John Oxton-King

People-focussed team leader, designer and researcher with 20 years experience of solving design challenges internationally and across sectors including but not limited to, children’s publishing, technology, B2B marketing, education, arts & culture and healthcare. Extensive start-up experience. A natural translator skilled at building consensus and streamlining complexity into clear, actionable design goals.


Interim Head of UX

Contracted with Arts Council England Sector Support Organisation, The Audience Agency until April 2020 as Interim Head of UX. Working on a ground-up redesign of their data analysis tools. This is a broad role as I am the only UX person on the project. Activities include: user research; service design; information architecture; user story backlog creation and refinement; UI design and development of a design system. Yup, I'm busy!

"Audience Finder is the free national audience data and development tool, enabling cultural organisations to understand, compare and apply audience insight. Audience Finder brings together data on all UK households with data from over 800 cultural organisations: over 170 million tickets, 59 million transactions, approximately 280,000 surveys and web analytics from all the UK's major arts and cultural organisations."

John joined us at the start of a really big and important journey to transform our product. John not only got into the deatil of the UX and really empathising with our users, but also worked closely with me and the exec team on the strategy to help us develop our service design approach to the business. Thanks to John, we have made huge leaps forward and a clear approach for our ongoing improvements

Cimeon Ellerton-Kay, Chief Product Officer, The Audience Agency (via LinkedIn)


UX Director at Torpedo Group

Charged with expanding the UX function of this B2B creative agency, I led a team which doubled in size across two offices. In a very hands-on role, I spearheaded a growth in UX-driven projects, and was instrumental in building a UX discipline and culture that helped clients bring their stories to life, on time and on budget.

Particular areas of focus were: design leadership; workshop and user research planning and facilitation; design strategy and DesignOps.


Mr & Mrs OK

A creative partnership set up with Rachel Oxton-King in 2011, offering strategic design leadership to companies where no design expertise exists. We also set out to help charities and individuals with interesting, worthwhile, projects, regardless of budget.

I worked with John on a number of projects at Historic Futures. His inherent ability to cut through the noise and communicate what is at the heart of the issue is second to none. Workshops that John led were always incredibly well planned, fun, productive and insightful. John's vast experience of user led design are really evident in all work he delivers, he isn't just following a process, he challenges your assumptions and even complex problems he has the ability to make simple.

Hannah Harris, Product Marketing Manager at Historic Futures (via LinkedIn)


Hands-on enterprise design strategy for the pharmaceutical industry with DrugDev

Acting as Head of UX, I worked with senior management and developers to create enterprise products. I was also tasked with looking into, and suggesting the structure for a UX team that would be sustainable across multiple sites and time zones, and that would communicate efficiently with product managers and developers, with no single point of failure.

As CTO of DrugDev I got to know and rely on John as a wise head and passionate advisor. In that time he led the UX design vision and execution as we formed a suite of technically-complex products. His UI designs and UX concepts consistently thrilled our clients and helped set us apart from rivals in an otherwise old-fashioned industry. John was core to DrugDev forging and maintaining a reputation for innovation, with intuitive, beautiful software products.

Graeme Benson, CTO at DrugDev (via LinkedIn)


Desktop view of Hands-on enterprise design strategy for the pharmaceutical industry with DrugDev
Mobile view of Hands-on enterprise design strategy for the pharmaceutical industry with DrugDev

Research strategy with the Oxford University Museums Digital Partnership

Highly collaborative consultancy to design a more formal, evidence-based approach to evaluating the benefits and impact of existing and proposed (third party and in-house) digital products across all of the university's museums, libraries and gardens.


Redesign, rebrand and refactoring of a magazine website for the Rationalist Association

An all-hands-to-the-deck design and front-end development project to create a publishing platform for this fascinating charity. Perhaps my proudest achievement was working with the board to convince them not to give up their excellent ten-year relationship with a brilliant developer in favour of WordPress – a relationship that continues to this day.

When I first encountered Mr & Mrs OK I thought I was hiring a talented design team. I was right, in that the responsive site they have delivered for the Rationalist Association is modern, beautiful and a wonderful platform for our content and our aspirations for engagement with our members. What I hadn’t realised was that I also got a skilled project management and strategic planning team who would - in their friendly and flexible way - get to the heart of our strategic aims, involve all stakeholders (including my board and users) in the design process, and help to unblock and bring to fruition our own latent creativity and ideas. The work they have done has had a profound impact on every aspect of our business, and what we have learnt from working with them will help structure our strategic planning for years to come.

Caspar Melville, CEO & Editor of the Rationalist Association


Desktop view of Redesign, rebrand and refactoring of a magazine website for the Rationalist Association
Mobile view of Redesign, rebrand and refactoring of a magazine website for the Rationalist Association

Detailed user experience research and design for Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu

In a very flat hierarchy with scope to shape my role, I started with a full UX research and design project creating a website to encourage and support app developers to create or convert their apps for the Ubuntu platform. Ended up working directly with company founder, Mark Shuttleworth, on product strategy and communications for teams that are mostly remote working. Worked with product managers, marketing, sales and communications teams to help define the scope of new, innovative, products such as Ubuntu phone.

John is a tremendous individual. He initially came to work with me to solve little problems but ended up helping me and the company understand the bigger opportunities and helped us work towards finding real solutions. He worked tirelessly to keep us focused on our users, not our internal structures. He experimented and taught us how to think about problems and solutions in whole new ways. He introduced us to so many good UX tools like paper-prototyping, affinity diagrams, stakeholder interviews, etc... He opened up the entire design process to allow everyone in the company to share and collaborate. He advocated and drove user testing. He looked at analytical data. He iterated and experimented and started over - never precious about his ideas or designs.

