UX Advantage 2015: Introducing Nasdaq to UX

Chris Avore, AVP, Product Strategy, Nasdaq

– in position for 2-3 years; recent accomplishments: ability to grow our awesome and sizable team – organization understands design, moving customer feedback up the lifecycle into the discovery phase – execs excited, outside analysts are noticing and interested in the work that design is doing
– NASDAQ system is considering really well designed and people are moving to NASDAQ because of the design; in constrast to the Bloomberg system
– he facilitates good decisions being made; executive team is making great business decisions and the designers are designing great things in collaboration with lots of folks; trust in the process, answering real needs
– moving the research up in the lifecycle, everyone in company has better understanding of not only who is using the software, but who the decision makers are; more access to all those people at customers
– how to immerse org in user research: get as many people as possible to participate in the research, report results to development partners, update senior stakeholders on how many points of contact and segmenting them in meaningful market ways
– org structure for design: design team tried to integrate with product management, but technology is different; e.g. vision prototypes are not ever be used in buidling production environments, although sometimes do implement the CSS in production code
– deliverable = something handed off like a specification; artifact = articulates a concrete idea, not used directly to build; always start at the artifact level
– developers consume the prototypes as well as the user research and otehr information; challenge is that some dev teams just want the prototypes as spec, not the research results; prefer the dev teams involved with the problem space
– workforce diversity: 50% women in team; Karen: “some of your best employees may not be white men”; president of NASDAQ is awesome and focused on this; business head also; this is not an accident; take on sourcing instead of HR; reaching out; telling the story; getting outside our known networks, some of our best designers come from outside our normal networks; takes effort, but not heroic amounts; provide career paths for everyone; mexican wrestler masks are one of the cool elements of the design team’s culture; potential hires see people who are like them
– working with acquisitions: usually acquire to grow market size, partner for technology instead; not really acquihire; big acquisition a few years ago, 6 designers, mostly remote; they were more of the “bench model”, providing services on demand; brought them into the experiment in the new way, including them in process of learning and making it work
– moving from production design to helping drive product strategy: the more the design team shows they understand things and see new opportunities, the more credibility and excitement in execs “understanding the users is like catnips to the execs”; have built great products that failed in the market; finding out they’ll fail earlier helps; design team can code much of what they design (prototypes) gives more reach
– prototyping: simulating what could be for evaluation and validation; sometimes some of our code gets into production, but that’s not the expectation; sort of a UX prototyper role, but that’s not an exclusive role, need other design skills; generalists with specialties; junior people can be specialists, most senior peole are specialists, in the middle lots of generalists
– former dev model: buy someone, do some work to fit it in, figure out ways to respond to feature requests; now have built an agile dev environment as they’ve built their platform; designers are scrummaster certified
– legal/compliance: involve them early; legal constantly involved because of some contracts and our patents (and avoiding others); more than just boilerplate terms and conditions
– existing contracts present things that we treat as design constraints; prioritize what’s best for the business and the customer and still meet the contract
– how do you get execs to know you have user knowledge: started by cherry-picking positive comments from user research, audio/video clips; execs would say “what else did they say”; ensure that sales teams hear the positive feedback, get them excited about the new directions; creates a halo around design research work, then invited into more customer conversations
– getting access to users/customers: focus on creating and growing pipeline of customer contacts; keep sales invited to contacts with clear goals; brown bag to sales teams on what design research is about, showing how what was learned changed the design and then validated by customers; show the success stories; engage design team in presenting demos at sales calls to build trust and credibility
– how to get concepts into roadmap: work with business leaders to ensure that the things we see in research are heard and aligned with business prioritization; get that exposure to them in time to inform their decisions
– do you see folks in production development that are seeing design team’s work and want to do that sort of work: not yet; still working on more iterative delivery so the timecycle of idea to product is shorter and more constantly visible
– big takeaway: don’t ever take for granted that you’ve got a seat at the table; always be working on it, building relationships, and show the fruits of your labor (new ideas, understand what customers don’t have)

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