NCR Critical Reflections


My experience at NCR as a whole provided a great deal of valuable insight into the inner workings of a corporate business. However, as can be expected, there were both positive and negative factors to the overall experience. This section will detail my experiences and discuss my reflections on several aspects of my time at NCR Dundee.


Management of workload

At the beginning of the Socially Mobile project I decided to follow a hybrid form of the Double Diamond design process with certain service design methodologies used throughout. This process plan acted as a successful tool for keeping me on track and could be easily altered as my process become more informed. As a result, my process plan evolved as the project developed.

  1. Framing (Me) (find out what the problem is and what stakeholders are involved)
  • Objectives and research questions
    • What is the problem and who does this problem effect?
  1. User insights (Users) (find out who is/isn’t communicating and how they do so)
  • User Journey Map (Satisfaction & Actors map)
    • A map of the individual stakeholder’s interaction to the service journey. The map will include individual satisfaction and actor touchpoint maps. The researcher will then ask the stakeholder what they felt the reason was for each of their highest and lowest points.
  1. Personas (Users) (Find out how to best appropriate the design for each stakeholder)
  • Persona and User Analysis
    • Discover what each stakeholder’s service attitudes are, are they leading there section or are they lead, are they the controlling stakeholder or are they submissive? The persona will also detail the individual motivations and demotivations of the role they play. An understanding of the tools they use each day will allow for an understanding into how to best position the end output, be it an app or another such service.
  1. Design scope (Me) (define a clearer image of the challenge and objectives)
  • Design Challenges
    • Rework the initial objectives, given the new insights. What is the service that needs to be improved? Who are the key stakeholders? Describe the measurable goals of the service and finally state the newly honed design challenge.
  • Design Requirements
    • Considering the new design challenge, what are the highest level goals within the Physical (usage environment), Active (activity’s and operations of use), Emotional (non-functional), Relational (interactions with other), Tangible (physical item) and Rational (functional) contexts? Select the most important requirements that will make the most difference if offered a good answer.
  1. Ideation (Me) (develop several ideas and condense them into viable concepts)
  • Inspiration Blossom
    • Place the design challenge in the centre of a page with the main requirements arranged around it. For each requirement, select a current example of a product/service that acts to fulfil the requirement. Think about why this example is effective and write the reasons down, arranging them around the example product/service. Finally combine the best properties from the examples into ideas for the future service.
  • COCD Box
    • Once you have collated all the ideas from the previous exercise place them into their corresponding CODA box. After you have assigned each idea you will be able to now categorise them into ideas to “forget about”, “look to later”, “consider” and “may include”.
  1. Concept Refinement (Me) (speculatively illustrate the top concepts in action. Do they address the issue?)
  • Concept Storyboard
    • Now create a storyboard for those ideas that seem to be the most valuable, considering all the key stakeholders. Acknowledge and state the activity and any touchpoints that may be made in each scene, highlighting any potential pressure points.
  • New Speculative User Journey Map
    • Create a journey map that considers the actor touchpoints and if the concept would work effectively considering all the key requirements.
  1. Prototype and test (Users) (Test the concepts and analysis there use)
  • User Satisfaction Map
    • Create or get the user to create a satisfaction map that highlights the individual pressures and satisfactions whilst using the service concept.

The plan can be divided up into the four categories of the Double Diamond process:

  • Discover – Steps 1-3
  • Define – Step 4
  • Develop – Steps 5 & 6
  • Discuss – Step 7

I found that applying most focus on the discover stage was of great value as it allowed me, as an external observer, the ability to gain insights into NCR as a company and the individuals it employs (my user group).



The greatest challenge that I faced was the general corporate culture and the issues that related to it . I speculate that the challenges I faced are typical of most large international corporations and I do not believe them to reside solely within the NCR Corporation. However, the related issues affected my process dramatically whilst fortunately also educating me in how to better my research practice.

