Interview with our MD Mariana Morris on the value of UX


In this interview, our Managing Director Mariana Morris is interviewed by Mike Foster, The Entrepreneurs Mentor.

Mariana talked about why businesses should consider investing in UX and UI design, what makes a product intuitive to use and the best way to get users' feedback.

Here are the questions Mariana answered in the interview.


Hi, I’m Mariana Morris. I'm the founder and managing director at Fruto.
Fruto is a UX Design studio based in Oxford. We provide UX consultancy, research and design. In other words, we follow a user centred approach to design intuitive interfaces for websites, software, mobile apps and emerging technologies. We work with a variety of clients, from global organisations to start ups. Mostly B2B. We work with a variety of sectors, and we have a strong track record in designing for healthcare and education.

What is UX and UI design?

UX stands for "user experience" and UI stands for "user interface".

User experience (UX) design is a process that design teams use to create intuitive and usable products.

User experience encompasses the entire journey a user takes, including:

  • The process they go through to discover your company’s product

  • The sequence of actions they take as they interact the interface

  • The thoughts and feelings that arise as they try to accomplish their task

  • How efficient, enjoyable, valuable the process is

  • The impressions they take away from the interaction as a whole

A user interface is the point of interaction between the user and a digital product or service. 

User interface (UI) design focuses on the series of screens, pages, and visual elements—like buttons, icons, forms —that you use to interact with a device.

UI design takes care of the look and feel, the presentation and interactivity of a product.

Why should a business consider UX and / or UI?

There are a few occasions when businesses consider investing in UX/UI.
These are the reasons why clients come to us:

  • Improve the UX of their product

    • users are frustrated

    • the software grew organically and the product is now clunky and hard to use

    • or you need to attract a new user group (users that are not tech savvy or have higher expectations)

  • Refresh the UI

    • when your software looks like a research project and it’s doesn't look commercially ready

    • the interface design looks out of date 

  • prototype an idea

    • if you need to communicate your vision to potential investors

    • if you need to test their ideas with users

The reason for investing in UX and UI:

If you know users in-depth, their needs, pain points, what they value, the task they need to achieve, their mental models (how they expect the system to work), we then can build the best solution for them

  • Increase customer retention and adoption

  • Reduces the cost of redesign (cheaper to design than develop)

  • Increase in competitive advantage (Spot innovation and business opportunities).

How do you ensure that the website or app you are building is intuitive?

  • Usability conventions,  design principles.

    • Working with expert UX designers (not trial and error).

  • Involving users in the process (understand user needs and goals)

  • Match users  mental models with the systems design

    • Expected user journeys (Trigger / Goals / Actions)

    • Then we make the system’s design to align with those journeys. Design and test it with users.

    • User journeys streamlined and tasks easy to be accomplished.

Involving users is important to design intuitive interfaces. What's the best way to get user's feedback?

The best way is to involve users in your process early and often.

  • User interviews

    • Diverse set of users

    • Avoid focus groups

  • Usability tests

  • Ask non-leading questions

    • Instead of "Did you find the website easy to use?", ask "How was your experience using the website?"

    • Instead of "Did you like it?", ask "How was your experience?"

    • Instead of "Would you buy this product?" Create a Minimal Viable Product and test it.

  • Active listen

    • User research is not a demo

    • Don’t ask for solutions from users

I believe you share your expertise as a co-founder of UX Oxford. Can you tell me more about this organisation and how people can get involved?

UX Oxford is a free monthly event in Oxford. It’s been going since 2011. Every month we invite a speaker to come and talk about how they apply User Experience principles in their projects and organisations. 

We've had speakers from Google, BBC, Microsoft, Financial Times, The Guardian, Government Digital Services, the NHS.

We have a diverse audience and the event is for anyone interested in UX. Roles of attendees include (but not limited to): designers, researchers, developers, managers, CEOs…

Join us for inspiring talks!

How would someone contact you if they wanted to find out more about Fruto or UX Oxford?

Contact Mariana on:

Connect with Mariana on Linkedin

How can we help?

If you have a project in mind, any questions or if you just want to say hello, get in touch! We'd love to hear from you.

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