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BIMA 100: 2022 | James Fox

BIMA 100 2022

This year’s BIMA 100 once again recognises the leading minds in Europe’s digital industry and champions their ability to inspire change. It’s not an accolade for specific projects or successes, but for thought-leadership and their roles as digital visionaries.

We’re very pleased to introduce our Experience Director, James Fox, who has been included in 2022’s list—we spoke to him about the deserved inclusion to get his thoughts:

What does it mean to you to be recognised as one of the individuals who is shaping the future of Europe’s digital industry?

‘Flattered’ is probably the main feeling, but there is a feeling of sadness that, as an industry, we need to champion people for simply advocating for accessibility and inclusion. In all honesty, I wish this wasn’t something to be recognised for and that it was just part of everything we do. As the parent of a disabled child, I see the positives, but also the gaps and failures in so many systems within our society and how widespread our apathy towards access can be. So, when you think about it, it isn’t a big surprise that we have the same problems in our industry. To return to my first point though, I do feel flattered because if my passion and the passion of others is going to make a difference, then that is why we do it.

How did you feel when you found out you’d made the list?

Surprised. I had no idea anyone had nominated me. I am a very introverted person, so any form of award has never been a driver for me, but to discover you are receiving one is a lovely feeling.

What do you love about being part of the digital industry right now?

We have the opportunity to make stuff that gives people more independence. It's the movement in thinking from user experience to human experience. Considering all users within our design process. Digital spaces and the services being built can improve people’s lives by building products that don’t block access to users. The web opens up new ways to shop, helping people find better prices and also removing any blockers to access found in physical experiences. Software can help people express themselves in ways they couldn’t before. We can design content in a way that doesn’t exclude users and actively looks to represent and include all audiences.

What’s the greatest thing we can do as an industry to build a world that works better for everyone?

Stop rushing. By that, I mean make sure we build from robust foundations. 

In the world of ‘minimum viable product’ and ‘fail fast’, it’s easy to not do the right thing. We focus on something that works rather than something that can last. We often take an MVP and build on top of what was originally created, rather than rebuilding it once it has proven to be a success. By doing that, we can compound issues like accessibility or performance because these considerations weren’t baked in from the start.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their digital career?

Don’t chase progression. I think the industry can sometimes encourage people to chase job titles over experience. Find somewhere that gives you the work you enjoy as well as people and an environment you can learn in—that’s not going to be the same for everyone. 

The other thing I would say, and it is a bit of a cliché, but learn from failing. You learn more from seeing what doesn’t work than what does. This is true of your craft, but also your soft skills. I have learnt so much from experiencing and analysing how a project was run or managed and taking ‘what worked for me’ from that.

What's next for you?

It's a bit boring but just carry on. Working with amazing people to try and deliver on our promise of building a world that works better for everyone. We aren’t perfect, but if we continue to strive on this path, then we should make the change we want to see.
James Fox presenting at Ravensbourne University about inclusive design
James Fox presenting at Ravensbourne University about inclusive design

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