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Al Jones, aged 30, from Cheddleton in Staffordshire, is a Senior UX Designer there and is currently working on the Own It app, to help improve children’s online wellbeing.

We were proud to see our Senior UX Designer, (and UX Trainee Alumni) Al Jones, presenting a preview of the app to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today @KensingtonRoyal – alongside @BBC Director General, Tony Hall and the Director of BBC Children's, Alice Webb.The app has been designed to help improve young people’s online wellbeing when getting their first smartphone and taking their first steps into the digital world. Al said: “I studied Computer Science at the University and got really interested in digital design and art during my degree. The wellbeing app we have designed is part of the BBC’s commitment to supporting young people in today’s changing media environment. It will provide a helping hand to youngsters getting their first smartphone and taking their first steps online and on social media, to ensure they have a healthy experience in the digital world.”

He added: “In the six years since I have been with the corporation, I have contributed to various digital products and initiatives. I also co-lead the company’s Design Trainee Scheme, which helps to bring new and diverse design talent into the organisation.”

The app was announced last year at an event with Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, where Al provided a demonstration of it, alongside Director General, Tony Hall.

Al said: “We demonstrated a prototype of the app to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to show them our progress in its design and development, and to signify our commitment to supporting young people online. The demonstration was filmed and photographed by the royal press pool at the corporation’s central London offices, as part of the Duke's visit about his Cyberbullying Taskforce.”

Al has also been studying for his PhD at the University, which involves researching how people work and collaborate together in the design and engineering industry in organisations. He said: “It’s a really topical area of debate about how User Centred Design can integrate with Agile Software Development processes, and in particular how designers and developers can collaborate effectively together.”

Al’s PhD supervisor, Professor Nick Avis, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Knowledge Transfer) and Provost of Thornton Science Park, said: “While studying for his PhD,  Al has conducted numerous pairing studies involving designers and developers. This has resulted in insights and recommendations as to how to support the interaction of an app, quality of code and user experience and productivity. His research has been painstakenly undertaken and his findings have widespread application for teams developing such apps.”


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