A design pioneer whose career has already included influential contributions to business, design, marketing, software and user experience, Kelly Jura is driven by the way that people experience ideas.
Her deep knowledge of how consumer behaviors, perceptions, and user interaction with technology affect design has led to multiple design patents, industry accolades, and the publication of her thinking in journals and magazines, including the Design Management Institute Journal and User Experience Magazine.
DMI:Review named Kelly as a trailblazer in their 2023 Design and Diverse Design Team Leaders list for global corporations. Under her leadership, she helped brand and launch an innovative healthtech company and is currently focused on making communication and knowledge-sharing more accessible through video at ScreenPal.
She also has run a couple of Master Classes for IxDF on user journey mapping – one of Kelly’s favorite activities. Kelly enjoys talking about the impact of a good employee experience (EX) on the end-user experience.
In this interview with Kelly you’ll find:
💥The story of rebranding Screencast-O-Matic to ScreenPal, its challenges, and the research behind it
🎥Insights into the evolving landscape of video communication
🗺️Expert tips for effective user journey mapping
💼Kelly’s definition of a good Employee Experience and strategies to cultivate it
💛Tips for fostering empathy-driven practices in UX design
…and so much more! Let’s get started 👇
Table of contents
Rebranding ScreenPal, Kelly’s Vision and the Evolution of Video Communication
Can you tell us a bit more about your current role? What are the main things you’re working on daily at ScreenPal?
I am the Vice President of Brand and User Experience at ScreenPal, a company dedicated to the development of tools that empower individuals to capture, create, and share their ideas through personalized video content.
In my role, I collaborate closely with our business, marketing, and development teams to ensure that every product we produce, including our desktop software, mobile apps, web platform, and Chrome extension, is designed with consistency and optimized for user success.
I am committed to creating impactful and meaningful experiences that help our users achieve their goals, and love our product and brand.
Given your background in advertising, how have your experiences in both the creative and research sides of the industry shaped your approach to design and user experience? Are there any specific lessons or insights from advertising that you’ve carried into your current role?
My background in advertising set the trajectory for my career. I was fortunate to witness the creative aspects of that business as well as the research. My curiosity was always about how people experience ideas.
When discussing user experience, it is common for the focus to be limited to digital products. However, I believe that user experience encompasses every interaction a person has with your company. It extends beyond just the digital realm and includes elements such as brand, advertising, and the often-overlooked human element.
Considering the entirety of the user lifecycle is crucial because it encompasses various aspects that go beyond the digital product alone. By taking a holistic approach, we can better understand how each touchpoint influences the overall user experience.
By adopting a comprehensive view of user experience, we can create meaningful and impactful interactions that create lasting relationships with our users.
Can you share a project or achievement that you are especially proud of and explain why it’s significant in the context of your work?
Over the past several years, I have worked to rebrand Screencast-O-Matic to ScreenPal. The once descriptive “Screencast-O-Matic” name had practical challenges and did not fit the long-term vision or represent the evolution of the company and product suite. Amongst fans, it was difficult to say and type. It raised credibility issues with potential customers, especially on the business side, where we were less known.
Luckily, the leadership team understood the misalignment between the name, the company, and the suite of products we had become. We were also committed and willing to devote the time and effort necessary to connect with customers and craft a brand that would resonate. Over the last several years, we conducted global brand research to learn more about user sentiment and to pressure-test our potential ways of responding to that learning. We launched ScreenPal earlier this year, and overall, the user feedback has been positive.
I am particularly proud of this, as the rebrand was a full team effort. It required trust and dedication. It isn’t every day that you can rename and rebrand a company operating in 190 countries with millions of users. It is an exciting time.
You are a professional specifically focused on understanding how people experience ideas. Can you elaborate a little on what you mean by that and how you do it?
I am passionate about consistent experiences that help people achieve their goals. With an early career focus in advertising, marketing, and brand strategy, I enjoy understanding how people experience ideas throughout the product lifecycle. This requires data, observation, and active listening.
At ScreenPal, we are fortunate to receive thoughtful insights directly from our users. These insights help us uncover pain points and iterate to improve the experience.
As a team, we also often reference journey maps where we map the entire experience….
You’re working on making communication and knowledge-sharing more accessible through video at ScreenPal. Can you share some insights into how the user experience of video communication is evolving, and what opportunities and challenges you see in this space?
I have seen a quick adoption of async video communication. Pre-pandemic, we had a devoted user base who consistently created and shared content. However, it was also evident that a significant number of people felt uncomfortable or lacked confidence in recording and sharing videos.
