Experience Design for People: Products, Services, Systems & Businesses | Advisor
Niamh is a remote-first researcher, product strategist, designer and advisor. She has worked both in-house and on the agency side, on User Research/ Customer Discovery, Experience Design (UX, CX, SD), Product Management, Design Leadership, and Marketing Communications initiatives. Since 2013, she has run her own consultancy, Nova Ray Consulting, where she helps human-centred organizations deliver experiences that matter. Her clients range from start-ups to enterprise technology companies, from governments to airports.
• If you're on social media, you are likely to have used one or multiple platforms Niamh has contributed to.
• She has worked on 4 mobile apps that were featured in the 'Best of' section of the App store.
• If you have used a new or updated provincial government service online, you may have been guided through a process she helped shape.
• If you've travelled through Toronto International airport, you've possibly also experienced an interaction Niamh researched and helped design.
• She was the first UX/Research hire at a Canadian unicorn, and helped train, up-skill and grow the ux/cx/sd + product practice.
• She has worked across Europe, Canada and the U.S., while researching, designing and advocating for users worldwide.
• She has led digital transformation projects, including evolving the Sauder School of Business at UBC's online brand, digital and social media, from non-existent to campus leader.
• Areas of specialty: Research, Design, UX, CX, EX, SD, HXD; end-to-end experience design, product, marketing + business strategy.
As a project or client's needs' dictate, Niamh can step in as a more hands-on leader in Research, Product, UX, Design and Creative Direction. She often partners with and helps "size up" organizations, or provides consulting.
She is also engaged as an advisor to help with business models, evolve processes, increase customer research, product and design maturity levels, and help upskill teams. She can provide training, coaching and mentorship on a limited basis.
Niamh works on projects directly with clients, or as a partner for select others. She can also recommend or bring in additional experienced or specialist professionals and agencies from her network, to work and partner with on larger or complex projects, when needed. With proven facilitator abilities she leads user research, experience design, product, content and experience strategy for users (UX), customers (CX), employees (EX), patients (HXD), citizens (SD), guests and passengers - all types of people.
While she can't discuss every project, Niamh has had the opportunity to work on engagements for:
• Product: Saas, B2B/B2C from start-ups, to scale-ups, to enterprise tech
• Technology incl. Microsoft, FAANG-type engagements, Pluralsight, Course Hero +more...
• A Bill & Melinda Gates-backed start-up in the diversity + inclusion space
• Leading North American ux, service + product design / tech agencies: Antenna UX, MetaLab, Habanero Consulting Group, OXD
• Toronto International Airport
• Education including: The University of British Columbia, Surrey School district, Dublin City University
• Government including: Governments of British Columbia, and Nova Scotia
• eCommerce/ Retail including: lululemon athletica
• Healthcare including: Vancouver Coastal Health, Community Living BC, BC Nurses Union
• Energy/ Utilities including: Fortis, APEGA
• Financial/ Fintech including: Coast Capital Savings, Servus Credit Union
• Legal including: BC Law Society
• Provincial crown agencies including: Community Living BC
• Telecommunications including: Meteor Communications; now Eircom Limited/ eir, Ireland
• Mercury Digital
• Sumo Multimedia
+ more, maybe you? Get in touch.
Niamh strives to work on world positive, interesting and purposeful engagements in progressive problem spaces. She is particularly interested in design + tech for good, innovation in education, healthcare, sustainability/ cleantech, inclusive design, accessibility, emerging technology and positively disruptive entrepreneurship. She has been at the forefront of advocating for UX and design in the technology community and others - in Dublin, Ireland, then Vancouver, BC, now working remotely from the East Coast of Canada - in addition to being a passionate booster of equality and opportunity for everyone in the industry.
Teaching, training, speaking, judging, mentoring, consulting, volunteering...
• Currently engaged as a Design Coach and Mentor for a number of talented interns and designers across North America, Microsoft Garage.
• Board of Directors, St. John's International Women's Film Festival, 2020.
• Recently advised and helped develop the curriculum for a new Product Management offering, due to launch online in late 2020.
• Helped set-up Design NL, a community of design practitioners: growing literacy, value, awareness, and visibility, 2020.
