Dereck Johnson portrait

Hello, I’m Dereck

I’m a design leader with a proven track record of successfully building and leading teams that deliver award-winning user experiences. Currently, I’m working full-time as Head of UX at FutureLearn, where I lead the delivery of world-class online education user experience across FutureLearn’s products. 

I play a strategic role in aligning user needs and business goals, to influence product strategy and vision. Helping others to see products through the eyes of real people, to understand context, motivations and user needs – based on empathy, data and insight. All with the aim of breaking down complex problems, providing clarity of understanding which help to deliver simple human-centred and business-focused solutions.

My full CV and career history is available on LinkedIn.

Role as a design leader

Team leadership

Using empathy to know when to support and when to challenge team members, I aim to help individuals define objectives, work towards them and deliver results to the best of their abilities. I look to encourage teams to explore, develop and deliver award-winning user experiences.

Design leadership

I take responsibility for providing clear, focused direction for design outcomes and maintaining consistency while also encouraging experimentation. I champion user-centric behaviour, embedding an evidence-based approach, informed by research, data and empathy, to influence decision making. Working alongside other disciplines, such as insights and engineering teams to identify pain points and uncover opportunities. Collaboration is key to developing a design strategy and vision that the whole team and company can get behind.

Key behaviours I try to uphold

  • Empower others to do their best work by exploring opportunities without losing focus on the day-to-day work.
  • Foster a culture of close collaboration and lean, iterative development.
  • Lead continuous development of UX design working practices.
  • Uphold and champion UX design principles, ensuring that we live up to them.
  • Maintain a consistent user experience across all products and services.
  • Work with the product leadership to establish useful, user experience benchmarks, by which we can hold ourselves accountable and measure success.
  • Be open about motivations and objectives and how I’m working towards them. 

Latest thoughts

Welcome 2022

A new calendar year marks the start of another lap around our celestial star. What will this year bring? Who knows, as that would just be guessing and I’m not one for making big predictions.

My lists from 2021

It’s customary at this time of year to reflect on the year and provide some sort of clever predictions about the year to come. I think most would agree that 2021 has not been an outstanding year. For all those that made it this far, congratulations and I hope you had a good festive break?

Do/Pause Workshop

Last year I attended the one day Do Pause workshop and it has proved to be one of the most valuable events I’ve ever attended and Robert Poynton is a superb facilitator. The day left me with a whole host of practical things I could put into practice straight away, along with deeper things to take away to think about. Over the year since the workshop, I’ve been practising many of the lessons learned, introducing different pauses, all of which I’ve felt has provided me with a slower, more thoughtful way to see things.