With the sudden shift to remote school and work, video communication became an essential means to maintain human connection. During the early days of the pandemic, the entire ScreenPal team rallied together, providing support and assistance to help organizations transition smoothly.
We encountered educators and individuals accustomed to working in traditional school or office settings reaching out with awe-inspiring comments like, “I never thought I could create a video, and now I am a believer.” Those comments truly resonated with me.
Thankfully, the push to use asynchronous video has helped people realize its unique value. They not only gain access to a new tool but also develop the confidence to effectively use it.
User Journey Mapping, Good Employee Experience, and the Role of Empathy
You mentioned user journey mapping as one of your favorite activities, could you share some expert tips on how to approach this process and make it more effective?
User journey mapping is one of my favorite tools. It’s important to note that user journey mapping is a skill that can be developed and practiced. A few points that can help you make your journey maps actionable and successful:
- Understand and align on the problems that you are trying to solve for your organization. After you have alignment on the problem, you can prioritize your personas and journeys. Then, shift the focus from the business to the user.
- Journey maps should be based on data and insights.
- Don’t get hung up on making them pixel-perfect! (At least not to start… you can make them beautiful after, if needed.) These should be functional.
- Include all touchpoints in the journey, including those outside the app or digital experience. Don’t forget about the employee interactions in the experience! That human element is very important.
- Journey mapping is ongoing – audit and update often.
Finally, you should share the document with the team. Journey maps provide focus and align your team around common goals.
How do you personally define a good employee experience, and what key factors in your opinion contribute to creating it within an organization?
A good employee experience includes a strong sense of purpose. When employees feel valued and understand the impact of their contributions, they are motivated to deliver exceptional experiences to those they serve.
It is essential for every employee to recognize how their role directly influences and benefits the end user. Further, if employees feel a sense of ownership over their work, they will seize opportunities to grow with the company.
Employee experience, like user experience, evolves and needs constant attention. Often people will examine their EX when there is a problem to solve, like a merger, acquisition or layoffs. In reality, EX should be monitored and improved through programs like those that we see in product development.
Organizations that fail to do so will see culture take shape organically. That might produce some good qualities, but it certainly can take an unintended form.
By treating employee experience as a priority and adopting a mindset of constant improvement, organizations can actively shape their culture and create an environment where employees feel engaged, motivated, and valued. This can have a profound impact on productivity, talent retention, and business success.
In your opinion, what role does empathy play in the field of user experience design, and how do you encourage empathy-driven design practices within your team?
We are fortunate to have engaged users. One of the best ways to encourage that empathy is to meet with people and listen to their stories. Actively seeking out customer feedback not only allows us to gather insights and identify potential areas for improvement but also encourages empathy.
By approaching problems with empathy, it ultimately expands our perspective and enhances our ability to meet our users’ needs effectively.
With your diverse background spanning design, marketing, and software, how do you approach interdisciplinary collaboration within your team at ScreenPal? What strategies do you use to ensure effective communication and synergy among different departments?
While I do have a diverse background, I also try to be self-aware enough to understand where I have weaknesses. By tapping into the collective experiences and expertise of each team member, we all grow and produce better products. We leverage the diverse strengths and perspectives of our team to drive creativity and innovation.
There are a few strategies that help set us up for success:
- We prioritize open and transparent communication, actively encouraging the sharing of ideas.
- We are Team ScreenPal first, and our specific role second. This is an important distinction because we are all on the same team. We actively try to remove silos.
- On that note, we recognize the importance of periodically “resetting” to realign on shared objectives and goals. By regularly revisiting and reaffirming our common purpose, we enhance our focus and ensure that everyone is moving in the same direction.
Women in UX
What do you think is the best part of being a woman in the UX/tech industry?
I love what I do and enjoy bringing my unique voice and perspective to meetings. My approach (in collaboration with my multidisciplinary team) creates the perfect blend of empathy and science to solve problems. I realize how important it is for women to have their voices heard. Our decisions inform the future of technology and design. It benefits everyone when that future is more inclusive.
Personally, I enjoy challenging gender stereotypes. I’ve had the privilege of connecting with other like-minded women in technology and celebrating their tremendous successes. Let’s continue to lift each other up, shine a light on the amazing work being accomplished, and advocate for inclusivity.
What is your message to other people in the UX industry?
UX designers and researchers have a huge responsibility. When done well, we can help our users achieve their goals and grow our companies in the process. It’s important not to forget the value of good insights and good design. Don’t lose sight of it; advocate for it. And, whenever possible, bring others into the process. Multidisciplinary teams fuel innovation.