“We want products that exceed expectations and also fit within the budget”
San Francisco, September 27th, 2017
Design thinking-based and technology driven, Momentum Design Lab opened its doors 15 years ago and specializes in product innovation, customer experience management and digital transformation. The agency now has branches in the United States and in London and houses a team of experts, UX/CX strategists, designers and technologists, passionate about software and solving complex problems.
Momentum Design Lab has gone through more than 500 projects and worked with over 200 clients on their design, strategy and technology, such as Sony, Ticketmaster, Mastercard, SAP, FICO and Turn. Behind most of that work is Katie Welka, Project Manager at the agency with a wide experience on driving budget-conscious and high-quality products.
In an interview with TIA, Welka gives us an inside look at the agency’s daily work, highlighting the best projects she has so far worked on as well the challenges faced.
“Momentum drew me in with their passion for usability. As a top-rated product UX design agency, they had a strong portfolio and an attractive variety of clients. I feel it’s a huge benefit to my career to be involved in Momentum’s process,” Welka said, describing the features of working at Momentum Design Lab.
Tell us about your career and why did you choose to be part of Momentum Design Lab
I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be in tech. I worked my way up through Production roles and touched everything from video games to healthcare. Momentum drew me in with their passion for usability. As a top-rated product UX design agency, they had a strong portfolio and an attractive variety of clients. I feel it’s a huge benefit to my career to be involved in Momentum’s process. Our UX designers flesh out powerful experiences by digging into the core knowledge of who our user base is and what their flow is intended to be.
What are you passionate about and why did you choose to do what you do?
I am fascinated by human psychology and behaviors, which is what drew me to experience design. I chose the Project Management side, however, because I very much enjoy working in teams and being involved in the full lifecycle of a project’s launch.
What are the key ingredients for a successful design?
-An intimate knowledge of the target audience or user group
-A solid understanding of the client’s business goals
-A finger on the pulse of design trends and the trends of the industry you’re designing for
If you had to choose the three most successful projects you have worked on, which ones would they be?
-Verifone Carbon (Platform Design) – a fresh, new Android-based POS that modernized their product to compete with competitors like Square and Clover.
-Sumtotal Systems (Enterprise Performance & Learning) – a massive redesign that centralized tools and increased usability by 65%.
-EMC [Now OpenText] (Enterprise Content Management Platforms: Documentum and Leap) – a transformation of heavy enterprise applications into a comprehensive, task-specific suite of cloud-based mobile applications that could be cherry-picked for specific user needs.
Could you name a challenge you are currently facing or have recently faced with a project?
As clients’ ideas come to life through design, it often inspires new ideas on functionality. As a result, new client requests are made that can easily balloon outside the budgeted scope of the project. We want to deliver the best of both worlds – a product that exceeds client expectations and also fits within the allotted budget. Accomplishing this is what makes our company great!
How do you organize yourself on your daily work at the agency?
My Chrome tabs are often a to-do list for my day. There is a ton of context switching as a Project Manager at an agency, so keeping a running list of your to-dos is critical.
Where do you see yourself professionally in ten years?
I feel this industry is constantly changing and I intend to evolve with it. Momentum has been around for fifteen years, so it’s possible I could still be here, running some kind of Project Management Office or exploring Business Development.
What piece of advice would you give a recent grad looking to work in digital marketing?
Stay on top of industry trends, update your portfolio often and network like crazy.
What do you like doing in your free time?
I’m pursuing a certificate in Genealogical Research to trace my ancestors further back in time and help others do the same. I love learning about all the people who came before us to make us who we are today.
Are there online publications, professionals, industry leaders you follow?
I’m always interested in where Apple is taking their designs. I also like checking out people’s work on Behance, Dribbble, among others.
Which cities outside where you live interest you creatively?
Manhattan is my #1. From the urban art in subways to the picturesque architecture on every corner, my eyes can barely soak in everything there is to look at. There’s a pace to the city that makes me want translate everything I see into some kind of expression. Luckily, Momentum has an office there so I can visit often!
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