CUA of the Month – September, 2012

Rima Ramia Campbell
"You think about what the user is looking for, to be in their mind. How would they find those things? That was eye opening! It really helped us organize the website based on the user’s thought process and mental model."
 
Rima Ramia Campbell
Vice President,
User Research Lead
Citibank NA

Customer Expectations & Enterprise Goals

by Doug Gorney

“I want to balance the customer objective and the business objective,” says September’s CUA of the Month, Rima Ramia Campbell. When the business is one of the world’s leading financial institutions — with more than 15 million online customers — that’s a tall order. But Rima wouldn’t have it any other way.

As VP, User Research Lead at Citibank, Rima relishes the global challenges of her job. Providing a premier user experience for every Citibank online customer while supporting enterprise operations is not an either/or proposition. “They both have to be top of mind,” says Rima.

With retail operations in over 100 countries and territories, Citibank, celebrating its 200th year in 2012, is the third-largest bank in the USA by assets. It is a complex organization in which online initiatives have many stakeholders. And that adds yet another dimension to Rima’s job.

“When I was playing the UI architect role,” explains Rima, “there were so many challenges in meeting both the business goal and the customer goal — and, on top of that, making sure the IT department could translate the requirement clearly.

“You can know from reviewing a design whether the business goal will be met, and from looking at the wireframe whether IT is building what they need to build — but there is no way to know whether a page or site is going to meet customer expectations without testing it. It’s an iterative process that you’re never going to get 100% right out of the box. That’s a big challenge in a financial institution as big as Citibank.”

Rima credits HFI training for helping her approach the user-centered design process systematically, and for helping her team execute design requirements more effectively. The training also changed the way Rima looked at the world as a usability practitioner.

“From a usability perspective, HFI training has helped me so much with the information architecture workstream — and with putting research into practice. That is, gathering insights from various sources and using them where they will have the most impact on optimizing the site and improving the UX. You need to think about any project from the user’s point of view, not solely in terms of executing the organization’s business objective.”

“I had been performing a UX role here at Citibank on an ad hoc basis,” says Rima. “Senior management felt that if we wanted to become a user-centric organization we needed to make usability a discipline.

“In 2010 management was seeking to build a global design framework for all Citibank sites across the business and looked around to see who had the right expertise to lead usability the project. I had the extensive UX experience — and the certification. So they selected me. In late 2011 the new User Research and Insights team was formed, and I was selected to fill the new VP, User Research Lead role.”

Rima is currently responsible for usability of Citibank’s site framework at a global level. She is quick to credit HFI training in helping her advance her career and offer more to her organization.

“Anyone involved in the user-centered design process should take the course,” she says. “The material that you will learn in it will never, ever be outdated. It’s really a foundation which will help you, whether you become a UX professional or not, in any role.

"I’ve known people who’ve taken the CUA certification track and, though they have remained project managers, are able to comprehend and respect every person in the user-centered design process, because they understand their rationale and their methodology. That makes a huge difference.”

In an organization as goal-driven as Citibank, meeting often-surprising customer expectations keeps Rima on her toes. “The only way to do it is by testing in an iterative way from inception to execution. And that’s what I love about it. We will never know."

CUA of the Month

Each month we highlight the successes and achievements of a different member of our CUA community. If you are a Certified Usability Analyst and would like to be considered for CUA of the Month recognition, please send a brief professional bio to hfi@humanfactors.com

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