It all started with a cheeky email response. During his first month at Workday Dublin, Bill Fogarty decided to answer an email asking for employee ideas for the new third floor of the office He explains: “I thought to myself, well I need a design studio. I asked my manager should l go for it and she said yes. Very quickly, they responded saying that’s a great idea and lets get it started.”
After this, things moved quickly. The resulting UX Labs are on the cutting edge of new technology, and a leader in the UX space. We caught up with Bill in Workday’s airy Dublin offices to find out more.
Designing a State of the Art Studio
“In some of the earlier companies I’ve worked with, they had design studios which was great,” Bill explains. “But when the recession came, a lot of people were doing more remote user testing via phone or video conference. User testing like that has limitations. You don’t actually get the experience of meeting people face to face and you miss out on reading their body language, which will often tell you something completely different. I always wanted a studio where you can bring people in and have that face to face interaction.”
Creating a User-Friendly Studio
Once the studio was created, Bill worked to ensure that the space became an inclusive one. Along with accommodating group sessions, it plays host to one-on-one sessions as well.
Bill explains: “We had initially set it up as a UX design lab, but we decided to call it a studio instead so people wouldn’t feel like they were being tested. We wanted people to feel like they were part of a design activity and it was all about testing the product rather than testing them. We have one large room for design thinking sessions, where we can bring in developers and our product managers and different stakeholders and users when needed. Then, there’s the observation room, where we conduct our one to one sessions. And finally, our control room lets us see what’s going on in the other room through a two-way mirror. Workday in Dublin stands out as one of the only true development hubs in Dublin where new products are imagined and created right here.”
Exciting Work and User Focused Design
With the perfect space for gathering customer feedback and input, the team are working on a host of exciting projects. Bill reveals: “The learning product is one of our newest innovations, which re-imagines how people use different learning technologies within their companies. People are used to systems like compliance training where it’s really hard to access or is boring. To combat this, we’re re-imagining that user experience in a way that’s similar to a movie/ music streaming software.”
Moving to a more user-focused product, Bill adds: “It’s about creating an environment where it’s really easy to binge watch. So, we’re designing it at the moment and iterating, some of the customers are using the software and we’re getting really good feedback.”
An innovative new approach, the product emerged close to home. “It was pioneered here in Ireland,” he explains. “We collaborated with people in Victoria, Canada and Pleasanton and now the design is being totally done in Dublin.”
An Inclusive Community
Along with working on innovative projects in Workday, Bill regards the local tech community as an open one. He notes: “I think the Irish tech community are very open. They’re very used to sharing their ideas. Everyone is really into working together. There’s a really good talent pool of people here at the moment. I think the lifestyle in Dublin is good, the city is not too big and it is easily accessed from other European cities. We also have a good time overlap for working with the US. A lot of companies in Dublin have travel opportunities too.”
He adds: “There’s a lot of diversity in Workday and different cultures, so it’s quite social. Everyone works hard and is very focused but when it’s time to have fun they do, actually, one of our core values is fun! And I think that’s true across the industry in Dublin. Anyone I know who’s moved over here really enjoys it.”