Niamh Parsley

Fjord - We put design at the heart


I joined Fjord straight out of grad school in June of 2015. I chose Fjord because of the incredible talent, the inspiring leadership, the family-like culture, and the approach to service and product design. During my time at Fjord I have worked as a Service and Interaction Designer, designing for financial services, consumer electronics, and social impact.


Managing Relationships


Some of my first projects at Fjord included the re-evaluation and re-design of client relationship management tools for financial service clients. Through stakeholder and user interviews across different parts of the U.S., my team was able to identify the core issues our clients faced. Through collaborative sessions with our stakeholders and users we created user journeys that mapped out the current state of what our users were faced with as well as the ideal state of the possible. Our initial concept sketches included solutions to expedite the process of reviewing client information, and letting smart systems handle the menial tasks that burden our users in their day-to-day jobs so they could place focus on what mattered most to them: their clients.


Making rapid prototype iterations based on stakeholder meetings and user testing feedback, collaborating with visual designers and having frequent conversations with the technical lead to ensure feasibility along the way helped us deliver detailed design screen-based solutions to our client in the most efficient way.


Understanding the Competition


One of our financial services clients had been working on a robo-advisor offering and asked for our help. They wanted to understand how their robo-advisor measured up to the competitors' and what direction we could give them to ensure success when they launch. We defined what leading and lagging practices are and became subject matter experts in the space for the client, ultimately delivering our insights thorough a heuristic analysis, competitive and comparative analysis, and concept sketches. We recommended directional changes in their approach and fostered a continued relationship for Fjord to be more involved in their design process moving forward. They took us forward as their trusted advisor and took a new stance on how they need to deliver a credible and compelling experience against incumbent financial institutions as well as the smaller, nimble startup space.


Reinventing a Prestigious Brand


One of the biggest design challenges I've faced at Fjord has been helping one of the world's most prestigious audio hardware companies introduce software-based experiences into their product ecosystem. Working as one team with our client's renowned team of industrial and interaction designers, product strategists, and engineers, we explored and targeted ideal experiences to deliver to their customer for 2018 (and beyond) product launches. Based on existing client research and goals we worked on concept sketches and prototypes to create a consistent and intimately connected ecosystem of products and experiences. In order to put together a UX roadmap for a 5-year feature and experience roll-out, my team closely collaborated with the tech team to manage feasibility expectations.


Listen Up


Outside of client engagements, I have had the opportunity to contribute to thought leadership both internally and externally through conference workshop facilitation and the creation of design guides. Based on some of our Voice UI thinking and work for our consumer electronics client, a small team put together an interactive guide and toolkit for other Fjord designers. This internal microsite shared our research and design principles, and communicated design activities we crafted to help designers get started designing for voice.


Designing for Culture


At Fjord we value our tight-knit culture and community. As such, I've led our bi-weekly Interaction Design craft meetings to create a space where interaction designers can discuss current work, inspirations, and learnings. The format of these meetings are often activities, share-outs, or a combination of the two. These meetings have fostered a deeper connection within our interaction design craft team. I've led this initiative by designing from within and creating a space for inspiration, learning and interpersonal connection that not only helps our camaraderie but our work quality.


Creating a More Resilient Workforce


Storytelling is a part of every project I work on at Fjord, whether we are sharing our recent design obsession at an IxD meeting, putting together a deck for a client readout, a microsite as a part of a final deliverable, or a motion graphic to pitch an idea. Most recently I have been working on a social impact project aimed at empowering workers currently threatened by automation to re-orient toward a meaningful future. I've worked with my team to craft the story of our primary concept of an experimental program that gives workers the opportunity to gain real-world work experience in a variety of roles, with the support system to realize untapped potential and adapt to ever-changing work environments. We turned our story into a voice over script and animation, choosing the most effective medium for the story we are telling. We plan to run a pilot experiment of our concept and have been effectively using our storytelling materials for pitches (check it out at