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Impact & Insights

Impact & Insights

BAM Employee Spotlight: Q&A with André Holmes, Manager of UX/UI Technology

"Somewhere along the line, BAM realized that a people-first mentality goes a long way, not just to keep people motivated and to promote good morale, but also to increase efficiency."

As part of our ongoing ‘BAM Employee Spotlight’ series, which features BAM team members working across various teams, roles and regions, we recently spoke to André Holmes, a User Experience and User Interface (UX/UI) Manager in our Research Technology unit in New York.


In the Q&A that follows, André shares what attracted him to the UX space, why he joined BAM and what cutting-edge trends in the web technology space he’s watching closely – and drawing inspiration from in his new role at our firm.



Q: Thanks for chatting with us, André. Tell us about your background and how you got interested in user experience-focused software design?


A: My "Aha!' moment in user experience came at a company by the name of Edible Arrangements. They’re well known for their beautiful, floral-like arrangements designed with a variety fruits; but the store-front ordering system they had when I joined was tedious, time-consuming and frustrated many store owners.


So, we sought to improve it. We interviewed a number of store owners and worked with them to develop a clean and intuitive way to accept customized orders in a significantly shorter amount of time. The work we did eventually made its way onto tablets at kiosks that were rolled out to a number of malls across the US and worldwide. The new system transformed the company’s sales and ordering, leading to shorter check-out times and higher sales volume – it was a huge success.


That was a really powerful experience for me. I learned the value of sitting down with people – the actual end-users of the software being developed – and building interfaces with their perspectives and needs in mind, as opposed to just following my own instincts as a designer.


Q: What drew you to BAM?


A: After Edible Arrangements, I incubated an educational technology startup at Herff Jones with a few colleagues, which was later acquired by Varsity Brands. It was at that point that I made my move into the finance industry. Several colleagues whom I had met at other financial firms ultimately joined BAM, and I kept hearing from them about how great the culture is at the firm.


I was connected with Dave Prezioso, BAM's Chief People Officer, and other individuals at BAM for a series of introductory conversations and interviews. In speaking with folks during the interview process, I was struck by how ‘human’ these conversations were. People made a point to end our interviews on a personal note – to find out who I am as an individual, what interests me and how we can connect.


Q: What are your initial impressions of BAM’s culture?


A: Somewhere along the line, BAM realized that a people-first mentality goes a long way, not just to keep people motivated and to promote good morale, but also to increase efficiency. People are receptive to feedback and open to new ideas – they want to see the firm succeed, and they understand that if their teammates succeed, the firm will too. There's a human synergy within the firm that's palpable in your day-to-day interactions with colleagues.


Q: At BAM, you will help manage UX/UI software design. What does that involve and what are your plans?


A: A key goal will be to consolidate and improve our software systems and tech stack. I would like to also make it easier for our various desktop and web applications to achieve a certain degree of interoperability, while also making a bigger push into the mobile space.


BAM has built digital products using a lot of different technologies – some apps with vanilla JavaScript, others with frameworks like Angular or ReactJS. One of the main things I am doing, right off the bat, is consolidating our web infrastructure and ensuring everyone is on the same page with the UI/UX decisions being made and the software design principles we employ.


I am also a big believer in leveraging interactive prototypes and championing user-centric and design-first mentalities. They can speed-up the development process significantly and ensure that apps deliver not just accurate data and required functionality; but also experiences that make our digital products enjoyable to use. 


Q: Are there any trends in the user experience space that excite you and that could impact your work at BAM?


A: In web technology, the industry is starting to embrace two things: interactive prototyping, which I mentioned, and low-code approaches to development. Low-code development is this idea of developers getting away from coding applications line by line and becoming more like composers, where they cherry-pick and plug in components to build cohesive applications.


It's the way of the future, and it can make our developers up to 75% more efficient in some cases. If we can significantly shift our time spent and resources allocated to manual coding methods and invest more in low-code platforms, then we will be way ahead of the pack.


Q: To end on a personal note, what are some of your interests outside of work?


A: When I’m not bike riding with my two kids, I enjoy reading and cooking. I'm also really big into woodworking and the outdoors. I’ve spent a lot of time building gadgets and furniture around the house. I love working with my hands to build things that are both beautiful and functional. In that respect, it definitely ties into my day job!