In the run-up to our client-focused Rocket conference, we have been talking to our digital-specialist speakers to find out who they are and what they think.
Who are you and what what do you do?
I’m a researcher and UX designer. I am currently doing a PhD in Human-Computer interaction at UCL Interaction Centre in London. My research focuses on understanding how we could use technology to help people form medication-taking habits so they do not have to rely on reminders.
Why do you do what you do?
Because it’s rewarding, challenging, and fun! I always wanted to be a scientist, and HCI combined with behaviour change/habit research is an interesting field to be in.
What is your biggest achievement?
There are many things I’ve done that I’m proud of, although in retrospect it feels like the big things aren’t really that big and the best is yet to happen. Last year, for example, I presented a paper at the biggest conference in my field. It was a big deal then, but I did it again this year and suddenly it feels normal. Similarly, I got a black belt in Choi Kwang Do a few years ago and it was amazing, but in June I’m going for the 2nd degree black belt, and so that old achievement seems trivial now.
What is the most important skill to have working in digital today?
Empathy towards your users and your teammates, and curiosity. Thanks to them you can design better products that meet your users needs and build a better team where everyone feels welcome. And, of course, good communication skills -- but I’ll be talking about that in my presentation.
What is your prediction for our digital future?
That whatever we predict will turn out to be wrong. Although it looks like we’re getting closer to the point where digital teams will become more diverse and so will start designing better products. I would like to see the future where technology we build works well for everyone, including women and people with dark skin/tattoos (I’m looking at you, Apple Watch).
Who is a key inspiration to you?
This is a question I always struggle with. There was never a person I looked up to and thought “wow, I want to be like them”, or “they did X, so that means Y is possible and I will do it too!” There are people whose work I admire and who are inspiring in one way or another (e.g. Frida Kahlo, Caroline Herschel), but none of them are actually a key inspiration to me. This may or may not be a good thing, I don’t know.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to read. At any time I tend to read 4-5 books and switch between them depending on my mood and location. I also do martial arts, dance (swing and charleston), and occasionally go indoor climbing.
Tell us about a website that we HAVE to check out.
Do silly mobile games count? Because I’m currently obsessed with Neko Atsume. My cats say hello :3
You can hear Katarzyna Stawarz talk about the importance of people skills in the digital world at Rocket 15 on Thursday 4 June at Austin Court, Birmingham.
Register for your free ticket here.