I’ve always seen the importance in User Experience (UX) but I found it a bit hard to find out where to start with really getting to know the practice and apply it in my work. As a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) associate in a role of Digital Marketing Executive at Salford Business School I took the next step to get myself more familiar with UX and here is how I did it!
What is UX? You might have heard about UX before but what does it really mean? UX is short for User Experience, UX is defined in many ways but the wider remit is to be focused on enhancing user satisfaction by improving the usability, ease of use, and pleasure provided in the interaction between the user and the product.
Building on the success of the two ‘Meet the SMEs’ events last year, Tuesday 27 January saw 25 local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) meet with over 100 of Salford Business School students and graduates, our biggest turn out yet.
These events help to match students and employers for short-term internships: offering our students relevant work experience that is now so vital when embarking on a graduate job search.
The event was organised by the Salford Business School Employability Hub team, of which I am a part of, alongside my colleagues Pam Mullin and Kerry Moores. The Employability Hub houses two fantastic schemes, Unite with Business and Business Innovation Projects, which give our students and graduates access to short-term opportunities within a wide range of organisations from local small businesses to multinational companies.
The HSBC bank has been criticised for helping its clients to avoid paying tax. Stephen Green, in charge of HSBC at the time, is an ordained Christian priest.
Whether or not he knew what was going on, is it right to help the rich avoid paying tax? Is it moral? Is it in line with the Christian – or any other – faith?
I share Stephen Green’s Christian faith but I approach such questions from a multi-aspectual point of view – which incidentally helps me see why Stephen Green’s book, Good value, is somewhat limited in its outlook.
In my time as an employer I’ve probably interviewed thousands of people, which would mean I’ve seen ten times as many CVs. Though the stats tell us we are seeing more jobs appearing, today’s labour market still demands pushing every opportunity to its limit; which means writing better CVs, making the most out of your experience, and preparing as best you can for any interviews you’re invited to.
This is doubly important for students of Computer Science, who have recorded an 11% rise in undergraduate enrolment in the last academic year, the joint highest with Biological Sciences, where the recorded average across all subjects was a 2% decrease.
This tells us that though the overall job market is on the up, when it comes to software development, the long-celebrated surplus of available jobs is starting to narrow. There always has been, and will continue to be serious competition. The astute job seekers (the ones reading this blog) will put themselves ahead of the curve and make sure they’re in the best position possible.
I used to lock the doors if my Master of Business Administration (MBA) students were more than 10 minutes late for a lecture and not let them in until the break.
Not that I am confrontational, although students that I have worked with during a wide-ranging career that has spanned both the Higher Education (HE) and Further Education (FE) sectors always know where they stand with me – probably because I am a blunt spoken Northerner.
Born and bred in Bolton – North West England- and being the first member of my family to go on to attend university full-time, I am always there for my students – unusually often giving them my personal mobile number: 07815 491 522.
Originally an accountant, I gave this up after a couple of years for a career “with a buzz”. That happened to be education and now many years later that buzz still remains!
The reason for the potential student lockouts was because at that time I was working for a for-profit private education provider, who being American owned their own set of rules and standards for the courses they ran to ensure their students got the “biggest bang for their bucks”.
Silicon Valley has become a synonym for innovation and with its ecosystem of super venture capitalists it is world renowned as a hub for new products and software. However, as we teach on the digital innovation module for The Salford MBA: Digital Business, recent developments suggest that the tide of innovation is turning towards Europe.
Investments such as the £1m raised locally by Wakelet in December 2014 and TransferWise’s $58m in Janaury 2015 suggests that European startups are finally starting to attract interest on a global scale.
Innovation ecosystems and the start up market was studied by the University of Salford for the INNOPOLIS project. A key conclusion from the project and a critical success factor for innovation and startups cultures is the importance of University City Region. These are places where there is a concentration of intellectual capital and high levels of “risk happy” funding.
We line up the US and European situations in a head to head comparison of the key success factors for a startup…
Achieving the accolade of Business School of the Year at the Times Higher Education Awards and running their first Creative Entrepreneur event at MediaCityUK concluded a tremendously successful 2014 for Salford Business School.
The University of Salford’s mission to ‘transform lives, stimulate discovery and realise potential’ is reflected in Salford Business School’s commitment to support economic regeneration – regionally, nationally and internationally. Recognising the critical role small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play in innovation, advancement and sustainable development worldwide, Salford Business School declared 2014 the ‘Year of the SME’. Throughout the year, Salford Business School staff have focused their efforts on delivering expert advice, addressing skills gaps and facilitating access to finance, networks and resource opportunities for SMEs.
Research, innovation and skills gaps can cause real issues for SMEs. Having access to bright, enthusiastic talent can really make the difference. At Salford Business School, there is a very strong commitment to employability skills and an emphasis on activity based learning with real world application. Internships and placements are a proven way to inject new ideas and experience into a business – both the student and business benefit hugely. Creative Entrepreneur – Next Generation 2014 represented a culmination and celebration of this amazing year and the creative ability and ingenuity of SMEs locally and internationally.
Partnerships across organisations are often the most effective way to solve complex social and global problems. However, as many project managers know, whilst managing a team of individuals from one organisation can be a challenge in itself, bringing together a team across multiple organisations across different countries and cultures brings an extra level of complications and demands.
The ultimate benefit of working with multi skilled and multi disciplinary teams more often than not outweighs the difficulties encountered, as they are the only way that complex problems can be resolved. This is recognised in the ever-increasing number of business initiatives, both government and private that are being launched with international partnerships and collaboration at their heart.
Salford Business School is one such organisation that has benefited substantially from international project collaborations. Most notable are the European teams, which attract funding from the European Commission. Some of the challenges addressed by these projects include – Enterprise Cultural Heritage Management, Employability: Learning through International Entrepreneurship, Business Culture guides in 31 European countries, Innovation policy in University City Regions and Joint European Masters in Digital and Social Media Marketing.
So, what lessons can be derived from partnership management? Here are five key ingredients based on my experience as Enterprise Development Manager (European Projects Manager) at Salford Business School:
Google have decided to stop providing security updates for older Android Operating System devices, which could account for 60% of users, over a billion mobile phone and tablet users. There was no official announcement to notify all the users affected and suggest a way forward.
A smart phone operating system (OS) is essentially the software that provides the “brains” for a device that makes the phone “smart”. Like a book without content, a mobile phone without an operating system is not much use.
Android phones and tablets have grown exponentially in popularity since 2009 when android only had 4% of the market. Since 2014, it has become the dominant player with over 84% market share when comparing the main six competitors on the market. This is at the time when smart phone penetration is reaching new levels with 70% of population predicted to have access to a mobile device by 2017. This is one of the reasons that mobile application development is increasingly taught at universities on courses such as our Business Information Technology course.
As this is my first alumni blog post I will avoid bragging about my career highlights and achievements since graduating from Salford Business School. I find in business life that however successful you are, there’s always someone more successful who has more success stories to share. Leaving that superiority complex locked up frees me to reflect on one of the key skills in my career development that I found vital to all my business ventures, most recently as Chief Executive Officer of Oman Trading International.
What is this secret ingredient in business success? I like using the term “the human element” and this is what I intend to share with my fellow University of Salford mates, my two cents or two pence.
In the age of social media, we tend to brush-off that simple yet significant aspect of our daily life which of course affects both our personal and business life. Personally, I have found that it is essential for anyone serious about achieving anything in life – to pay attention to the importance of harnessing this simple variable to their advantage.