Dave Lumerman, User-Centered Design faculty, is Corporate Vice President of User Experience at New York Life Insurance, where he develops engaging interaction for New York Life websites, applications and interactive experiences, and has done so for over 20 years. Previously, he developed online games and game shows with Pearson Television and Uproar! Games, most notably “Family Feud” and “To Tell the Truth.” Dave earned his masters degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and undergraduate degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.
What led you to the User Experience (UX) field?
I have been involved with user experience longer than people have used the term. As a game designer you become very interested in the mechanics of what motivates people to complete actions, this is something today we refer to as gamification.
But it wasn’t until my early days at my current company that we began referring to the field as it is today. That’s when I began to really focus on user experience, when I methodically started crafting designs and then testing them and seeing how the interaction I was designing affected (both positively and negatively) the experience.
What industry trend is currently exciting you?
The trend toward accessibility and beyond is exciting. Transitioning from creating an experience for a narrow set of special users, to taking the leap to inclusive design, which is considering the full range of human diversity to empower people – all people – to design products, sites and services is more beneficial.
What are your best hopes for students in your courses?
While tools and technique are a natural part of all the courses I teach, the greatest thing I can impart to my students is the ability to think independently, and form their own conclusions and analysis. It’s the independent thought, the ability to “show their work” intellectually that is key. This idea is my north star for my students, and will hopefully take them through successful careers to places they couldn’t even imagine today.
Any advice for students or alumni who are job searching or preparing for a UX job search in the near future?
My advice aligns with drawing conclusions and creating thoughtful analysis. Anyone with enough time and patience can create a portfolio of work, but what sets you apart is the ability to explain the choices you made, and reasoning behind the pictures.
Having artifacts that are done well and explained well – in human terms, not pseudo analytical terms – can get your foot in the door. Once you are in, being thoughtful, with the ability to present your ideas and conclusions effectively will help you excel.
What is a fun fact about you that the Brandeis GPS community members may not already know?
Most folks don’t know that I am a serial cast iron collector. I love cooking using cast iron, dutch ovens, and cast iron pans, in the oven, the stovetop or over a campfire. I own so many cast iron pieces that I have a five-foot stand in my dining room dedicated to holding it all – much to my wife’s chagrin.
For more information on the User-Centered Design MS or other online master’s degrees available at GPS, please visit brandeis.edu/gps.
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