About

Yes, so writing about yourself...

...is always a bit awkward. Hence, I will (try to…) keep it short.

The short version is: I'm an Amsterdam-based UX designer & researcher with a focus on website- and app-optimization, working for debijenkorf.nl. This is me :-)

Kamil van Buuren - UX designer and researcher

(All credits for the photo go to my cousin, photographer, cameraman and steadicam operator: Erwan van Buuren.)

My goal is to make useful, usable digital products, that look good. In that order :-)

Preferably, I do that by iterating over UX research and UX design; quickly learning about the new concept or design/ prototype.

But how did I get to be that?

How it all started: HTML-magic

I 'fell in love with the internet’ in 1999, when discovering a HTML-how-to, in the last chapter of a syllabus, in my first year of mass communication studies at the University of Amsterdam.

Typing up stuff, that created something on your screen, was simply magical :-)

Then I discovered De Digitale Stad (DDS) and I had reached the point of no return.

Blackboard-support, PHP, MySQL and a CMS

During my studies I started working as a Blackboard-supporter for students and teachers at the university (electronic learning environments were pretty new back then, I can tell you: support was needed :-)

Next to that I learned more about HTML and CSS, discovered PHP (and a little ColdFusion), MySQL and started building a CMS that I used for small projects.

Thesis: internet, music and copyright

To finish my Masters in mass communication, I wrote a thesis on internet, music and copyright in 2006: 'Is this copy right?' (PDF, in Dutch), combining the two things I like a lot: internet and music (I play the violin).

Product owner and a first wireframe

Meanwhile I had shifted from Blackboard-supporter to something we would nowadays probably call 'product owner of the CMS used within the University of Amsterdam' (back then it was called 'functioneel beheerder' in Dutch; I have no clue how that would translate to English :-)

Looking back, I now realize that was the first time I actually worked with a ‘wireframe’. When explaining the possibilities of our CMS-skin to (internal) clients, me and my colleague noticed we would always end up talking about the colors, images and fonts of some example-skin we showed.

To take those elements out of the equation, we came up with an ‘empty skin’. It only had lines, outlining the different content- and navigation-components of the templates. A wireframe before I knew it existed :-)

Consulting, designing and user research

After a break in 2009, allowing for a world trip, I continued in a new area in 2010: consulting, interaction designing and user research at the internet consultancy firm Jungle Minds.

That's where I really got to learn about usability testing, interaction design and prototyping. A whole new workfield opened up and I quickly got submerged in interviewing users of our clients and communicating my findings and solutions in Axure-built wireframes.

This was also the moment I realised that my childhood wish of becoming an architect and working as a UX designer were closely related. I knew chances were big I was on the right path :-)

Mobile

In that same period, I got hooked on mobile and started learning about responsive design, native apps, mobile website, webapps, etc. I also wrote about it: Mobile marketing: app of mobiele website? (Dutch-alert).

E-commerce: debijenkorf.nl

And then in 2012 came the opportunity to completely focus on e-commerce at debijenkorf.nl, combining UX design with AB-testing. Apart from being a new challenge, it was also a kind of 'back to where I came from': building AB-tests meant coding again! And now with a new framework at the time (for me at least): jQuery.

And that's where I'm at now: combining UX design & research at deBijenkorf.nl in an iterative, agile process. I see it as my challenge to discover our guests' wishes, needs and expectations and to design the digital experience accordingly.

Inspiration

A few years ago, I read this sentence:

no one cares about your website but you

And I always try to keep that in mind. Sadly, I don't remember where I read that sentence (I wasn't using Evernote yet, back then ;-), but not long ago I stumbled upon this one: Nobody Wants To Use Your Product, which tells about the same story. For me, this is a constant reminder of the question: 'Is this thing I'm designing relevant to the person who's going to use this thing I'm designing?'

A book, or framework, that will always be in the back of my head is: Elements of User Experience. That may be one of the best books on the subject, linking strategy and visual design in a very comprehensible manner.

And then there are the people, with very useful blogs, that I consider thought leaders in this area: Brad Frost and LukeW. And (of course, I would say): Jakob Nielsen and Steve Krug.

On a more personal level

As I mentioned before: music is a large part of my life. I play the violin and even started a conservatory-adventure, but also decided to end that after a year. The violin is still there though, and I regularly play in orchestras, even on the streets in summer :-)

I really enjoy tennis and when I have the time, I like to read De Correspondent or watch VPRO Tegenlicht. And I discovered Wait But Why not so long ago, that quickly turned into one of my favorites.

I've been very lucky to have had 'the gift' of two additional languages: French (with a real 'Française' as a mother) and English (bilingual education in high school). So I get around very well in those three: Dutch, English and French.

Oh yes, and I live and work in beautiful Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Congrats...

...with reaching the bottom! I'm glad you kept on reading or scrolling :-) Maybe you are interested in reading my blog post on what UX is...?

Or have a look at this: