avatar for Scott Furlong

Scott Furlong

State Street Global Advisors
Global Head of User Experience
Creative, innovative, and highly-organized user experience professional, with the ability to build strong alliances with clients and business partners, and to create visions and strategies to achieve business goals. Passion for creating superior customer solutions guided by user empathy, user experience principles and attention to detail through the research, design and implementation process.

What do you enjoy about the work you are doing in finance?
In the finance industry, I enjoy the tremendous opportunity to positively impact users and achieve business goals through strong UX practices. UX can be used to simplify complex concepts, reduce frustration and alleviate emotions during the decision making process or during disruptive market conditions. There is no shortage of UX opportunities in the financial industry.
What gets you most fired up in terms of a technology, tool, trend, or advancement?
I get most fired up about defining who that actual end user is. I strongly support a new desire to dig deeper on who financial firms should be designing for. For example, should we be designing solutions for what keeps an advisor up at night, or should we be designing for what keeps the advisor's clients up at night? This extends beyond the features offered to users and actually includes how we should be talking to users; telling them what they want to hear instead of what we want to tell them.  
What do you think the future of financial experience will hold?With the increasing trend to manage and lower expenses, UX can play an even more prominent role in the planning, creation and implementation phases of a project by course correcting projects and ultimately reducing costs and increasing speed and efficiency of delivering projects. Successful companies will be engaging their UX professionals early and often.
What is the biggest obstacle you face in building a culture of design and innovation or putting a focus on wellbeing? How might the industry solve it?
There are two related obstacles. First, everyone wants to be a designer. Given the collaborative nature of design, stakeholders often start to weigh in on design decisions instead of informing the requirements for the designs. The other obstacle is the lack of understanding for UX design. If user experience has been successfully incorporated throughout a project the output should have a simplicity that is often misinterpreted as being simple to achieve. The two of these combine into stakeholders having strong opinions about designs, particularly close to the finish-line of a project and results in having to revisit the rationale behind some of the design decisions and potentially distracts or delays a project. I use the concept of swim lanes in my projects, which is just another way of defining roles in responsibilities, but allows me to push back on my stakeholders in a fun way to check them when they start to swim in the design lane. I’m also working on a certification program to educate non-UX people on the UX design process and the science behind it.
What would you tell your younger self?Be patiently aggressive. Just because a design concept is right doesn’t mean it is the right time for it. Change is difficult and sometimes you need to push an organization to achieve what it is capable of and build a roadmap that can be scaled as the organization becomes ready over time.
Friday, October 25

4:20pm EDT