Alumni snapshot: Emily Bowman
MSI ’12 (Human-Computer Interaction)
Director of customer experience design at General Motors
I lead a team of user experience (UX) designers primarily. It’s a multidisciplinary design team in the design of digital customer experiences, which is essentially our mobile applications, our websites, a number of software service products and we do work in the retail dealer channel as well as voice and virtual assistance.
Impact of work
The work that my team does impacts all four of our vehicle brands and every connected vehicle we have on the road. The work that we do impacts 8 million users of our mobile applications and web apps at any given point in time. We also essentially define the customer experience for our main onstar service, which is safety and security services for connected vehicles. We are the ones that create the mobile experiences and web experiences that a customer would be interacting with through any digital interface of our vehicle brands, Cadillac , Chevy, GMC and Buick.
Most valuable UMSI experience
UMSI taught me a lot about methodologies in designing for people. I really got the ability to, in an abstract conceptual sense, build systems and structures for managing and communicating information to people in a way that makes their lives easier and to fill gaps in understanding and solve specific problems you encounter throughout the design process.
Advice for people interested in getting into user experience design
The most important thing for students interested in being a user experience designer or someone who creates digital experiences for people is really to practice both the methodology but also the craft of design on as many different kinds of problems as you possibly can. Seek out opportunities to practice. One of my first jobs after UMSI was working at an agency and the reason why that was a critical experience for me was because I got exposure to a lot of different problems and a lot of different kinds of work. I got a very broad range of experience in a short period of time that helped me to reach a convergence of the theories and methods and things that you are learning in class, in a way that enriched my understanding of them and learn how to apply them in different ways as I moved through my career.
Favorite UMSI memory
I worked at the career development office and a lot of the things that stick out in my mind were related to that experience of really exploring the way that UMSI approaches the subject matter of information, people and technology. We learned about things in a broad sense so it was through the career development office that I was able to explore a whole range of pathways of where I could take my career and that office provided a ton of support and services for me to be able to do that. And I think it really set me up for success.