UX Thought Leaders – The Benjamin Keyser Interview

UX Thought Leaders – The Benjamin Keyser Interview
September 8, 2016 Séamus Byrne

I sat down with Intercom’s Director of Design, Benjamin Keyser, to talk about his session at UX Ireland, his work in the design industry, and what he is most looking forward to emerge from the design sector over the next few years.

Hi Benjamin, thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to me today. So, your talk for UX Ireland is entitled “From pages to threads: designing the future of online experiences”. What is it about?

My talk is about the threaded UI paradigm as a way of changing how computing works with people. I have been working on messaging and messengers for a big part of my career, and I have seen how powerful that organisational principle can be. So this is a very interesting topic for me personally, and I see it changing dramatically in the future.

What recent innovations have there been in the area?

There is a lot of discussion right now about Chatbots, Artificial Intelligence, and ML. I think it is incredibly interesting and I believe these will be huge themes going forward. But more than that I believe messaging and chat UIs will be the first place we will start to see these services be decomposed into their smallest parts and served in context with the conservation. I think this is going to be very powerful, so I am watching out for that.

Considering the activity of the design community in Ireland, the numerous meetups, workshop, and conferences being held these days, how do you feel the state of design is in Ireland?

I feel as though Ireland, much like everywhere else, is globalising rapidly. From what I see, at least at Intercom, is an incredibly high quality mixture of people from all over Europe and the US. So I don’t really see it as just Irish design or just Ireland, but rather global design coming to Ireland.

So, right now you work at Intercom as the Director of Design, what does that entail?

I manage a team of Product Designers. I oversee the Art Direction / Creative Direction parts of the process as well as the Product Design and future design parts of the process.

You have previously worked at companies such as Apple, Ubuntu, Razorfish, IBM, why did you decide to focus your career towards design?

I have worked at a lot of companies where I have been either a product manager, or a product designer myself, or a user experience designer. The reason why I am in Ireland right now is because of the great work Intercom is doing.

What is the future of user experience?

Decomposition, I think will be a huge theme going forward. Interfaces and interactions will be decomposed into smaller and smaller pieces, and will be served in many different contexts and environments.

Finally, what advice would you give a Junior Designer heading into the User Experience industry?

  • Develop your ability to think in an organised, linear fashion.
  • Learn how to communicate and express yourself clearly.
  • Watch everything that is going on in the market

To read more about Benjamin and his talk at UX Ireland, as well as many other wonderful case studies, workshops, and talks, head over to http://uxireland.net/programme/

The UX Ireland Conference, taking place on 10-11 November 2016 at the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute in Dublin, will be an exciting gathering of UX, User Research and UI designers in Ireland. UX Ireland is co-organised by the team at Software Acumen – specialist software event providers, and Graphic Mint Ltd.

Séamus Byrne
Séamus is the Director of User Experience at Graphic Mint.