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Hi! I’m Niels Craens,
a UX Director & Designer
with 15 years of experience.

How can I help you?

Leadership & Management

Building highly effective teams and taking your UX to the next level.
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Business Development & Strategy

Helping businesses to accelerate growth via clear strategic steps.
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Research & Design

Developing world-class design based on a thorough understanding of users.
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Leadership

Great leadership helps build significantly better operational results. As a leader, I clear the way for people to grow by paying attention to their roadblocks and offering them new ways to unlock their greatest potential. My aim is to take teams to the next level on a basis of mutual respect and a safe environment.

I give my team members the space, ownership, and trust they need to accomplish specific goals, using skills matrices, design critique sessions, structured one-on-ones, facilitator techniques, and more.

Management

Achieving goals effectively is crucial to success. To gain a thorough understanding of stakeholders’ needs, I listen carefully and debrief what we want to accomplish and why. I involve stakeholders as well as specialists in the process so we can use the available knowledge to the fullest and increase stakeholder buy-in at the same time.

To make sure progress becomes systematic, it’s indispensable to monitor performance so that corrections can be made at any moment. To do this, I develop UX metrics, data dashboards, stakeholder maps, milestones, OKRs, and more.

Business Development

A great way to speed up growth is creating new products to serve clients even better. Based on business objectives and market insights, I develop and validate ideas using experiments. It’s important to assess whether a solution is feasible and scalable and actually takes care of a core problem for users. In this process, validating propositions fast can save a lot of money.

Some methodologies I use in this area are Lean, agile, growth hacking, proposition development, and riskiest assumption tests.

Strategy

To accomplish long-term objectives, it’s key to map out the most effective route to your destination. Based on your company’s current market position, I make sure we aim for a stronger, more differentiating position in the future. Next, we can start to validate opportunities to minimize risks. This way we gain insight into the optimal road to achieving your objectives.

To develop and execute strategies, I use design sprints, principles, maturity models, roadmaps, the McKinsey strategy building approach, and more.

Research

To create solutions that truly add value for users, understanding their needs, actions, and motives is key. From a data-informed mindset, I separate facts that are supported by data from assumptions, which may be explored as hypotheses.

I tirelessly promote a user-centered mindset and the development of the right KPIs for success, using discovery sprints, usability testing, eye tracking, data analytics, A/B testing, and more.

Design

World-class design has the power to make customers love a product and recommend it to friends. This can increase revenue and cut costs. For design to be this powerful, it must harmonize with the customer’s needs perfectly and leave an amazing impression. I create excellent solutions by keeping all parties involved while finding a balance between user needs, technical feasibility, and business objectives.

To this end, I use design thinking, user journeys, information architecture, prototypes, wireframing, branding design, visual design, design systems, and more.

Worked with

Portfolio

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Experience (2004 – Present)

Tools

I support designers on their journeys to become better at Figma, Sketch, Adobe CC, HTML, CSS (Sass), and more.

Education

LinkedIn

Recommendations

Niels is an inspiring UX leader and it is great to work with him.
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I have worked with him many times as a product manager for web development, as well for iOS and Android app development for mobile devices. Niels has superb communication skills and builds effective strategies based on a thorough understanding of users via usability testing, analytics data, and many user-centered design methodologies. In addition, Niels has improved many processes, from UX research to wireframing and from interaction design to visual design, by introducing Lean startup and agile methodologies. In this way, his teams deliver best-in-class user insights and product design!

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Joeri Nortier
Product Manager Digitaal at BNR
When I think of Niels, I think of honesty, curiosity, collaboration, and joy.
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UX flows through Niels’ veins. He knows exactly what User Centricity entails and is eager to share his knowledge. At the same time, Niels is a brave leader who really connects with his team. He takes the responsibility to find the potential in people and creates the space for specialists to flourish. Other words that come to mind when I think of Niels are honesty, curiosity, collaboration, and joy.

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Anouk Maat
Consultant at Quint
I highly recommend Niels as a UX manager or lead designer!
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I had the pleasure of working with Niels at Zoover/Weeronline. Niels is an inspiring manager and designer who is easygoing, has a keen eye for detail, and gives a lot of trust to his team, which in turn brings out the best in the designers who report to him. He is always advocating better UX within the organization and ceaselessly promotes the interest of the people who work for him. I highly recommend Niels as a UX manager or lead designer!

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Gerard Stroomer
Product Designer at Weeronline
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