Interview with Marion, UX Designer at Safran Analytics
What is your role at Safran Analytics?
I work in the C3 Department (C3 stands for Conception, Collaboration and Creativity), whose role is to design prototypes based on data-exploitation (data visualisation*, IoT**, digital tools, etc.) and incorporate new methods of collaboration (collective intelligence, design thinking, etc.). To carry out our assignments, we always work in teams of three: a UX Researcher***, a UX Designer and an IT Prototyper****.
As a UX Designer, my job is to design products and services. For example, during a sprint (an Agile approach that involves delivering a solution within a given period of time), we designed a platform (web application) for managing ideas. My initial role within the team was to clarify the user need in order to design an appropriate product. To facilitate the development of the application, I then designed a clickable model that made it possible to check the path taken by users. In addition to designing products, my job also involves imagining new services, to help Data Scientists explore data using a new immersive approach, for example. For this project, we created a virtual data lab, in which you can explore data using a 3-axis graph. My role was to come up with all the possible interactions for users and to create the benchmark images that made it possible to model the environment.
What studies did you do to become UX Designer?
I have always been interested in design and wondered how day-to-day objects were created. After doing a Baccalaureate in sciences and technologies in applied arts and taking a Higher Technical Diploma (BTS) in product design, I rounded off my training with an industrial design course at the "Strate" Design School (France). This training enabled me to discover how design could be applied to different fields, which made me decide to orient my career towards interaction design*****.
What qualities do you need for your job?
Above all, you need to have a sense of empathy to really understand users and get them to express their real need. Then, you need to be creative, because we have to deliver innovative solutions to problems. You also need to be pragmatic, because our products and services are actually meant to be used! Our projects have to be viable, particularly in the highly demanding industrial environment we operate in. Finally, you need to have good communication skills, because we work with every type of profession (data scientists, developers, visual inspectors, engineers, directors, and so on).
What do you like most about your job?
Being a UX Designer enables you to reconcile the company's activity with real human needs; we don't just work on the appearance of the tools but also, and particularly, the experience provided by the tools: their different features and ergonomics, for example.
I also love being able to explore complex systems and new technologies, such as virtual reality.
Finally, I really enjoy the fact that we work on a wide variety of issues involving contact with many different people and professions within the Safran Group.
Where do you see yourself in a few years from now?
I am just starting out on my career and since my job is quite new, I think it will evolve. At Safran, we still have a long way to go to make people aware of this profession. So, I have plenty of work to keep me going!
* Data visualisation is the study, science or art of representing data in a visual format. This may be through graphs, pie charts, diagrams, maps, time charts, computer graphics and even original graphic creations or photos.
** The Internet of Things (IoT) is the extension of the internet to things and places in the physical world.
*** UX Researchers ensure that users are taken into account in the design of new tools; they identify users' needs through in-depth research.
****IT Prototypers have a broad technical background (electronics and computing); this enables them to have a view of the system as a whole in order to build prototypes.
***** Interaction design is the field of design devoted to designing digital products and services.. The UX designer's job is part of this field of application.