Reflections on Two years as a UX Director

Wow. Two years as a director of user experience at EMC.

I am shocked that it appears that it’s been an entire year since I did a personal blog post! Yikes, how can this be!!??

This past year, my team and I blogged at our EMC UX design site:, and from a personal perspective I note that instead of blogging, I tend to just post longer personal updates on my facebook page. I am sure there are media pundits, sociology researchers, and  philosophy gurus who can explain why that is so….

The team and I also posted in our  EMC community space.

I am still struggling with the low levels of community participation from our customers (compared to my experiences at SolidWorks and IBM)

My second year was a challenge in some different ways than my first. I’ll admit that one of the biggest was that I had to let people go in the beginning of the year. It was excruciating (though Len Conte still wins the excruciating prize because I had to lay him off on his first day at FTP back in the 90s).

During this past year, our “Advanced Software division” merged with another to become the “Emerging Products Division”.

Many things are changing, and in general I feel that it’s all change for the good.

We are still growing our Design Partner programs for various products, and still growing our usability test participant database (if you want to test EMC Products, sign up here!!

This year we had a new approach at our yearly conference — EMC World. We partnered with  the designers of EMC.Com to have one combined booth. It was a lot of fun!

We also still had our usability lab, as you can see below, where JoAnne is conducting a test of ViRP SRM with a customer.

joanne pointing

And we had a terrific time doing “Gorilla” usability testing!


Overall, year 2 has been a challenge. I still need to learn more about the products, but I feel like I’ve made good headway into understanding where the EMC portfolio fits into a data center or a CIO’s overall plan.

AS I write this, I have a job opening for a UX designer (located in Hopkinton, MA, Nashua NH or Montreal Que!), which is great because it indicates that EMC  has some level of appreciation of UX. My mission here is to really change the EMC culture to be more user-centric. It is a challenge, but as my friend Patti has observed about me, I love a challenge. So bring on year 3!

  1. #1 by Ying Le on October 10, 2014 - 11:45

    Mary Beth, congrats on your two years and keep up the good work. 🙂

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