How would you describe your work?
Most of the time I call myself an interaction designer. But I don’t just sit around making wireframes all day. It’s actually just as common for me to design stuff, do front-end coding or think about information design, content strategy, usability, accessibility or product concepts. There’s actually a name for a person who does this kind of stuff: a User Experience Designer (UX designer for short). But I’m not so sure about the “experience” part of that title. I don’t design roller coasters. Can I call myself a “holistic designer” instead? :)
The most annoying piece of software that you have to use?
Well, all of them. Software interfaces are inherently annoying to use. That’s actually what an interface is: something between you and the thing you’re trying to manipulate. Annoying. But also necessary until we develop mind probes or something. This is actually the reason I love designing interfaces. It’s a great challenge to try to make something not suck™. In this field of work you’re not going to make people go “wow!”. You’re going to make them swoop by as fast as possible. Hopefully they won’t even notice you were there in the first place – moving stuff around, organising things. It may sound like unrewarding work, but it’s not. When you do it right it actually helps people. You may even make their lives suck a little bit less. And that’s pretty cool.
What path brought you here?
I started out my career as a chef’s apprentice, but soon realised that line of work was not for me. I was a geeky nerd in a work-hard-party-harder environment. Instead I went back to school (university) to study applied computer science, usability and human/computer interaction. To be honest I don’t really know why I chose to study those specific subjects. I had been fascinated by computers for a long time – but I didn’t really like programming and I wasn’t a designer type either. I guess those subjects appealed equally to both sides of my brain somehow. Later on, I supplemented my studies with working as an assistant at the Victoria Research Institute. My first real job was at Futurniture, a communications consultancy, where I worked with increasingly large clients like Sony Ericsson, the Government Offices of Sweden (Regeringskansliet) and SMHI. In 2007 I co-founded Oktavilla. It seems like a long time ago when I see the year written in print like that, but it doesn’t feel like it.