Sparkol behind the scenes: meet Jane Scaife

Naomi Linford Sep 17, 2020 2:19:00 PM

In the next installment of this series, we’re shining a light on the people that power our software and the work they do to help you share your story.

One of those people is Jane Scaife, our brilliant User Experience (UX) Designer and stand-up comic who explains how the two are not as dissimilar as you might think...

Read on to find out why and learn more about Jane’s work researching and implementing developments that help VideoScribe users achieve their goals.

First things first, please can you tell us about your background and how you got started at Sparkol?

I did a psychology degree and went on to be a copywriter, mainly for charities. I wanted to upskill and build a more rewarding and challenging career for myself and came across Women’s Tech Hub. They helped me to discover user experience design and supported me in doing some courses. I built-up a portfolio and was introduced to Sparkol's CEO, Zoe Taylor, by the group. I was thrilled to be offered a job in which I can use my psychology and writing experience to work on understanding our customers, their challenges and how we can improve their experiences of our software.

What does your typical day at work look like?

I like to walk into work from North Bristol - that way I can listen to UX podcasts on the way. The great thing about my role is that it’s so varied. I may do some competitor research around a feature in the morning, with perhaps a meeting on recommendations the UX team has around the redesign of a customer journey through our site.

Later I might brief our research company on conducting usability studies and then do some design work needed by our developers for the next product release. One of the latest releases I worked on included our new video templates to make creating a professional-looking video even easier.

What's the best part about working at Sparkol?

I love the collaborative, supportive atmosphere in the office. Through informal chats, we can move quickly through projects. I also love the fact that Sparkol pays for a running coach to train with us once a week and we’re all bought lunch on a Wednesday, my favourite is the veggie food from a local place called Tiffin Time.

What's the biggest lesson you've learnt here so far?

I’m learning a lot about ‘agile’ ways of working to develop products, something I’m new to. Our team highlights what users need and how they’re experiencing our products, through this process.

What do you get up to outside work?

I go to many Meetups that are linked to my industry and learn a huge amount that I can bring back to Sparkol. I like to practice hot yoga and often run with GoodGym Bristol; we combine running and doing good deeds for the community.

What's something not many people know about you?

I’m a stand-up comedian! At the UXBristol conference, I gave a talk on how crafting good user experience is like crafting a good comedy set for the following reasons:

  • It’s not all me, me, me – you have to think about what your audience thinks is funny, not just what you think is funny.
  • You need regular validation and feedback, and be prepared to let go of your favourite joke if it just isn’t working.
  • The unexpected response is always the most useful experience.
  • Performing stand-up allows you to ‘feel the fear’, which is really important in our professional work.

Really the only difference is stand-up comedians have the benefit of looking their users in the eye every performance!


Want to join Jane and the team at Sparkol? Check out our latest job vacancies here.