, I must be honest, I did struggle a little. I was overwhelmed with how talented colleagues were in my team and beyond. I felt like I was hanging on the coat tails of those around me. Especially while ramping up on the product, new team and working environment.

Thankfully, I held on and with the fantastic support from everyone, I can now say I am truly in the best place to further grow and develop my skills as a designer.

What type of work do you do?

As a designer in a multi-disciplined team, there is a great opportunity to get involved with lots of different aspects from attending regular user testing sessions, various forums for sharing ideas and knowledge to working with hugely talented developers.

Similarly, having the scope to rekindle my front-end developer skills has been beneficial because it has helped ground my design into a practical framework – so solutions are more considered and scalable.

I am currently working on the Find case law service which is coming up to one year since Alpha launch. The team and the service have been built from the ground up in such a short time, so it has been all hands on deck to get the service up and running and the usual firefighting that ensues at the beginning of any new service.

Our recent focus has been to improve the editor user interface that helps our colleagues review and publish documents online. We have been applying more automation and improving user journeys. It is interesting and rewarding work when we can help save our editors time as well as streamline their workflow.

In the digital department we strive for robust service requirements, web standards, accessibility, clear use cases, progressive enhancement and service assessments are all part of our guiding principles. All of this and more makes us better designers to help deliver better services to improve the lives of people. Who would not want to be part of that?

More recently, I have been given a wonderful opportunity to share my design knowledge and mentor another designer in my team. This is important to me and there is a always a good feeling about sharing knowledge to pass on to the next wave of designers, as indeed I had similar support many years ago.

In a way, I think this is the essence of The National Archives; learning, sharing and growing as individuals, as teams and as an organisation.

What’s it like working at The National Archives?

One of the first things you hear about The National Archives, is how friendly everyone is, it is a well-trodden catch all phrase I know, but it is so true at The National Archives. Whenever I need advice about anything; very approachable and patient colleagues are always willing to help.

Every time I commute to Kew having taken the infamous R68 bus tour, I walk around the corner and our building comes into view – I cannot help but smile, because I know I have found what I had been looking for.