Interview by Dan Selman, CTO Clause Inc.
Michael, you are a User Experience (UX) designer at Clause. What attracted you to Clause?
I was attracted to Clause because seizing the opportunity to disrupt how we use contracts — the backbone of all commerce — seemed like a no brainer. It’s exciting be a part of something that can improve the way people around the world do business.
I was also attracted to the fact that Clause is a smart contract company. With blockchain being so hot right now, everyone is throwing around the term smart contract, and most of the time it sounds like marketing fluff. I like that Clause is actually making contracts smarter, so we have a valid claim to the term.
What are some of the particular UX challenges the Clause platform has to solve?
Any product that deals with contracts has to be unambiguous, because if the user makes a mistake there can be deep repercussions for them. There is a great deal of legal contract terminology that is very specific in its meaning, but the meaning is not always clear to the layperson. When designing the user experience, we have to decide whether to use legal terminology even if its meaning isn’t clear, or if we should use plain language even if its meaning isn’t as specific.
Can you briefly summarize your philosophy and approach to UX design? What defines a good UX?
I believe that good user experience design is invisible. A successful interface doesn’t attract attention. It stays out of the way and lets the user effortlessly do what they came to do and get back to their life. If someone notices an interface, it’s probably because they are frustrated with it.
What do you like to do when you aren’t defining great user experiences?
I love participating in hackathons. My favorite hackathon is Startup Bus, an annual week long startup building competition on a moving bus. Last year at Startup Bus I worked on a funeral planning app called Daisy, and my team won! I’d recommend Startup Bus to everyone, it’s a life changing experience.
My favorite exercise is rock climbing. It doesn’t even feel like exercise because the challenges and triumphs distract from the exhaustion. I’ve met a lot of great friends and gone to a lot of cool locale through the sport.
I have a background in fine arts so I also enjoy going to art events and galleries in New York City.