In the initial stages of my process I developed a short interactive questionnaire  that I disseminated to my identified user group, to better understand what role each participant played within the ATM service delivery journey. This initial dissemination yielded no results and so a follow up email was sent to all those that were invited to participate. It was quickly identified that I was most likely not going to receive any responses and so the document was re-disseminated by other members of the UCD team at NCR, in a hope that the invitees would respond to a higher level within the NCR hierarchy. Even this attempt yielded no response and after several varied attempts I re-evaluated my focus and began to find the information by other means. This company wide lack of cooperation was indeed the greatest challenge that I faced, a challenge that has been flagged to NCR as one of my greatest insights. This challenge helped me to learn that not all people are as eager to provide help as I originally perceived and that there may be a flaw in the means at which I designed the original questionnaire.

I overcame this cooperation challenge by targeting key individuals within NCR and asking a few specific questions within a semi-structured interview setting. I was able to target and interview key people internationally, that gave me great insight into their specialised field. With the information I gained I was able to inform the continued development of my process.



My main points of contacts within the NCR Corporation were the User Centered Design (UCD) Team; of whom I met for discussions and feedbacks sessions regularly. The wide range of design skills that the UCD team provided, allowed for a thorough review to be conducted whenever I required peer input. I also liaised with international NCR specialists on a regular basis, these interactions allowed me to build a greater understanding of the design requirements and how to best address them.  Most of these discussions took place over the phone and were arranged in a semi-formal interview structure; this allowed me to ask for further detail on discussion topics and created a deeper connection with the participant, allowing for follow-up questions to be asked later. Around roughly half of those that I invited for an interview accepted my offer in some way, even if it was simple an email reply to my questions, and so I had a greater deal of success via this communication technique than I had had in the past using my insights questionnaire.


Project Output

It was clear from the beginning of the placement that those that had issued the original project brief did not truly know what the final output would look like. Due to this I began the project with the mind-set that I would concentrate on the Discover stage of my process before I thought about what form the project would take. It was quickly noted that after the first two weeks, and after my first progress presentation, that my placement supervisors had begun to think about what form they desired as an output. The term “App” was stated on several occasions during my presentations and potential outcomes were usually discussed in more depth after each meeting. In my experience, I have always found it to be counterproductive to ideate before you have all the information necessary to feel comfortable in the development of a design solution. I found the constant ideation discussions quite distracting, it was subtly noted that my supervisors wanted a digital application output from this project.

The disciplinary field of digital application design is relatively alien to me, I have had limited interaction with those that practice the skills but have not every partook myself. This aspect of the project resulted in a new challenge that in turn resulted in a notable educational experience for me. As a first time application designer with a limited time scale I decided to use an online application prototyping tool called “InVision”. This tool would allow me to stitch together several PDF images in an attempt to mock the functionality of my application designs. I used my graphic design skills to develop several 2D layout designs and then used “InVision” to stitch them together. The resulting prototype displayed the basic functionality and graphical elements of the finial concept. I was informed by placement supervisors that the outcome was impressive and that it demonstrated all the aspects that they wanted to see in the final output. I consider my efforts as a success and I am a happy with the learning process and skills that I developed along the way. Through this experience I learned how to create basic application prototypes and gained further knowledge into how a digital app should be developed. Through discussions with a NCR senior interaction designer I learned what aspects of the prototype I had completed well and others that I needed to improve on.


Greatest Success & Failing

My overall process consisted of several successful aspects as well as several unsuccessful ones. Interestingly my greatest success and failing are interlinked. From discussing my outputs with my placement supervisors it was raised that my greatest weakness was the lack of cooperation that I faced with the company, however this was also my greatest finding. This finding is mutually beneficial for me and NCR as the UDC team now have evidence that certain research techniques do not function with certain user groups and I have acknowledged that failing in one aspect can result in new insights in another. I believe that my process was overall successful as it functioned well in keeping me on track and I did not loose direction. However, the initial stages were complex and user feedback was quite weak. Using this experience to further my development, I now know that I applied to much focus on the early stages (stages 1–3) and not enough on the later (arguably more important) iterative development stage (stage 7).


