Dice HQ

Meet Celia Delaney, DICE’s User Researcher who gives a voice to fans

Words by Rachel Hahn
Photos by Will Grady

When she’s not gathering feedback, Celia is throwing accessible club nights, discovering new music and experimenting with creative pursuits

Celia Delaney isn’t used to being interviewed – she’s usually the one asking the questions. In her role as User Researcher on DICE’s Fan Experience team, she spends her days interviewing fans to find out what they think about our product – what things we’re getting right or what we need to improve – and about the experience of going out more generally. 

Celia understands what makes a good interviewer: the ability to listen, to make people feel at ease, and to tease out the interesting bits of the conversation. Below, we turn the tables and find out about her childhood spent helping her dad in the ticketing business, pushing for accessibility both at work and in her free time, and how her job has made her less afraid of trying something new.

On her childhood experiences with ticketing

Ticketing and gigs have always been a massive part of my life, and some of my earliest memories are working with my dad at rowdy local gigs. I’d be working on the merch stand and helping him scan tickets, mainly so I could get into the gig because I was technically too young. I stopped that because at one particularly raucous gig, a member of the band chucked a bottle into the crowd and it hit me in the face. My brother and I also used to help him stuff all of the tickets into envelopes for pocket money. It’s why working at a place like DICE has always been something that feels like home.

On talking to fans

I’m a qualitative user researcher, so that means that I talk to fans all day. The aim is to listen to fan feedback and find out what’s going right, what’s going wrong, and the areas we can improve for them. Sometimes, it might be focused on a new feature we’re putting out, but other times it’s just me chatting to fans about the issues they experience when they go out. Then, I’ll pick out the themes I think other DICE teams should know about to see how we can make the experience better for fans. It’s just about being able to listen. Quite often, for the first 10 minutes of an interview, you can tell that someone is just telling you what they think you want to hear; the trick is to figure out this person you’ve never met and find what you can do to make them as comfortable as possible so they’ll tell you the real story. 


On having an impact 

The area I always push the hardest in is helping people access parts of the world they might not have been able to before. When I worked at an agency in Melbourne, we carried out a lot of social impact projects, including working with Aboriginal communities and women and girls in Tonga and Vanuatu. I’ve also contributed to creating websites that help connect people to end-of-life services. But in general, research is so interesting because I gain insider knowledge; I get to learn so much about a really specific group of people that I wouldn’t otherwise know about if I wasn’t a researcher or a strategist.

On accessibility and inclusivity

I often work with a group called Bubble Club in London – we work with adults with learning disabilities to put on club nights. It’s so special because it’s co-designed with the fans that it’s for, and they’re just the most energetic, wonderful, radically inclusive club nights. There’s always a chill-out space and lots of wheelchair access, including a whole space in the front for wheelchairs, so they’re not stuck in the back of the venue. I volunteer with them and just help out as much as I can – I usually work the door or the cloakroom or just make sure people get into taxis at the end. It’s a group of people with many complex and different access needs, which makes you realise how difficult it is for lots of people to go out and stay out. Working with them has definitely made me so much more aware of how many barriers there are to accessing live events.

On her love of radio

It’s actually rare that I’ll put my music on most of the time. I listen to the radio a lot – it’s my favourite thing. I love having someone else pick what I’m going to listen to for me; I love the chat in the background – it feels like you’re listening to music with a friend – and I always discover a lot of new music. I listen to BBC Radio 6, which is what my parents listened to, but I still think it’s a wicked radio show. I listened to Gilles Peterson on there religiously when I was at uni, and I discovered loads through his show. I’m very into NTS, as well as finding local radio stations when I travel outside of London. I went to Brighton recently and tuned into a station called Slack City; and in Athens, I found another small station called Movement Radio – sort of their version of NTS.


On finding new creative outlets 

I find the only things I can do to wind down are things I’m not particularly good at. If you know you’re not going to excel at them, the pressure is off. I started taking traditional jive dancing classes again, which I did when I was younger – I’m not good at it, but that’s what I like about it. My job is about trying to help people not feel stupid for asking questions or for saying things they think are obvious, and I think that’s really rubbed off on me. I’m not afraid to look a bit silly or expose the fact I don’t know something. Come to think of it, that’s probably the most beneficial thing I’ve got out of my work.

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