2001 – 2007:
Can you balance the operational restrictions of an organisation with the needs of a consumer? Creative and UX Direction at Advocacy Online made me realise that digital strategy meant having the broadest possible knowledge of digital and business processes as well as an understanding of user experience. I had to learn creative problem solving, client management, user engagement, information architecture and how to lead a team.
Advocacy Online was a start-up new media agency. There were very few of us, but we built an award winning online software called E-activist that allowed charities to create letter writing campaigns, targeting MPs, PCTs and other local decision-makers. The client list was vast, with 60+ charities and pharmas across the UK and Canada, including WWF, Oxfam and Schering-Plough. I learned client management on my feet. My digital product design skills improved – I designed the interface, built the front-end and trained clients in how to create the most effective campaigns. It was a tough market, so my understanding of how to engage an audience through digital campaigns grew dramatically over the 6 years I worked as a creative director. UX was also my domain. By writing training manuals for the experience I had designed I had a double-whammy in user engagement education.
It was during this phase of my career that I was introduced to designing for healthcare, through pharmaceutical clients such as Schering-Plough and Allergan and patient groups such as Breast Cancer Care. We developed a platform to help doctors get funding for the drugs they needed for their patients as well as working with patient groups who wanted better funding for their chronic illness areas and to raise awareness about the issues sufferers were facing. This is my passion; improving healthcare through service and product design.