Where are they now?: Curtis Friesen

Where are they now?: Curtis Friesen

In his first position outside Niagara College since graduating from the Computer Programming Analyst program, it seems only fitting that Curtis Friesen has found himself designing something that involves collaborative workflow. That’s because his time spent in the Research & Innovation division involved a cooperative and synergetic effort with the research team with the Agriculture & Environmental Technologies Innovation Centre (AETIC).

In October, Curtis accepted a position as Intermediate UI/UX (User Interface and User Experience) Designer and Developer at the Oakville offices of ServicePRO, a customizable workflow management software company.

ServicePRO provides customizable work management systems for corporations globally and, besides Canada, has offices in the United States and the United Kingdom. Around for more than 20 years, the company has decided to revamp its software and has tasked Curtis with constructing its new UI/UX from the ground up.

It’s an important and daunting undertaking. He’s not only called upon to design and develop a UI/UX that performs well for new users, but he must also ensure the company’s current users do not get lost in the process.

“It’s a lot of responsibility on my plate, but I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be as comfortable taking on this role if it hadn’t been for my experience at Research & Innovation,” says Curtis, who graduated earlier this spring and hired on as a Research Associate with AETIC. “The overall confidence they had in me carried over immensely as I continue to work every day with strong motivation.”

“It’s a lot of responsibility on my plate, but I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be as comfortable taking on this role if it hadn’t been for my experience at Research & Innovation.”

That experience with NC involved a major project with AETIC, where he was responsible for designing the front-end user interface for the College’s Crop Portal. A significant platform for the farming industry, the Crop Portal is an interactive web software for farmers and consultants to access precision agriculture technologies so they can farm smarter.

It is a major and ongoing project that houses and processes extensive farm data into digitized maps for the agriculture community, to make better farming decisions. This visualization allows farmers more flexibility to not only verify their data, but to also set and control their own algorithms.

“Essentially, the farmers and other agriculture users upload their set of field data, the system cleans it and pulls a prescription for their field,” Curtis has described. “So the farmers can upload a huge amount of data and we’ve designed it to be visually appealing and user friendly.”

As it happens, there are definite similarities between his project with the Crop Portal and his new assignment, says Curtis, adding that with ServicePRO, the very concept involves taking an extremely complicated process that the user goes through on a daily basis and breaks it down into sections so it flows.

“Every user has a different work strategy, which is something I take into consideration everyday. The fine line that differentiates the Crop Portal from ServicePRO is that the Crop Portal had a much smaller user count,” he explains. “With those small numbers, I could essentially design and build an interface that was almost brand new, but with a much better work flow. With ServicePRO, our client numbers are sky high.”

“The work environment at Research laid the ground for me to explore new options and opportunities, and I will never forget the impact it had in kick-starting my career.”

A large part of his current focus is getting a strong understanding of how these global clients use the workflow software on a daily basis by holding feedback interviews with major clients. “With that feedback, I’m designing and building an interface that encapsulates their wants and needs, as well as improving the UI/UX, so that it has a larger potential to bring in more clients and customers.”

Interestingly, the work itself is not the only parallel – he also has a familiar face in his new surroundings with former Senior Research Associate Ryan Tunis, who was hired at ServicePRO a few months ago. The duo worked collaboratively on the Crop Portal – Ryan with the back-end programming of the enormous framework and Curtis taking on the user interface and consistency of aesthetics.

And they’ll soon get to collaborate again on the new software at ServicePRO.

Curtis says he’s grateful for the experience he received while at the College to work with clients and build his communication skills on a professional level.

“The work environment at Research laid the ground for me to explore new options and opportunities, and I will never forget the impact it had in kick-starting my career.”

For more on Curtis’s story, click here.

Where are they now?: Curtis Friesen was last modified: November 20th, 2018 by cms007ad