Personal Improvement

There are many ways in which my experience has acted to improve my abilities and many ways in which I can see it informing my future work. The major aspect of my experience that I will carry forward is user consideration. I believe that my initial insights questionnaire failed in part due to its overall design, considering both design language and scale of ask. The questionnaire was developed early in my process, without too much insight into the work that the targeted users groups are used to. I speculate that the “Insight Toolkit” document appeared alien to the user groups and without any incentive, there was no desire to complete the task. This combined with the fact that the document consists of eleven pages could have acted to deter the user from completing the task. I have since researched ways in which I could have condensed the content and made the task more desirable. I acknowledge that my main failing was that I was asking for all the information I desired and not considering how that focus could affect participation. From this experience I will be much more considerate in the future in how I ask questions and how I design the content to improve participation.

During my placement I also worked on developing skills in application design, from doing this I have built my confidence in prototyping applications and have gained a further understanding of their development. I see this as a valuable skill as the digital world is growing rapidly, and an understanding of how to apply my design skills to this field will soon be a necessary leap.

Additionally, all the experiences I have gained in relation to corporate culture and industrial design within an international corporation have added to my knowledge base, acting to inform my future work. I now have a greater understanding of how to appropriate my design skills to new user groups as well as how to address and communicate with those that I seek information from. I have gained industrial design skills such as how to complete a competitor product review, host live user trials and complete R&D tasks. All these new found skills can feed into my future work and will act to boost my currently active abilities.



To conclude, my experience at NCR Dundee has had its road blocks but has at no point hit an educational standstill. Every fall back has resulted in a lesson learned and every success story has helped to aid in my further development. I am pleased to have had the opportunity to spend time within a corporation such as NCR and will carry the experiences forward into my future design work.

cover image 1
Hero image detailing the NCR Voice mobile application in use.



Now that I am nearing the third chapter of my time at NCR, I have begun to venture into the ideation stage of my design process. For many weeks now I have had ideas rattling about in my head and it’s a relief to finally put them down on paper. I have organised my ideation into two categories, Must Have Features and Concept Cores:

Must Have Features

The must have features have been realised from research into both the suspected users, and currently used products.  It is of great importance to consider both these elements as without them the service could be either unfamiliar or not appropriate to the user. The five speculatively diagnosed features can be seen below:

  1. Custom homepage
  • In order to build a relationship between the user and the platform and to encourage continued use and gamification.
  1. Personal profile generation
  • To encourage use through the building of social capital and ego incubation. The use of a profile will also help to facilitate an informed user allocation system through the building of each user’s skill sets.
  1. Incentive system
  • In order to maintain willing participation and a gamification aspect to the platform. The reward system will also play on an already familiar system that exists currently with the NCR culture.
  1. Idea box or managed question system
  • A system that allows for the users to either offer their own insights freely or a system that allows for the facilitated governance of an allocated question system.
  1. An IM system
  • A service that allows for instant communication across the platform, this will be useful when discussing a topic between peers.


Core Concepts

I have developed four concept cores from the information I have gained over the past weeks. A concept core is an idea that has no physical form, and instead purely details the ideas intention. The below concept sheets demonstrate what each of the concept suggests, utilising a relevant image, 100 word description and the pros and cons of the general concept. See below:

Disscussion Platform-page-001 ideas box-page-001 Managed Quistions-page-001 positive feedback-page-001

I next plan to whittle these concepts down into my main concept and to create a visual map of how it will function. I will then intend to sketch out what each feature is and what it could look like. After doing this I would like to get everyone within the UCD group together to review and critique the concept.

Design Scope

Now that I am coming up for the halfway point on this project I thought it valuable to have a Re-analysis of the design scope. The design scope included such aspects as the design challenge, the design objective, the predicted users, KPIs, barriers and the design requirements.

The Objective

To gather the insights of NCRs key stakeholders by bridging the gap between those that drive the product development, and those that interact with the finished product.

Predicted Users (and what they offer)

Riggers – by feeding in the insights from the first customer interaction with the product as well as any installation issues that they personally may have.

Customer Engineers – by feeding in the customer complaints they receive regarding the servicing of the machinery. If there is a regular occurring fault this could be fed into the system.