• Guest speaker, presenter, mentor or judge: DE:FUSE - Design for Use, IxDA Ireland, Vancouver UX Awards, Hootsuite Hackathons, UBC, SFU, Emily Carr University of Art & Design, and Vancouver Film School -ongoing.
• Strategy committee & organising volunteer for VanUE - the Vancouver User Experience Group. 2014 - 2019
• Developed the curriculum for, Instructor: UX & Content Strategy courses, UBC. 2013 - 2015
• Advisory Board: UBC Sauder School of Business; Design Thinking, Digital Strategy, Certificate in Digital Content & Communications. 2013
• Founded Refresh Dublin: "A community of designers working to refresh the creative, technical, and professional culture of New Media." 2009
With over 18 years professional experience, Niamh has worked on or led the research, product development + services strategy, and experience design of websites, apps, products, services, and physical or hybrid experiences (software, hardware, digital and non-digital)- for airports, technology companies, design, and product development agencies, universities, healthcare, governments, law societies, provincial agencies, eCommerce/ retail, energy/ utilities, financial institutions, and consulting firms.
With a multi-disciplinary background that intersects design, technology, marketing communications, and business, Niamh has provided consultation on research, design thinking, ux/ cx/ service design, product, content strategy, branding, and design as a strategic business tool and competitive advantage. She has worked both in-house and on the agency side to Director and Principal-level (at 1000+ sized companies), working with teams incl. marketing, sales, support, design, product management and engineering (lean UX / agile / iterative design), and reporting or presenting to C-suite and SVP level. She can act as a Principal IC or interim leader for hire to help improve processes in places that need to ramp up efforts and increase their organization's design/ services / product maturity. If you are a company with only one or a few designers and product managers, or those new to their roles, she can help - reach out!
• First UX/ User Research hire, when she was headhunted by Hootsuite, working to instil a user-centric mindset, to bridge product management with product design, and then with engineering, data, and customer teams company-wide, including Marketing, Sales, Customer Success and Support. She subsequently worked as the Principal-level Researcher at the company.
• Previously led digital design + creative direction, UX, content strategy and online marketing + communications at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia, placing that faculty as a leader in social media and progressive user-centred applications. She was subsequently asked to advise on the Universities' Social Media Governance committee.
• She has also had in-house positions in consulting, ICT and other marketing communications and design teams, in organizations such as ESB International, Goodbody Stockbrokers
Niamh works with clients directly and has partnered with world-class agencies including Metalab, Antenna, Habanero Consulting Group, and OXD. She has worked with a range of organizations, including start-ups and scale-ups, small to medium sized businesses, international and global technology companies, and has provided research, strategy, UX/ experience design, and product development services to leading brands.
• M.A. Design for Digital Media Technologies (Hons.) | School of Media, Technological University Dublin, Ireland. 2006
• BSc. Multimedia (Hons.); Communications | Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, Dublin City University, Ireland. 2004
• Certificate in Entrepreneurship, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 2019
• Women in Tech Leadership Series, Gardiner Centre & Genesis Centre, Memorial (MUN), 2019
• Leading for UX: A Masterclass for Creative Professionals, THNK School of Creative Leadership, 2016
• Product Management Training, Pragmatic Marketing Certified (PMC), Pragmatic Marketing Institute + TDI, 2013
• Communication Design, Typography, Industrial Design & Stereoscopic 3D Imagery
-- Continuing Studies courses, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, 2012 – 2015
• Scholarship recipient: Certificate in Photography, Langara College, Vancouver, BC. 2013 - 2020
• Mobile App Design, The University of British Columbia, 2013
• Production Management for Producers, Entertainment Distribution; UBC Certificate in Entertainment Administration, 2012
• Continuing studies: Writing for the Screen, and Writing with Style by Karen X. Tulchinsky, UBC, 2011
• UBC Award of Achievement in Web & Data Analytics, The University of British Columbia, 2011
• iPhone, iOS design and development course, Dublin Ireland, 2009
• Diploma in Internet Marketing, Communications, PR & E-Commerce, Fitzwilliam Institute, Dublin Ireland, 2008
• PRINCE2 Project Management: Practitioner Level Certification, 2007
When she's not in her 'day job', other interests include:
• Photography, the creative arts, writing, storytelling, film, music, guitar
• Good design, continuous learning
• Health and fitness, nature, animals, the outdoors