Books, Chess and starting at Torchbox

Kyle Magee our new Junior UX Architect shares his first month at Torchbox and why he wanted to become a UX-er.

It all started with a good book. The founder of the whole UX industry and movement was a cognitive psychologist and engineer named Don Norman. It was Don’s book “The design of everyday things”  that inspired me to forge a path into the industry. 

I’ve always enjoyed games that involved strategy and empathy. I would play chess with my grandad for hours at a time without getting bored. It was the thrill of putting myself in my grandad’s shoes to try and understand (and sometimes successfully guess) what move he might do next that excited me about the game. Empathy is vital to UX, so oddly enough I think it was this little hobby I shared with my grandad that really kickstarted my interest in empathising with users and strategically planning like a UXer.


Check Mate?

Why did you want to work at Torchbox?

To me, digital will always be a means to an end. A tool for solving problems society faces, a tool for educating us, connecting us, and helping people explore the complexity of life’s mysteries and obstacles. That is why I chose to work at Torchbox, to be surrounded by people who understand the true value of digital. The problems it solves for the people behind the code.

What did you expect and what have your first impressions of working at Torchbox been?

Before coming to Torchbox I completed an MSc in business psychology which focused on best practices for things like work culture, employee motivation and well being. As you can imagine, my expectations about what work should be like were set high. Without hesitation, I can say that I have found a company who understands the balance between expecting high standards and commitment while supporting employees to sustain that dedication over time.

happy people

We really are friendly!

It was Torchbox’s taken-for-granted rules, routines and rituals that I wanted to know about before committing to working here. So, as any good psychologist does, I scoured through Torchbox’s case studies and blog posts to look for patterns in how staff talked about their work and the values they expressed through it.

Ironically, the first blog post I read happened to be by Tom Saunders (now my line-manager). Writing with a sense of reflexivity and authenticity, Tom painted a picture of “life as a UX architect” at Torchbox that was challenging, but filled with purposeful work and the crucial support to grow and practice lifelong learning. Thankfully, when I walked into the office and met everyone for the first time, I could see the reality matched up with my high expectations.

What do you think are the benefits of working here?

  1. It's democratic. There is a sense of hierarchy like in all organisations, but if you have a point you believe in and can support it, management are open to looking at things from a new perspective.
  2. It’s friendly. I think that sense of democracy really comes from a general friendly atmosphere in the office that makes a huge difference to how enjoyable work is.  
  3. A strong community. One of the two Torchbox offices being in Bristol means you get to live in a vibrant city with a growing community of other great UXers and digital innovators.

How would you recommend Torchbox to a friend?

Torchbox is full of highly skilled people, who are open-minded and share that rare sense of community. It’s a place where you are given freedom and respect to develop new skills and ideas, but the support to grow and master your niche. A place where people can channel their energy into projects that make a positive difference in the world. We spend most of our lives at work. We probably even see our colleagues more than our partners and family. Make sure you find a place like Torchbox that understands the importance of making work a place of ideas, growth, meaningful work and open-mindedness.

If you' d like to work with international, ethical clients then we'd love to meet you. Take a look at our jobs page

Kyle Magee

Kyle MageeUX Architect