Accounts Team – if there is any special requests or questions about the future of the industry the accounts team will be one ones that are asked. This information could be fed into the system to inform the company of any questions that the customer is starting to ask.  Accounts will also be the first person that the customer comes to if they have a problem with the current or old products.

UCD Team – Will manage the service/product in order to facilitate the exchanges of information between the development team and the customer facing stakeholders.

The Design Challenges
  1. Providing an effective incentive for the users
  2. Finding a way to maintain continued use of the service/product
  3. Making sure that the service/product can be used by all transitionally
  4. Making sure the correct amout of effort is being implemented to receive valid content
Most Important Measures of Success (KPIs)
  1. User Satisfaction: an increase in the satisfaction of the users.
  2. Resolution Timescale: the speed of resolution when acting on a gathered insight.
  3. Actionable Insights: quantity of insights gathered that can be actioned on.
Design Requirements

I split the requirements into three separate fields, seen below, and asked myself what the most important requirements are for each of the sections. I then selected 8 requirements at the end as the most important. The final 8 requirements will then be used to develop a lotus blossom (design technique).

Physical – Usage Environment

  • Portable
  • Transferable
  • Accessible

Relational – Interactions with Others

  • Transferable
  • Unobtrusive
  • Unbiased
  • Simple
  • Clear

Activities – Operations of Use

  • Simple
  • Intuitive
  • Familiar
  • Comfortable
  • Manageable

Emotional – Non-Functional

  • Enjoyable
  • Motivating
  • Clear
  • Intuitive

Rational – Functional

  • Accessible
  • Clear
  • Informative
  • Supportive

Most important Requirements (in no particular order)

  1. Manageable
  2. Portable
  3. Intuitive
  4. Familiar
  5. Motivating
  6. Transferable
  7. Unbiased
  8. Accessible

The next stage of my process is the ideation stage. I will now begin to develop some ideas around a potential outcome to solve the project objective. Considering all the above aspects I believe I have an effective grasp of the challenge at hand.

Insights Toolkit

In a previous post I discussed how I was in the process of developing a toolkit that I intended to use to understand the key stakeholders within the ATM service journey better. I have since completed the design of this toolkit and it is now (after a quick look over by some peers) ready for dissemination. The toolkit is split into 5 sections as seen below:

INTRODUCTION: A brief explanation of the project and what the toolkit serves to facilitate.


WHO ARE YOU?: A persona style questionnaire that asks the participant some background questions about themselves and the role they play.

Persona Quistionare-page-001

TIMELINE: A visualisation tool that allows the participant to map out there role within the service journey and annotate each action with who they interacted with and what the action involved.

Your Timeline-page-001

INSIGHTS MAP: A visualisation tool that allows the participant to map out how they felt during each action on their timeline. The participant is also asked to explain why they felt such a why during their highest and lowest points.


ACTORS MAP: A visualisation tool that allows the participant to map out there proximity to any other key stakeholders during their activity’s on their timeline. The participant is then asked about their best and worst experience of communicating with another.

Actor Map-page-001

I now intend to disseminate these toolkits out to the key stakeholders within the ATM service journey. Once I have collected the results I will be able to map out the most valuable aspects of the service journey and understand where the communication pressures and challenges lie. With this information I will know what areas to target and how to best appropriate any design solutions.

Sharpening the Project Focus

I recently had a discussion with one of the designers here at NCR that works across many mediums. The discussion started with a brief explanation of where my project was going but it eventually twisted into a project reforming exercise.  He explained that the project I was currently managing was very large, a point I had made myself, and explained that having such a large field to work with is not only difficult, but also not realistically manageable with the short timeframe. Acknowledging this he then recommended some directions that would be more fitting, without stating that anyone direction was the correct one to pursue. This level of feedback and commentary was very welcome as it presented a large degree of insight without controlling the project direction. Through the questions he asked, I was able to see the areas of my project that had holes or needed further detail. I found the questions that were asked very helpful to speculatively test the projects appropriateness. I took note of the questions for future referral and plan to ask myself them at every stage of project development.

