Meet Mike — Product Design Lead at E.ON Next

Mike Thorne, a Product Design Lead at E.ON Next, recognised the need for a comprehensive and practical learning solution for his team. Mike is leading a diverse team of 9, consisting of product designers, UX/UI designers, and UX researchers.

Mike Thorne on the left

E.ON Next, a prominent energy provider in the UK, has established itself as a leader in the industry, serving over 5.8 million customers. With a strong commitment to sustainability, our company is dedicated to promoting the use of sustainable energy sources to contribute positively to the environment. Since its inception, E.ON Next has experienced remarkable growth, achieving the fastest migration seen in the industry. Our success can be attributed to our innovative solutions, which have earned us nominations and recognition in various prestigious awards. We take pride in offering customised energy solutions that cater to the needs of our digitally-oriented customers. By prioritising sustainability and providing tailored solutions, E.ON Next continues to drive a more sustainable future for all.

What were you trying to solve?

Firstly, I wanted to understand my team members' current skill sets and identify areas for growth. In the past, I’ve used Excel spreadsheets to map out these skills, but I found it more beneficial to focus on their accomplishments and challenges instead of just what I've observed. Securing appropriate training has always been a challenge. Particularly for UX/UI, training can be expensive. Attending conferences to learn new techniques often doesn't provide solutions to specific problems and online research mostly tends to yield individual solutions.

As a product designer for 24 years, I've seen the massive evolution of web and product design. Keeping up with this rapid change is challenging. I wanted to discover a streamlined method for accessing up-to-date learning materials, keeping our team abreast of the latest technologies, trends, and best practices.

What are the superpowers you have unlocked with Uxcel?

  1. Time savings: E.ON Next designers realised significant time savings due to Uxcel's distilled library of lessons. By dedicating just 10-15 minutes of their time, they gained access to precise and valuable insights necessary to complete their projects efficiently.
  2. Cost-efficiency: While there is a monthly fee associated with Uxcel, it ultimately translated to cost savings. In comparison, attending conferences, which can cost several hundred pounds per participant, often yielded minimal value. Uxcel's accessibility course, for instance, enabled E.ON Next to align with its commitment to making sites and apps more accessible. This resulted in transferring course knowledge to team members and improving project outcomes, compared to a $800+ conference that added minimal value.
  3. Improved design language: Within just 30 days of using Uxcel, junior and middle-level designers at E.ON Next enhanced their design terminology thanks to Uxcel's comprehensive resources. This improvement translated to increased engagement in projects, quicker design outputs, and more insightful discussions when presenting designs to both internal stakeholders and the development team.
  4. Comprehensive team overview: Uxcel provided an invaluable bird's-eye view of E.ON Next’s team members, offering insights into their unique skills, strengths, areas for improvement, and the ability to assign learning content tailored to drive their skill growth.

Here's how E.ON Next team improved their design skills after just 30 days of using Uxcel

Two tips you’d like to share to fellow design managers

  1. Encourage self-reflection and actionable growth: Design managers should motivate their team members to self-reflect and seek actionable growth tips. Skill tests, in particular, provide profound insights about designers. By facilitating self-assessment and benchmarking against a vast pool of designers, managers can help their team members identify both hard and soft skills that require improvement. The flexibility to retake assessments every 7 days empowers designers to create actionable plans and set goals for their professional development.
  2. Embrace streamlined training: Moving away from traditional methods, managers should shift towards a more effective approach to mapping skill development. Uxcel's innovative platform leverages challenges, lessons, courses, and assessments to create a skill graph. This approach marks a departure from relying solely on observed skills and embraces the real challenges designers encounter. This platform fills a long-standing industry need for streamlined and tailored training, aligning designers with the advantages that developers have enjoyed for years.


E.ON Next's journey with Uxcel exemplifies the power of tailored learning solutions in addressing the unique needs of design teams. By saving time, reducing costs, and enhancing design skills and communication, Uxcel has empowered E.ON Next's design team to stay at the forefront of the industry, while fostering growth and efficiency within their design team.