UX Research & Service Design

My values

  • I give credit to others: I believe I have much to learn from those with complementary skill sets. I recognise my strongest projects are products of attentive listening, collaboration and complementary skill sets.
  • I'm a simplifier: I always strive for the greatest simplicity in insight and user experience. Insights expressed simply are most likely to be understood and acted upon. Simpler and focused design solutions are most likely to be understood and valued by their intended users.
  • I'm not a finished product: I am a lifelong learner with a comitment to continual learning and skills development. I'm humble about the fact I don't know everything and I want to keep growing.
  • I don't fit in one box: My skills and experience span UX Research, Service Design, UX Design and Strategy. Do not work with me if your organisation functions by placing individuals in narrowly defined, siloed roles.

What I deliver

  • In-depth research: Spending time with your users to understand their jobs, pains, gains, and strategic opportunities
  • Workshops: Develop a shared understanding of user needs, challenges, and formulate responses together
  • Co-design programmes: Facilitate workshops and reflective research to identify challenges and opportunities
  • Storytelling & engagement: Use short films and impactful presentations to compellingly communicate findings and new opportunities


Senior User Researcher (Contract): Lloyds Banking Group - May 2022 / Present

Leading user research on the data platforms team.

UX Research Lead: Arrival (Permanent) - April 2021 / April 2022

Leading UX Research for Arrival's digital products. Informing the following workstreams:

  • UI and feature development of a bespoke fleet management platform.
  • Development of a test drive service for a new commercial vehicle.
  • Enhanced usability for a vehicle driver’s app
  • Internal task tracking software
  • Accuracy and strategic optimisation of Text to Speech engine (TTS) with public transit passengers
  • Presentation of van on the company website - identifying areas for enhancement and clarification

Senior User Researcher (Contract): Skyscanner - May 2019 / March 2020

My contract was geared towards uncovering research insight to inform and develop the Skyscanner’s value proposition work. Work included:

  • In-person depth interviews followed by extended video interviews
  • Utilisation of ‘dscout’ platform to conduct online diary study across UK and USA
  • Design and delivery of concept development workshops with key stakeholders

Senior User Researcher (Contract): John Lewis - April 2018 / April 2019

I helped John Lewis identify the most effective means of engaging and connecting their customers with in store services. Work included:

  • Lab-based usability testing and in-store interviews with staff and customers
  • Development and delivery of a 4-day visioning workshop with a diverse working group
  • Lead facilitation of analysis workshops with product teams
Senior User Researcher (Contract) Whitbread - May 2016 / October 2017

I worked with the Premier Inn brand, leading the following research initiatives:

  • Conducted interviews with guests and front of house staff to identify improvements to the self check-in experience
  • Conducted guest research to test and identify improvements to an innovative new accommodation concept

Centred Design Educator: Periodic

Visiting lecturer at Winchester School of Art & London College of Communication

Design Researcher at Sense Worldwide London: 2006–10

Led research and innovation projects for clients


  • Tailored user research: Plan and facilitate the most effective research to uncover strategic insight (including: in-depth interviews, diary studies, workshops, surveys)
  • Workshops: Plan and run bespoke workshops to frame project challenges or co-create new concepts
  • Software: Adobe Creative Suite, Axure, Sketch


  • 2013-2015 Royal College of Art / MA Design Interactions: High Pass
  • 2001-2006 University of Northumbria / BA Hons Design For Industry: 2:1 BA HONS
  • 2000-2001 Coventry University - Art & Design Foundation Studies: Merit

What people say about working with me

“James is an excellent lead researcher with a strong degree of diligence in his work, thorough attention to detail and people skills that make him highly pleasant to work with. James helped us draft and execute research strategies and insights across multiple product platforms of various complexities - from internal Enterprise systems to complex, technically heavy connected device products. As a result of his ongoing reliability and the splendid work and insights he produced, I continued to rely on James as our go-to for digital user research programmes.”

Mo Khan: VP Product Strategy at Arrival

“It has been great collaborating on a number of Arrival products with James. He's super proactive, easy to work with, with top user research skills delivering great insights and a good strategic vision on things.”

Thierry Florit: Head of Design at Arrival

“I have had the pleasure of working with James not only at Arrival but also at Skyscanner, two companies where his diverse set of skills had great impact. James has the ability to dive deep into various novel and complex subjects to gain valuable insights utilising a variety of methods and distilling the information into an easy to digest format for product teams to utilise.”

Alex Steven: UX Design Lead at Arrival

“James is a fantastic UX researcher and communicator. I was reliant on James to uncover insights about our users and make sound recommendations of ways to design for their needs, and James always came through. He has a keen eye for user behaviour, and always delivered complex observations with subtlety, nuance, and empathy. An absolute asset to any product team.”

Spencer Wilton: Design Lead at Arrival

“What truly stands James apart is that he cares about business success. He isn't just another UX Researcher, but a true business partner that is fully invested in the idea of doing the best for commercial results.”

Yuliia Pashkova: Product Manager at Arrival

“James was a fantastic partner to pair with Design, his skillset means he was able to wear the hats of researcher and facilitator well. He also introduced me to the Value Proposition Canvas of which we used to run ideation workshops. James is a wonderful guy to work with, really thorough in his research and empathic to users but also colleagues.”

Jo Tucker: Product Design Lead at Skyscanner

“I particularly loved the way James led a half day workshop with the whole team after each day of testing where we synthesised our findings ready for the next sprint. I think these workshops were key to keeping the team customer centric throughout the process. I would strongly encourage anyone looking for highly skilled ux research and service designer to look no further than James. You can rely on him and he’s not afraid to speak up and challenge leadership to be more customer-centric.”

Sareef Ayyad: Lead UX & Service Designer at John Lewis

“James is a highly skilled researcher who quickly builds rapport with people. Throughout my time working with him, he consistently demonstrated his ability to grasp core business challenges and identify the customer needs which needed to be satisfied to meet them. I hired James into the Experience Design team at Whitbread as a Senior User Researcher for Premier Inn, initially on a 3-month contract only to extend him multiple times due to the quality and impact of his work, leading to us working together for almost 18 months. I happily recommend James, and do so in person to my clients whenever I have the opportunity, especially where the research need is complex and extends across both physical and digital interactions."

Alan Bull: Head of User Experience at Whitbread

About this website

I built this website to get my portfolio online, and to teach myself the basics of web development; HTML, CSS, and a little Javascript. I'm sure there are many possible improvements to the site's layout and code. Honestly it's a work in progress which I hope to improve as I learn more.

I was motivated to build this site since I feel it's important to get to grips with the core technologies that modern sites and apps run on. My work involves running research and making recommendations to improve user experience with all kinds of digital products. I'd like the recommendations I make to be grounded in a fair appreciation for the work involved in actually building them, and that has been my motivation to develop this site. I hope you find it interesting.

Some helpful resources I used to put this site together