Hello, I’m MJ Parnell.
I love using design to solve hard problems.

UX designer and researcher currently based in London Shanghai.

I’ve designed experiences that have touched the lives of millions and have run research across five continents. For me, good design isn’t about fancy deliverables, arcane processes or esoteric jargon. The best design needs just two things – thoughtful observation followed by collaborative problem-solving.

I specialise in UX design, interaction design and user research. Whatever I’m doing, I’m never happier than when sketching and scribbling with others to find the perfect solution to a design challenge.

Illustration: Alice Colombo

My Skills

Research

Getting out of the building and seeing how real people act, feel and behave. I’ve experience with both contextual and lab research across the world.

Ideation

Running all kinds of workshops and jams to come up with interesting new ideas. Getting stakeholders excited for new concepts.

Sketching

Scribbling away, both alone and as a team. Using visual thinking to find novel approaches to problems. Adding drawings of cats to my sketches.

Visualising

Taking ideas and reifying them, as sitemaps, wireframes and high-fidelity mockups, depending on how lean the project is. I use a variety of tools, but my first love is Sketch.

Prototyping

Static designs aren’t enough – prototyping journeys and animations makes design come alive. Framer.js and Principle are awesome, but I just can’t quit you Axure.

Optimising

Launching a product isn’t the end – after monitoring analytics I’ll have a bunch more stories for each successive sprint, learning from my mistakes and enhancing it through time.

Recent work

Study plan for mobile app

How do you keep students engaged when learning on a mobile app? This project saw the development of a motivation engine to push students to study that little bit more.

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Challenges & Portfolios

Learning online can be a lonely, tedious experience. How can you make it more challenging and a little less lonely in a way that doesn’t suck?

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EF Professional

Designing a new learning product across multiple touchpoints, with different interfaces for different users, called for coordination and precision.

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A few of my clients

Testimonials

What is there to say about Mark? He would certainly be the first name on any UX team I was assembling – I might even just stop there, he can pretty much do it all.

He repeatedly hits that sweet spot between creativity and rock solid analytical thinking, providing the right answer at the right time. Super smart, always professional and great fun to work with. I’m also pretty sure he knows every word in the English language.

Dave Ellis, Venture Lead at Kingfisher Digital

I have worked directly with Mark in 2014 and 2015. He is still the best UX designer I have ever worked with.

Always conducting thorough research inside as well as outside the organization, Mark has always delivered designs of extremely high quality bringing incomparable value to the product. He has a rare ability at patiently and very pedagogically walking stakeholders through UX ideation, prototypes and designs.

Virginie Callieau, VP Product development, EF Labs

Mark and I worked together on critical projects for Digital Learning at EF. His international experience, combined with his passion for understanding and conquering the local customers and their culture, gave him a unique ability to lead the UX front on bold projects that explored alternative lead generation and revenue streams.

One of the smartest, most insightful, and fun UX creatives I’ve met in my career.

Mauricio Estrella, Senior Interaction Design Lead, IDEO

Get in touch

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