It was also recommended that I look into other companies or industries to see how they have tackled the problems that I am looking into. Taking particular interest in the internal communication systems of larger companies I feel that this exercise could prove very valuable to my understanding of how communication systems work. I am interested in finding out how social media is used as a communication tool with larger companies and if it is widely considered to be effective.

The main questions that came out of the discussion are:

  • What information can each of the stakeholders provide and is it necessarily valuable to the platform as whole?
  • Whose perspective is the most valuable and is that perspective shared?
  • What benefits will this platform have for its uses and will they function as a big enough an incentive for its continued use?
  • If the platform is going to be have a lot of traffic daily how will the large amount of data collected be managed and maintained?
  • How is the content provided by contributors received/displayed, distributed to the relevant departments and controlled by those that receive it?
  • If the platform is to be presented as for internal use only, how do you facilitate the influx of consumer insights?

The above questions really ask how the platform will function in the face of known pressures, as well as to highlight key design decisions that must be addressed. I now intend to really have a think about what direction I intend to take the project. I still intend to send out several copies of my “Insights Toolkit” in order to learn more about the key stakeholders, however I believe that given the new insights I have gained I will be able to focus on the few rather than the many.



Understanding the Customer

I was recently lucky enough to be invited along to a few NCR strategy presentations that were being held for one of NCRs customers. The presentations started with the company in question detailing their current strategies and the pressures that they currently face as a company. This was a great experience for me to understand what ailments were presently affecting this specific customers industry and how the company was trying to tackle them. The initial presentation was then followed by a series of NCR lead presentation that revolved around NCRs current strategies and services. During these presentations NCR tried to address some of the pressures that there customer was facing, recommending solutions to their problems. This was a great opportunity for me to learn more about the services being developed by NCR and the relationship that is had between NCR and its customers. The discussions that were had were very interesting and informative allowing me the opportunity to build on my current perceptions of the service delivery offered at NCR. Unfortunately, and understandably, I cannot go into too must detail in regards to what was discussed; however I can say that the experience was invaluable to my learning.

I now intend to use my knowledge gained to build a better understanding of the frame of stakeholders that play essential roles within the NCR service journey.

Social Media – Customer Feedback

I had a look on the most popular social media sites to gain an understanding of what site gets the most traffic in relation to ATM faults and complaints. I was also looking into what form of complaints are popular on each of the sites.

I was only really able to find any user interaction on Twitter, of which there was a great deal. There was a few people using Twitter to contact the banks and tell them that there are ATM faults. However, most people were using Twitter to inform others that there is a fault with a certain ATM and to avoid it, tagging the bank that is involved. The general feel was that lots of people are upset and are blaming the bank for the ATM faults when using Twitter. The most common complaint was that the ATM had “swallowed” there card and the bank “refused” to return it.  Due to the bulk of tweets being sent in anger they are blunt and uninformative. It is only one the bank has replied and asked for the information that it is provided by the user.

Google+ offers discussions with other users. There is little to no discussions about ATM faults.

Facebook does not have any record of any customer complaints about ATM faults. I can speculate that because the bank has control over the content on their pages they will remove any content that could fracture their reputation.


My Design Process and Developing a Toolkit

Over the past few days I have been working to create a plan of action in terms of mapping my design process for this project.  Below you can see a 6 stage development progress that will take me from insights to user testing and completion. I simple version of the toolkit can be seen below with the 6 stages and the tools I intend to use in each section:

  1. Framing 
  • Objectives and research questions
  1. User insights and Personas
  • User Journey Map (Satisfaction & Actors map)
  • Persona and User Analysis
  1. Design scope 
  • Design Challenges
  • Design Requirements
  1. Ideation 
  • Inspiration Blossom
  • COCD Box
  1. Concept Refinement 
  • Concept Storyboard
  • New Speculative User Journey Map
  1. Prototype and test 
  • User Satisfaction Map

After I had developed the above structure, I completed the first stage (a quick few questions). I then began to design the tools for the second section; this section involves getting the stakeholders to interact with the toolkit itself.  Once I had sketched up the designs for the tools I planned how I would create them using the Adobe suit (when I gained access to it next).

