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Jessica Brown on the Co-Evolution of Culture and Tech
December 13, 2021 11:46 AM
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Jessica Brown Keynote Speaker VICE Media UX Design

Jessica Brown is one of Gravity Speakers exclusive speakers with a passion for blending technology with design to create great experiences for people. She is the director of UX at VICE Media where she gets to put her passion to the test with VICE’s expansive collection of brands across the globe. She is intrigued by using technology to deliver value to both the user and the brand. Hardware and software are changing social norms, and Jessica is passionate about bridging the gap and shaping the future.

The Dance of Change

The world is taking part in a peculiar dance. Technology is changing society which, in turn, changes the development of technology. This movement unfolding between society and technology is enchanting to watch.  For those of us who work in technology and design, where "the dance" captivates us most is with the simultaneous convergence of technologies. Jessica is in charge of making sure the user experience is the perfect interface of technology, information, and human interaction. Change is not about sharp shifts and innovation, it is about adoption and nuance.

Math With a Purpose

Jessica was initially interested in math and the creative application of it which led her to the study of computer science. Later, she realized she wanted to connect the science to people in a closer way and just programming wasn’t enough. This brought her to work in design and UX (User Experience). In this field, she could directly engage people with the interface of information and technology and drive real-time value to the end user. This put purpose to the math and science she had grown to love. In a world of technology-driven business, this work ensures technology doesn’t separate people and processes, but pulls them closer together. This is what she considers math with a purpose.

Experience-Based Design

As the love affair of business and technology develops, organizations are now focused on delivering experiences that matter. In order to do this, the process must start in design. Brand experiences are not something you can add on at the end as an afterthought. When working on the redesign of VICE’s brands Jessica first brought in users and observed how they interacted with the brand. Instead of designing what she thought they may like using her expertise and experience, she engaged them and observed them, designing experiences around how they wanted to access information. This is what user-based design thinking is all about.

Creating amazing experiences starts and ends with the user. As Stephen Covey said in his best-selling book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “Begin with the end in mind”. This couldn’t hold truer than when designing experiences for users. The key to creating a holistic brand experience is tuning in to what drives users and how users want your brand interface to be. Jessica did this across 12 distinct brands all under the VICE umbrella which spanned over 30 countries - not your regular “rebrand”. It allowed her to show the masterful execution of her user-led design strategy.

Redesigning the World

The world is evolving, but design can direct the evolution. When I asked Jessica what drives her and what impact she wants to have, she talked about freedom, democracy, human rights, and the net impact of our contributions. I can’t think of a better way to contribute than by optimizing user experiences so individuals can access the information that can challenge them to think differently, raise their awareness, and make it shareable with others. It all starts with design. We talked about the idea of designing for good and being mission-driven, and for someone like me who knows the deep impact of good design, it is awesome to know people like Jessica Brown are working hard behind the scenes on behalf of millions of users around the globe, ensuring the brand’s value is delivered. We are proud to have her as an exclusive speaker with Gravity Speakers and you will be proud to have her speak at your next event as we watch technology and culture evolve.

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