Global Payments Integrated is an American company which provides financial technology services and payment processing solutions across the world. Their main headquarters is in Lindon, Utah but with offices across the globe I was based in Belfast as a UX designer on the Genius Product. Throughout my year I developed and learnt countless skills across a wide range of projects.
Global payments is a worldwide payment processing company employing almost 20,000 people. The worldwide team has products which aid 3 million companies, 1,300 financial institutions and over 600 million card holders along with their partners. The UX department is data driven and customer focussed while following the double diamond process (Lean and Agile). Global payments are used by companies across the world, one of the highlights within the highlights being the Mercedes Benz stadium, the official home of the Atlanta Falcons. Over recent years the company has bought and merged with several companies to offer more products and a full experience to their customers.
My position as a UX designer at GPI has been challenging and offered a wealth of learning experiences. I have been a part of two creative teams, undertaking tasks on both the research and design side of the double diamond process.
My main role has been within the Technical Communications team working on the Genius product alongside another UX designer, Jordan Hamilton. Genius is a payment processing solution for Verifone payment terminals, my role involved the UX of the interfaces and flows to ensure usability and accessibility is at the forefront. Genius is used by over 60,000 merchants, across verticals such as retail, hardware and dental merchants. Working on this product offered learning experiences that most placements and university projects can’t offer, such as working under payment terminal constraints.
My role was to work alongside Jordan to make steps toward feature parity between Genius 1 and Genius 2. Within this project there are various screen sizes for each of the six customer engagement devices, such as the E285, P400 or MX915. The interfaces range in size and orientation which gave the opportunity to design consistent layout options across a range of screens. An example of a feature I built out would be “Customer Get Input” function, where merchants enter their own label and guidance. Things to consider were character limits and the previous Genius 1 composition, during the design phase we used the worst case scenario to ensure that usability and readability was maintained. Another example would be the “receipt printing” project, Global Payments Integrated added the V400m to their devices which has printing capability. This project involved developing interfaces and screen flows for merchant and customer receipts, taking into consideration error messages, notifications and customer experience to ensure ease of use.
I have continually been working on the “Genius 2 Emulator”, this is a prototype of the Genius 2 system which will be used by other teams, such as sales, to show the capability of Genius and how it works. To build the emulator we used ‘Protopie’, a powerful prototyping tool which uses variables and formulas to build a realistic model. Coming into the company with no experience of this tool has been a steep learning curve but throughout the year I have moved from being a novice to training other members of the team. The emulator has been built for all six devices and includes most features. This project has offered opportunity to facilitate testing sessions, such as A/B testing and usability tests, which is valuable experience for my future career.
I also worked within the UX team based in Lindon, Utah. This team is lead by UX director, Justin Jolley and has a senior UX designer and two UX researchers alongside Jordan and myself. This role gave research experience, being given opportunity to complete tasks such as empathy mapping, user interviews, accessibility reviews, heuristic evaluations and customer journey map creation.
While I had some experience doing these tasks in university, completing them based on real customers and products has developed my skills further. All the work I have been involved in has been valuable to build up my skills and add to my knowledge of the field.
From both teams I have had opportunities within my role to increase my presentation and communication skills. These opportunities have came in the format of facilitating a weekly book club with the UX team, involvement in design reviews, facilitating usability testing and presenting work to product architects/developers. This experience within the role has been valuable and it is rewarding to have completed these tasks.
At the beginning of my placement, I was asked by members of my team to set goals and create a development plan. I set myself four main goals
- More experience with presenting
- More experience with testing and interviews
- Be more creative under constraints
- Gain a deeper knowledge of UX
Although these areas are not directly measurable, myself and others on my team saw considerable improvement in these areas across the twelve months.
On top of considerable improvement on my main goals, I have also improved across various other areas. A consequent improvement from having more knowledge within UX has been my communication. Explaining my decisions has always been one of my strengths, despite this I have still seen improvement throughout the year with the ability to provide UX reasoning and best practices as the backbone of my explanations. During my time at Global Payments, I also developed further skills in leadership by training others in prototyping software such as Protopie and less advanced tools such as Figma.
I have been pushed to become more accepting to negative feedback, tying nicely into being creative within constraints. A typical assumption by most people is that working within design offers near complete creative freedom to find the best solution, this year has taught me this is not the case. Constraints on card machines are extensive and most normal solutions are not possible with the capabilities of the system or the screen size. Receiving feedback and critique regarding constraints and my solutions not being possible has been a valuable learning experience and point of development. I have also developed my ability to give constructive feedback and provide an alternative solutions, which will be a valuable skill throughout my career.
One challenge for me has been navigating the gap between business and design worlds, with profitability and time always being considered over better solutions while balancing constraints and creativity. Being an openly creative designer is made harder when there’s boundaries and strict guidelines to follow. In one year I feel I have achieved a lot, one major achievement being the confidence I have in my decisions and work. Some disappointments have been products being paused due to conflicting timelines and learning this is a common occurrence in the design sector. Despite the ups and downs of the year, I have came out the other side able to reflect on the challenges I accomplished and disappointments I dealt with.
Placement has impacted massively, confirming this is the career and specialty I want to move into once graduated, the skills I have learnt and qualities I have developed will set me up for my career once graduated. I am excited to graduate and get back into it. It has been a year of development which simply can not be replicated in a university environment, dealing with real customers and real problems is a steep learning curve and has been a great experience. It has left me wondering if I would find more accomplishment in a highly creative role with less constraints but I now know that no matter where I work once a project is complete there is a sense of satisfaction and reward.
In regard to personal development, working within the design sector has proven to me that you can enjoy your work. Learning how to balance working full time with other commitments was a challenge but has overall improved my organisation and time management.
In regard to professional development, I have developed skills and qualities which will aid me in any future line of work. Developing in areas such as presenting work, communicating my ideas effectively and facilitating test sessions will be valuable for the rest of my career. This will allow me to fulfil any future roles I gain to my full ability with full confidence in myself.
In conclusion, I have had such an enjoyable and valuable year at Global Payments Integrated and can now safely say that UX is the career for me. The skills I have learnt and developed will not only stand by me in final year but continue to aid me throughout the rest of my career.
A lot of people have played a role in making placement year educational and enjoyable, the teams have provided me with a channel to ask questions and learn how teams in a work environment communicate and collaborate. Some specific people have provided me with encouragement and daily support to push me further.
Jordan Hamilton and the Director of Technical Writing, Stephen Picton, both positively impacted my placement. Jordan’s support and advice has widened my knowledge of design and helped gain/develop skills. His guidance improved my work pace and allowed freedom to problem solve and complete challenging tasks. Stephen was a constant support offering guidance on communicating, presenting and assisting with other tasks less focussed on design. He also ensured that I stayed on track, continuing to learn and develop every week. Finally, Justin Jolley has been full of knowledge and advice throughout projects and weekly meetings. Continuously providing feedback and pushing me to continue to improve throughout the year.