CMSWire contributor of 2019, Inge De Bleecker: "It is crucial to design and build usable and enjoyable experiences for everyone, regardless of abilities, origins, likes and desires."

As senior director, user experience and AI at Applause, Inge De Bleecker is an advocate of two mantras: "design for everyone" and "test early and often." In her role at Applause, she oversees global research programs into user experience and is a key player in the company's conversational AI practice. An experienced speaker on both usability and user experience topics, Inge has been working in the field for over 20 years, including early work with speech recognition software. Colleagues note Inge's talents as a mentor and teacher, the latter becoming clear after reading even one of her monthly columns for the site.

Opportunities to Learn Come in All Shapes and Sizes

What's your proudest accomplishment — personal or professional — from 2019?

Professionally, I am proud of my CX/UX research team and their accomplishments in what has been a year of change. Personally I’ve been practicing my fire building survival skills.

What gives you hope in the tech world today?

We’re finally seeing increased focus on inclusive design. As the digital world becomes our world as much, if not more, than the physical world, it is crucial to design and build usable and enjoyable experiences for everyone, regardless of abilities, origins, likes and desires.  

Which of the articles you wrote for CMSWire this year was your favorite and why?

2020 Vision: 3 Customer Experience Trends We’ll See in the New Year." I can’t wait to see what 2020 brings and how my predictions compare with reality.

If you could wake up tomorrow and be an expert in one thing, what would it be and why?

Data science. I am a qualitative researcher; I chose the qualitative path because I am interested in the “why,” not just the “what.” I don’t regret the choice, yet there is so much data available today that we can learn from. If I could wake up tomorrow and be a Python expert, I’d be a very happy camper.

What is your favorite part of the work you do?

I am blessed with the variety that my work offers me on a daily basis, from interacting with customers and leading a team, to getting my hands dirty and writing articles. I love the work I do and find it difficult to pick a favorite part.

What's an important story you'll be tracking in 2020?

The election. Politics have a significant impact on the economy. Understanding where politics are headed helps determine both business and customer experience strategy.

What advice would you give someone starting out in your field today?

There are so many opportunities to learn and they come in all shapes and sizes. Take an online (or physical) course. Join meetups. And practice, practice, practice.