Jason Connelly

After leaving college I went straight to work in a junior design role at a catalogue company. I had always been interested in design and user experience and worked my way up the ranks. This role introduced me to website design, which subsequently opened the field of optimisation.

It was ten years ago when I moved into website optimisation, and at the time it was considered a new area of digital marketing. It was at this point that I learned the basics of optimisation and the positive impact it can have on design, user experience and the overall customer experience. 

Since then, I’ve been passionate about improving the user experience on websites. The more you improve on the experience by removing blockers and pain points, the better chance you have of allowing your customers to achieve their goals while on your website, providing them with a positive overall experience.

How do I do this?  I use a piece of software that allows me to serve a segment of users with the original page layout, and another segment of customers with a new layout; something that is called AB testing. It allows us to identify better page layout, content, imagery and user experience.  Ultimately, it’s the customer that makes the final decision.

I absolutely love my job – I can’t think of any better role to be in.

A normal day for me starts nice and early, I’m an early bird rather than a night owl, I get up, feed our two cocker spaniels Daisy and Coco and take them out for a good morning walk. Then it’s back home for breakfast and the first of many cups of tea, I’m a prolific tea drinker.

Lockdown or not my daily work routine hasn’t really been impacted due to the nature of my work. Yes, we are still currently working from home but the routine of my work day has stayed pretty consistent. I report into head of marketing, Andy Cullwick and am part of the broader marketing team, but my role is unique in that it’s a standalone role.

Testing, testing, testing…

The first thing I like to do in the morning is check on how all of my current tests are running, check on the data to see how it is performing and how the variant looks and performs visually. The nature of my work means I’m constantly running tests, each of them looking at different elements of the website, from wording and imagery to forms and page layout.

I produce weekly reports that highlight what is working well and if something is underperforming I’ll delve into the data to understand what’s causing that. This week for example, I’ve been running a test and it’s been consistently underperforming my expectations. This has been frustrating as I know the new design I put together provides a better experience to what’s currently available. So, I’ve been pondering this, finally after trawling the test data with a fine toothcomb it emerged that certain users accessing our website on certain mobile devices weren’t able to enter their information on an online form. This was only relevant to a really small proportion of our website users so it wasn’t easy to identify – but for those users we weren’t providing the best experience possible.

I always like to try and ensure I take a proper lunch break, eat, enjoy a cuppa, catch up on the news, and do some training with the dogs in the garden. Due to lockdown, they haven’t socialised as much as they would have done otherwise.

I generally spend most of my afternoons looking ahead to what the next test should be, and what we should be looking at.  I’ll then spend time designing the test itself which can go through a few iterations until it reflects exactly what I want. I’ll then run through it with Andy before getting the test set up.

Latest developments

Personalisation of websites to users is what we think is coming up on the horizon. Looking at how we can tailor pages to a certain group of customers, so for example by location; should we talk to people in London differently to those in Scotland or Manchester etc.? Could regional differences in tone or language help us to connect more with users?

As we look ahead to what the future holds for websites it comes down to continuous development of the site, keeping people engaged with and staying longer on the website and to ultimately interact with our offering.

Post-work routine

Once the working day ends, I like to head back out on another walk with the dogs – like so many other people it’s become an art form over the last year! Pre-pandemic we’d head out for dinner some evenings but now we spend the time cooking, which I love. I’m the one who cooks most nights, if not I’ll closely supervise my partner to make sure he’s doing it right! We’re also a bit late to the party but we’ve recently discovered Line of Duty, so we can be found watching that most evenings.



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