Putting users first – the seasoned Designer levelling-up with UX skills. Meet Matthew.

Casumo Product Designer Matthew Cassar may have years of design experience under his belt, but his hunger for fresh insights and new learning opportunities remains as strong as ever. As his team continuously strives to experiment and improve, he saw in the Professional Diploma in UX Design a chance to enhance his strategic decision-making. This is his story.

You have widespread experience across the design field, but what led you to UX and Product Design?

I have been immersed in the digital field since my early involvement in Computer Science. Back then, we didn’t have role splitting – everyone was doing a bit of design and a bit of code. The drastic development of the web has led to the creation of more specialised roles. Having my roots in graphic design, focusing on the aesthetics and planning side, Product Design came very naturally.

Although I have been doing this for some time now (even before the newly specified roles of “User Interface Design” and “User Experience Design”) I always feel the need to update myself; learning should be always present and constant throughout your journey.

The way I see it is quite simple: The web is a platform where you construct digital fronts of ideas and data to be consumed by the masses. Ultimately, it means being available everywhere, on any device, twenty-four-seven. It’s the tool that maximises reach and profitability, and like everything else, you need to understand your customer to construct a better solution for them, speed up the conventional process, and service them better and more efficiently.

UX is attracting more and more attention across digital industries – what’s your perspective?

With an avalanche of content consumed daily, it is crucial to keep our products working optimally. Whether you’re pushing an iteration of your product or conceptualising a new idea, working to elevate and improve your product by removing any unwanted steps, reducing user friction, and increasing trust in your brand; UX means making design decisions according to facts, research, and to testing, rather than according to personal bias.

We are increasingly accustomed to using services within a digital environment and depending on digital systems in everything from Product review to Payment and shipment. This requires us to be constantly polishing our digital products to work in favour of the user, easing services to work more efficiently, and removing ambiguity for a seamless user flow. Not every user is tech-savvy and our product has to be accessible for all users.

How does Casumo encourage you to keep developing your skills?

The company is very proactive when it comes to recognising career growth and encourages employees to cultivate their knowledge. We’re constantly pushing to explore new territories and expand our capabilities both as individuals and as an organisation. The learning experience of one person can have a knock-on effect on a team and ensures that what we’re working towards is always fresh and relevant. This was part of what motivated me to enrol for the Professional Diploma in UX Design.

How did you enjoy the Professional Diploma in UX Design?

The course covered an enormous amount of content and provided really comprehensive foundations in UX. The lecturer was brilliant, supportive and with a good sense of humour… as were the entire ICE Malta team. No matter the time of day, you can expect fast responses to help you stay on track with your studies and funding support.

I valued the assignment component of the course because it put a focus on the practical skills needed in the field. It helped consolidate the principles we were learning in class and kept us on our toes.

The UX field is a vast subject which is constantly learning and evolving, so the Diploma is only the first step to getting yourself officially accredited. I will certainly be exploring User Psychology further, as well as the repercussions this has on design and marketing strategy.

How did you manage to fit study into your busy schedule?

The ability to learn from the comfort of one’s home was not just a requirement in a pandemic situation; it has become the ultimate time-saving and resource-saving option, not to mention that it fits better within my available bandwidth.

Studying and attending lectures virtually meant that I could maintain my daily commitments, without spending any time commuting, which ultimately left me with a bit more time with my munchkins before bedtime.

Do you have any advice for budding product/UX/UI designers?

There’s no better day than today. Maybe you should have started yesterday, but today is good enough! Skills, techniques, and rules can be learnt anytime, anywhere.

Don’t worry about your current tools – trust me, you don’t need an expensive trendy laptop to kick start your dream. Immerse yourself in creative content, see what others are doing, try it out yourself, iterate on it and compose your own ideas. Work on something different every day – this will make you more efficient and resourceful on the job.

Stay hungry. Learn something new daily. Be humble and share knowledge with your peers.

In his endless quest for knowledge, Matthew is a true role model for designers of all levels. As he has learned throughout his career, technologies will change, and having the mindset to grow and adapt according to industry demands is crucial to keep moving forward. We congratulate him for his success so far – and we have no doubt he’ll continue challenging himself in the future!

I valued the assignment component of the course because it put a focus on the practical skills needed in the field. It helped consolidate the principles we were learning in class and kept us on our toes.

MATTHEW CASSARProduct Designer