In this month’s Employee Spotlight, we introduce you to Pamela, Angus Systems’ UX Design Lead and well-rounded creative!
What is your education and background?
Growing up, I was strongly influenced by photography, art, and design. I was encouraged to study Image Arts at Ryerson University to develop a deep knowledge of fine arts and tell meaningful stories. After Ryerson, I saw the initial push towards digital content creation, and this led me to Sheridan College’s Computer Graphics graduate certificate program. I graduated just as the Internet was emerging.
My first job was at one of the leading full-service advertising agencies, Grey Canada. At Grey, I learned to build on brands alongside interactive projects. Building a design language was part of the agency process even before interaction design. This was at a time when there were no processes, because interactive design for the web was a new medium. As a result I strive to ensure all of my projects are methodically planned. This new medium increased my interest in graphical user interfaces, particularly with Apple and Windows® that were the leading Graphical User Interface (GUI) providers.
My second job was at IBM. This experience gave me my first exposure to software design. It also gave me the opportunity to work with larger design teams in a global setting. We explored iconography, UI design patterns, and tested the software with real users in user sessions. My background also includes User Experience (UX) consulting and leading design for various digital products for financial institutions including CIBC, RBC, and BMO. A large part of what I do is building design systems, whether it’s for small, mid-sized, or enterprise companies. Now design systems have evolved to include guidelines that include UX, visual design, brands, etc. There are so many exciting challenges today compared to when I entered the industry over 20 years ago.
What is your role at Angus Systems and what are your main responsibilities?
My role is UX Design Lead, and over the past four years, I have updated Angus Anywhere (our desktop SaaS) and the responsive Service Portal. I strive to understand our users’ needs and behaviours in order to create a focused UX design. Once the user, business, and overall design direction is set, my role is to further guide the design and explore our options, right down to the finished design. Ideation is key to good design and of course collaborating with multidisciplinary teams is very important.
How have your responsibilities expanded since you started working with the company?
Initially, I was more hands on with the design. This was a change from my previous roles, which included design leadership. We have since been growing the team in order to fully accomplish the product vision. My goal is to oversee projects on a higher level (similar to roles I have had in the past), which will allow for broad unification of products from a UX and visual design level. I also would like to collaborate with the team to develop an ecosystem of architecture, and front end coding with a design vision. I am at my best when creating conceptual design at a high level.
What do you like most about working at Angus Systems?
I like working in a smaller, close-knit environment, where you get to know people better (it’s like an extended family). I also feel that I can make a bigger impact on the products and get to see tangible results. This is a very unique experience, and I’m enjoying its challenges and benefits.
What are some of the things you’ve learned while working here?
I am learning quite a lot about the property management and commercial real estate industry.
Is there some contribution that you’re proud of?
I’m proud to have brought a solid foundation to the UX role here as I collaborate with various teams. In the past, the UX role has been shared, so my design thinking and methodologies add structure to the product’s evolution. Understanding the technicalities involved in design is key to mitigating the challenges that come up during the process.
Is there something that people would be surprised to know about you?
I’m a self-professed foodie. When there’s time, I search out restaurants and do tasting menus based on the chef’s recommendations. I really appreciate how chefs put their dishes together.
If you weren’t working at Angus Systems, what would you be doing?
I enjoy being a UX Designer, where one needs to be creative yet very technical – a balance of the right and the left brain. The notion of user experience as stories told through products has changed the way I think about design. With this in mind, I would transition to be an interior designer or an architect.
What are some of your personal hobbies and interests?
I am always looking for the next beautiful and simple design, whether it’s cars, architecture, art, or mobile apps. I also enjoy watching films and exploring all kinds of music. To be well versed in a visual design language, you need to know about popular culture and design. Being in tune with the latest trends whether it’s art, fashion, design, or music is a big source of my inspiration.