If that isn't enough, John is also a very good person manager, project manager, an amazing architect of front-end code and a pretty darn good designer. I cannot recommend John highly enough.

Peter Mahnke, VP Web & Design at Canonical (via LinkedIn)


User experience design manager for large e-commerce and resources platform at Scholastic

Initially contracted as a freelance front-end designer I was quickly hired full-time and was successful in my push for the creation of a design team, consisting of me, a user experience generalist with strong data analysis skills and a visual designer. Working with the lead developer, put in place two front-end developers and used a matrix management approach to ensure good communication throughout the agile design and development process. The team worked closely with data analysts, product managers, sales and customer service agents on a wide variety of projects where conversion rates and evidence-driven design were paramount.

I worked with John closely in the building of our website. He brought a freshness of design vision and an insightful understanding of user needs. These were critical success factors in helping our website go on to win awards, improve our profitability and meet the needs of our teenage audience. He also makes good jokes in long meetings, and has been known to bring biscuits.

Gordon Knowles, Managing Director, Education (including Mary Glasgow Magazines) at Scholastic UK (via LinkedIn)


Desktop view of User experience design manager for large e-commerce and resources platform at Scholastic
Mobile view of User experience design manager for large e-commerce and resources platform at Scholastic

Web standards-based design with a heavy focus on top quality CSS and HTML as a freelance contractor

I worked with a large variety of clients across a wide range of sectors (see client list below). Actively involved in the Web Standards Community and a judge on the, now sadly defunct, Web Standards Awards panel. Thrilled to get an official entry on the legendary CSS Zen Garden, and just for fun, co-created a surprisingly popular industry podcast. Also an occasional writer.

John was great to work with, informed, passionate about his subject matter and professional throughout.

Harry Parkes, Co-founder of SquadGod (via LinkedIn)


Web design at a small Oxfordshire agency with some sizeable clients

My first web design job was at a five-person agency,, in the Cotswolds. I worked free for a month to get my foot through the door and was subsequently offered the role of project manager and web designer. Clients included Orange Arrows F1 racing team, The actor's union, Equity and Kenwood Electronics.

John is a legend!

Jim Wylie, New Media Director at Micrographix, formely New Media Manager at i2i (via LinkedIn)



Aged 16 I moved from rural North Wales to London and worked in some of the country’s best restaurants with some famous names and some genuinely brilliant cooks. Aged 24 I was working as the head chef at an extremely popular and favourably reviewed gastropub in the Cotswolds. As well as how to cook the kitchen taught me that communication is the key to success – a team that talks is a team that works. It also taught me, the hard way, that sometimes deadlines (lunch and dinner) are immovable so you have to work smart, not just hard. Working to budgets is vital if you are to make a profit. Don’t be afraid to improvise when things go wrong because things will go wrong.

Whilst I transitioned to full-time web design, I continued as a jobbing chef and spent twelve months as a care worker for adults with learning difficulties.

Some of my clients over the years:

  • Alice Ottley School

    Substantial CMS-driven brochure site to complement and extend printed marketing materials.

  • Batsford Arboretum

    Small CMS-driven brochure site design for this beautiful arboretum in the Cotswolds.

  • Blueberry Group

    Design and build of extensive CMS-driven ambient speciality foods brochure website for a number of brands under the Blueberry Group umbrella.

  • Bourton House gardens

    Just before dial-up became a thing of the past created a website that dared to use big images to show-off this incredible garden. Broadband arrived shortly afterwards and this site stood for many years.

  • Cheltenham College

    Substantial CMS-driven brochure site to complement and extend printed marketing materials.

  • Downe House School

    Substantial CMS-driven brochure site to complement and extend printed marketing materials.

  • Elevensoft

    Prototyping and front-end development for this workforce scheduling software start-up.

  • HarperCollins

    Design and build of children's author Michael Morpugo's site as part of Mr & Mrs OK.

  • Hot Key Books

    Design and build of marketing site for Costa award winning children's book Maggot Moon as part of Mr & Mrs OK.

  • ISA Charity

    Website for a small charity offering people the chance to embark on a travel experience that could change their perspective on life.

  • Karova/Stuff and Nonsense

    Front-end development for this world-renowned agency.

  • Kilvington Design

    White label web design and development services for this school branding specialist.

  • Longborough Farm Shop

    CMS-driven brochure site to complement and extend printed marketing materials.

  • Martin Gotrel Jewellery

    Design and development of small CMS-driven brochure site for independent jewellers

  • Merlan Systems

    White label web design and development services for this development agency.

  • Micrographix

    White label web design and development services for this full-service design and photography agency.

  • Nicholls Brasseries

    Design system and CMS development for multiple brochure sites for a chain of high-end brasseries.

  • Nitro-g

    Provided Action Script services for this small agency to create a Flash-based site for Vans trainers.

  • Paul Martin

    Design and development of CMS-driven website and forum for Flog It! TV presenter.

  • Recipe for Success

    Brochure site design and development for small ready made meals supplier.

  • SOAS University of London

    Delivered a series of lectures and workshops to help students create a website to showcase their creative work.

  • SquadGod

    UX design and front-end development for this fantasy football start-up.

  • The Churchill Arms (Paxford)

    Brochure site for the renowned gastropub where I used to be head chef.

  • Travellerspoint

    Travel blog template design for this world travellers community website.

Work with me

Leads motivated, accountable, communicative and efficient teams that deliver measurable return on investment. Now seeking a senior UX role (contract or full-time) that contributes to the long-term success of
an organisation.

Please feel free to get in touch with me by email at or phone me on +44 7951 628475