Recently, I conducted this interview with Richard Dalton, Head of Design at Capital One, about his background, his recent work at Capital One, his vision of where their experience design strategy is headed in the coming years, and his upcoming UX STRAT speaking engagement.
Paul: Hi Richard! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. Can you start by telling UXmatters readers a little about yourself—such as your educational background, professional path, specific areas of focus, and anything else that you think will help them get to know you a little better.
Richard: Hey Paul, I graduated from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, in England, with a degree in Software Engineering just as the World Wide Web was turning into a thing. I am eternally grateful for this synchronicity because I’m not really sure what I would have done otherwise! I was always a terrible coder. I was more interested in the things I could make the systems do rather than in actually creating the systems. After I graduated, I was employee #1 at an Internet design startup—this was in 1994. Soon after that, I co-founded another Internet design firm in the North of England. Then, I moved to the US in 1999, and 18 years and three financial services companies later—Vanguard, then USAA—I now find myself Head of Design at Capital One. Read More
Thanks to the leadership of Scott Cook—formerly Intuit’s CEO and now Chairman of the Board—Intuit has always been a customer-centric company that really listens to its customers. In the company’s early startup days, Cook instituted Intuit’s Follow Me Home program, in which Intuit employees hung out at stores that sold packaged software until a customer bought Quicken, Intuit’s personal-finance software and, then, the company’s flagship product. An Intuit employee asked the customer if he could follow him home to see whether he had any difficulty installing the application. He would then observe the customer as he unpacked and installed the software and note any causes of frustration or confusion.
Through this program, Intuit learned what aspects of their software needed improvement. Cook’s goal was to make it easier for people to balance their checking account using Quicken than with a paper checkbook. By observing their customers, Intuit learned that people were using Quicken to handle bookkeeping for their small businesses, so they created QuickBooks for that market. From the very beginning, Intuit has done user research both to understand how customers are using their current products and to identify customers’ unmet needs, allowing them to introduce new products to the market to satisfy them. Read More
The field of user experience is growing. More companies than ever now understand the importance of UX design. However, UX designers still sometimes struggle because they’re working in a vacuum and building products that have features users neither want nor need. Solid user research is vital for UX designers to understand what users really want and need, as well as to ensure companies build products that satisfy the needs of users and shareholders alike.
I recently had a conversation with Sarah Doody about why user research is so important, how to approach it, and how to integrate research results into product designs. Sarah, who appears in Figure 1, is a UX designer and entrepreneur who is enthusiastic about helping other people learn to think like designers. She is the publisher of the popular weekly newsletter The UX Notebook—which has nearly 10,000 subscribers—and has created free UX resources, videos, and online courses on user research and building a UX portfolio, which are available from her Web site. Read More