2016-06-15 16.06.32 2016-06-15 16.06.42 2016-06-15 16.06.53 2016-06-15 16.07.05


Process Plan and Experience Mapping

On my first day of week two I had a progress meeting with a selection from the UCD team at NCR. Within the meeting I presented my plan of action as it stood:

  • I am in the process of developing a toolkit that will help me better understand NCR’s stakeholders. This toolkit will act to inform a greater understanding of how we can implement co-design to inform an appropriate design outcome.
  • I am about to being to work my way through a service toolkit myself. This toolkit will help me realise what areas of the project that I still need to understand better and what necessary questions I must pose.
  • I will then develop a toolkit that will include several design tools that the selected stakeholder can utilize to better inform the design team of their day to day journey (there section of the total service timeline).
  • After each stakeholder has completed the toolkit, I will create a timeline of the complete service journey with multiple layers, including touchpoints, motivations, pressure points and recommendations.
  • After this initial stage has been completed I will then begin to develop a designed solution that allows for a constant live feed of the individual voices of NCR’s stakeholders.

I also asked the UCD team several questions:

  • What Stakeholders are involved within the self-service ATM ecosystem?
  • What is the timeline of an ATM, from installation all the way through to end-user interaction?
  • Is it possible to interview/provide a probe to, all groups of NCR’s ATM service stakeholders?

I also detailed that I intended to use the following tools to map out the experiences of each of the stakeholders:

Tool What will the tool find out?
Personas who is the stakeholder
Touchpoint Matrix where do the stakeholders cross over
Stakeholder Journey Map detailed map of each stakeholders activity’s in relation
Service Ecology Map detailed analysis of a specific interaction
Service Timeline an overall map of the service journey from install to end-user interaction
Motivation Matrix  what are each stakeholders needs and expectations from one another


We as a group went on to discuss who the stakeholders were and eventually drew out a linear time line of the service journey (from leaving the production line to end-use and maintenance), including all the stakeholders that could be thought of at the time.

2016-06-08 15.01.15

It was brought up that there are eight regions within NCRs reach and it would be valuable to gain an insight from each of them, to establish a global reach. It was also said that it would take roughly 4 weeks to get anything to the regional managers and then it would take another 4 weeks roughly to get anything back. This timescale is far too lengthy for a project on this scale, but it must always be considered that there will be a long turn around on any information. The final outcome of the meeting was to pin point the most important stakeholders on the service time line. The five key stakeholders that would be valuable to me were decided as: Riggers, Bank staff, Engineer, End-consumers and ATM reclamation services. I then updated my stakeholders information sheet to include several more of the ones found on the drawn out timeline. I finally created an electronic timeline to visualise the service journey more clearly.

Week One

Day one consisted of familiarising myself with my surroundings and building an understanding of place.  Once I was settled in I was invited to a meeting in order to discuss my thoughts on the brief with both Steve Birnie (consultant industrial designer) and Charlie Rohan (senior director of user centered design). They were able to provide several names of people that work within the company that would perhaps be able to put me in contact with certain stakeholder groups along with many other useful insights.

The following day I met with one of NCR’s account directors. As a sales professional he keeps a very close relationship with his/NCRs customers. He had a great deal of knowledge of what the customer wanted and was able to give detailed accounts of how much things would cost the customer and what product they would be interested in. I was informed that the rise of the ATM has allowed for banks to move staff out onto the floor instead of behind the glass screens, allowing for more immersive interaction. I was then informed that these days the consumers can even do all there banking at home on their computer or mobile device and avoid the bank all together.

Following on from the conversations I had at the start of the week, I created my first iteration of a stakeholder’s information sheet. This sheet detailed my current knowledge of what roles each stakeholder played as well as what other stakeholders they interacted with and what observations could be made (for example a Customer Service Engineer meets the bank/tertiary business and fixed any faults, the observations that are made could include recurring harware issues or customer frustration).

I then decided that it would be valuable to map out the service journey including each of the stakeholders, in order to understand where each of the stakeholders interact and to what level of communication they undergo.  After this decision was made I began to think about who the stakeholders were and gained a basic knowledge of their role within the service journey.