We're Obscure CX

Human Centred Contextual Experience Designers and Researchers

About Obscure CX

Since our inception in 2009, the CX in our name has represented ‘Contextual Experiences’. At Obscure CX we care deeply about the human condition and its impact on businesses. We are all about discovering and unraveling contexts that are not clearly defined or understood, which result in a less than optimal experience for humans. We believe that value can be co-created between businesses and individuals if due importance is paid to the context in which the two interact. We improve lives and lived experiences through a multi-disciplinary focus, integrating concepts from psychology, marketing, branding, and behavioural economics.

Our work is informed by deep knowledge and practice of human-centred design, service and customer experience, and branding. Obscure CX has designed experiences for humans interacting with global businesses like Google, startups, and a whole range in the middle. Over the years we have been iterating our own human centred contextual design approach, REACT. With the aim of bringing stakeholders onboard and developing a shared vision of success, the REACT approach has been tried and tested in various contexts and in a multitude of industries/ organisation sizes.

What we do...

  • Conduct independent research on customer journeys and contextual experiences
  • Develop relevant contextual metrics to measure experiences being rendered
  • Propagate the importance of context and human centricity in design
  • Provide design training and design implementation support
  • Help business leaders embrace human centricity
  • Help design and product leaders establish design processes and methodologies

The Founders

Syma Ahmed

Syma kicked off her career in banking and finance with an MBA to match in 2001. Before getting entrenched, Syma felt drawn towards helping SMEs with their vision and strategy. This rapidly matured into her deep interest in marketing and branding taking her to work at Leo Burnett for a few years. The year 2005 saw her get serious about Marketing with her MS in Marketing Management from University of Surrey, UK, which also ignited the researcher in her. Working together in the UK, Ahmed Shuja and Syma acknowledged the need for unified thinking to cater to the human element in business processes. This led Syma into a multi disciplinary research to understand the impact of “Purpose” and “Jobs-to-be-done” on brand equity.

Syma has led the research and strategy work since the early days of Obscure CX, which aligned well with her passion for academia in her role as an Assistant Professor of Marketing for 8 years. She has shared her research and insights at various conferences and events including Competition Commission of Pakistan, TEDx, and INSEAD. Over the past two years that she has spent at The University of Queensland Australia, in the Tourism and Hospitality cluster, Syma has a renewed focus on the human condition and the errors that we make in context, which manifest in value co-creation or destruction.

Learn more

Ahmed Shuja

Ahmed Shuja is a seasoned design leader who in the last millennium, cut his teeth squashing the Y2K bug for banks in the US. He quickly jumped head-on into the first dot com bubble before it burst. Five years on he realised that technology needed to be human centred, which led him to London in 2005. After completing his MS in Human Computer Interaction with Ergonomics from University College London, UK, he worked as a Senior Interaction Designer in the UK till 2009.

Founding Obscure CX with Syma Ahmed set him on the path that he still follows; the path of Contextual Human Centred Experience Design. He has also led design teams at organisations like Compare the Market AU and Pickles Auctions AU bringing his thinking and the REACT design approach to achieve success for the businesses.

Learn more