Through our On the Job series, we introduce some of the men and women who play a pivotal role in the success story charted by Ness. In this edition, Paul Lumsdaine describes what his role as the Lead Experience Designer at Ness means, the trends in user experience design and more.
NAME & TITLE:
Paul Lumsdaine, Lead Experience Designer at Ness
WHAT IS YOUR ROLE AT NESS?
I focus on product strategy, user research, and interface design. I typically begin my work with clients by conducting user and market research, as well as devising a product strategy by facilitating business model and value proposition design workshops. I then work with our team to rapidly strategise, design and build the right solutions.
WHY ARE CUSTOMERS COMING TO NESS?
Our customers are looking to modernize their systems, keep users engaged and consolidate their legacy applications. Ness offers a partnership where we can fully support our clients in their digital journey. We do that as an end-to-end partner that can take on full responsibility for the strategy, road map and the execution of many digital products. In addition, our experience design practice provides a broader contextual understanding of these products to support the transformation companies are going through. In recent years, we have specialized in dealing with mission critical, complex tasks that many prefer to avoid. Once we begin working with customers, the relationship is usually ongoing because more and more organizations are realizing what we at Ness have been saying for a long time now: digital transformation is ongoing and companies need to continuously evolve their software as the needs and expectations of both the stakeholders and their customers change over time.
Lately we’ve been doing a lot of work around analytics platforms and dashboard design. In this age of Big Data, making sense of it to make informed and critical decisions is so vital for success, but the information needs of a CEO are very different from the needs of someone who works in operations. Dashboards are important in providing not only a retrospective or predictive method for looking at past patterns to improve future actions, but also in prospective or non-predictive ways by alerting to anomalies, risks or other critical information that require active insights. Researching what people need to see and designing around those needs via customized dashboards is something I think will be a core focus for us this year and into the future.
WHAT OTHER TRENDS ARE EMERGING?
Although not new, I think conversational user experiences, enabled by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning, are maturing because people want to have conversations and talk to systems in meaningful ways. I think the technology is advancing in a way that systems are developing personas, which make the user experiences richer and more meaningful. Another trend I see is the development of applications to make experiences more efficient. For example, not long ago I designed a simple chat bot for assisting sales teams in scheduling. It allowed users to request meetings, check schedules and automatically develop calendar invites. Maybe it’s not the most exciting or innovative use of the emerging technology, but I received a lot of positive feedback because it saved time and aggravation for the people who used it.
WHAT INDUSTRIES AND COMPANIES ARE DOING EXPERIENCE DESIGN WELL TODAY?
It’s clear that business to consumer (B2C) companies are ahead of business to business (B2B) companies when it comes to experience design. In the financial services industries alone, I’m impressed with the experiences provided by companies such as Mint.com, Betterment and Robinhood. Social media companies have also become data powerhouses and have leveraged that intelligence to not only provide a service which connects individuals on multiple levels, but also connects and strengthens communication between brands, tastemakers and consumers.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO WORK AT NESS?
After working for Cisco Systems for several years, I wanted to continue my journey as a UX designer, but also extend my skills in product strategy and user research. The teams at Ness were working on a variety of projects in many different industries which presented an opportunity to continually expand my knowledge across multiple domains, while continuing to pursue my passion for devising intuitive digital products. As I work now with clients to provide meaningful solutions to their toughest business challenges, I’ve come to better understand how the digital products we build and use shape our lives and the world around us.
WHAT FUN OR INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT YOURSELF CAN YOU SHARE WITH US?
In addition to working at Ness, I’m an adjunct lecturer at the University of California at Irvine, where I teach an introductory course on interaction design and front-end development. I also play several instruments and try to walk 3-5 miles almost every day.