Ten quick-fire answers from the brilliant Lisa Halabi, Senior User Research Manager since 2012
What did you do before you joined Lloyds Banking Group?
I was a usability consultant at a number of UX (User Experience) agencies, and in a previous life I was a derivatives trader. If you want to talk pork bellies or crude oil futures, I’m your gal.
What made you decide to move to Lloyds Banking Group?
I’ve always been interested in finance and the opportunity to try my hand at client-side retail banking was a draw.
Has it been plain sailing?
Of course there are challenges. It can be tricky working at pace with other teams who aren’t so familiar with user research. We’re also in danger of becoming victims of our own success; – because of the results we’ve achieved the demand for insight and research is growing at an unprecedented pace, which can be hard to keep up with.
Can you explain what you and your team do?
Customer Labs help people elsewhere in Lloyds Banking Group learn about their customers. The more they understand how they interact and behave, the better their solutions and designs will be. My role specifically is to use research to help teams understand how customers may interact with proposed online services.
Is Lloyds Banking Group pushing any boundaries in digital?
We’re pretty hot on behavioural economics here – there’s even a mandatory training module covering biases in research. We’re also always looking at new ways to solve problems. I recently tested a service that allows customers to arrange car finance through an online portal directly with Halifax rather than having to go through a dealership.
What’s your opinion of the culture at Lloyds Banking Group – what’s it like to work there?
The quality of the people is excellent. And the agile working practices and flexibility are second to none. It would be quite hard to find anywhere quite so flexible.
You have a good view of FinTech – what can you see coming over the next year or so?
There’s lot of focus on security innovations at the moment so that’s definitely an area to keep an eye on. I also think we’ll see new markets move from an ‘own-it’ model to a ‘share-it’ one as we’ve already seen with cars & uber, and CD’s & Spotify. And a continued rise in popularity of social lending sites like Zopa.
And further ahead?
Blockchain has still to find its killer app. I’m watching and waiting for that one. Then of course there’s personalisation, biometrics and better use of big data. At the same time, users are becoming more aware of digital all around them and I’m starting to see signs of people wanting a ‘digital detox’ from time-to-time.
When you’re not watching consumers, who do you look to for inspiration?
Three people spring to mind. Firstly, Chris Gledhill, who used to work for Lloyds and left to set up his own challenger bank Secco. Then Dan Ariely, one of pioneers of behavioural economics. He writes an excellent and very funny blog. Finally, Louise Altman of ‘The Intentional Workplace’ is fantastic too. She focusses on working mindfully, handling conflict creatively, communicating consciously, and some other hippy dippy stuff I’m into.
Given that you do a lot of people watching you must have seen some interesting things.
There was a gentleman that started checking the football scores on the test computer in the Customer Lab when I left him alone for a minute – he forgot we were all watching next door.
Lisa Halabi is a contractor at Lloyds Banking Group and is a formally qualified human-computer interaction specialist with over 16 years of industry experience.
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