Introducing... Liam Ferguson, Product Designer at Thrive.App

Team Thrive is growing! Introducing Thrive.App's new Product Designer, Liam Ferguson, who tells us a bit about his experience and shares his views on the future design of the Thrive App.

At Thrive.App, we’re particularly proud of the fact we’ve built an award-winning employee app and transformed employee communication and engagement for clients across the globe – all thanks to our small but energetic team based locally in Belfast, Northern Ireland. We couldn’t have achieved all that we have without our exceptionally talented team and we’re continuing to grow the team to help us on our mission to improve the employee experience for everyone, everywhere.

We’ve recently recruited a key new member of Team Thrive to help us achieve that mission, and we’re delighted to introduce Liam Ferguson, our new Product Designer! Here, Liam tells us a bit about himself and how he sees the Thrive App growing and improving in the future.

Hi Liam, and welcome to the team! What is your role within the company – what are you responsible for?

I’m a Product Designer, responsible for designing new features for the Thrive.App ecosystem, increasing our product capabilities and ensuring a high-quality experience across all our platforms.

Tell us about your background and experience of working in design/product design?

I first started designing and building websites as a young teenager, making embarrassing wrestling and music fan-sites for fun. While doing an internship as a photographer for a music magazine in Toronto when I was 18, I started helping with their website, which is when I realised that I could do this as a career.

I then studied a Foundation Degree in Interactive Multimedia at my local college in Newry, and started working as a web developer and designer, making mostly marketing websites for businesses in Ireland and the UK. After my degree, I moved back to Toronto and worked for an advertising agency, helping creative teams who were mostly focused on print, billboard, and TV advertising to transfer their ideas and concepts onto the web as I was the agency’s first digital-focused employee.

I then spent almost five years working for an Irish start-up company, helping to build a B2B and wholesale-focused e-commerce platform. I worked across design, frontend, and backend development, eventually transitioning to focus purely on improving and maintaining the User Experience (UX) maturity of the product, creating style guides, reusable components and improving the User Interface (UI) across the multiple product offering.

Talk us through your design process – what does it typically look like/involve?

I find the design thinking process of ‘Empathise, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test’ is a powerful and adaptable framework to help design and make the right things.

I believe any product design process needs to start and end with the users in mind. As people responsible for building a product and being so close to the inner workings, we can often create assumptions of what people might want or need, or how they will expect something to work, but these hypotheses can often be misjudged and prove to be inaccurate.

The design process should always include conducting user interviews, regularly asking for feedback, and generally just chatting things through with the people that are going to end up using the things we build. Our best new features and improvements are going to come from the source, so that validation is crucial.

What do you envision for the future design of the product?

I’m looking forward to helping keep the high quality of product design and delivery that’s been evident in the product over the past number of years, and working with our team to keep growing our offering. I will be working on ensuring our product roadmap outputs the best results possible along with improving various aspects of our apps and CMS for our clients.

Working with our Product Owner, Dan Gore, I’m excited to work on his vision for bringing Thrive Labs into fruition over the next while, where we aim to experiment with new ideas and concepts, bring our customers into product process more, and work with them to validate early on product improvements and decisions.

What's next?

To find out more about Thrive App updates, including current features and future plans on our roadmap, check out our feature updates blog.