NYP Grad Designs Bank’s Client Experiences

When Esmerella Fong signed up with Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) in 2003 to read the Diploma in Digital Media Design, specialising in Interactive Multimedia, she had no idea that she would wind up working in a bank.


But not as a teller or bank officer. Esmerella is part of a crack team at OCBC designing user experiences across their touch points.  Currently an Assistant Vice President with the bank, Esmerella explains: “I’m with the Experience Design Team. We design banking experience from mobile apps, internet bank to kiosks.”


Her list of projects includes the OCBC Pay Anyone app, the OCBC Apple Watch app, the OCBC Easy Queue app, The Mighty Savers programme and OCBC banking using Siri.  Thanks to this work, she’s won the Singapore Good Design Mark award in 2016 and 2017, as well as the Asia Pacific’s Leader in Smart Payments Experience award last year.


So what drives this NYP graduate? “I love learning new things. I love challenges. I started out designing websites, and I’ve moved to app and user experience (UX) design. I was initially surprised that a bank would have a UX team. At OCBC, I work on projects from conception to launch. This means I go down to branches to interview customers on their needs, work on the design and return to conduct user acceptance tests.”


She says she’s thankful that the training at NYP’s School of Interactive Media Design had taught her all the basics, and served as a springboard for her success. And she’s excited about what’s to come: “What excites me most is that my skillsets have expanded – I’ve picked up customer relationship skills, team and project management skills, leadership skills, and even interviewing skills. And I’m still learning. There’re always opportunities to provide better banking services and experiences for customers.”


Asked what she thinks will take interactive design students far in their careers, she advised: “Never stop learning. Be willing to learn. UX is now being applied in many non-design related industries, and we just have to be open to working along this trend.”


And some of her fellow Digital Media Design alumni are doing just that - Eddy Ibrahim, class of 2003 is a Communication Design Lead APAC at Facebook; Brian Lee, class of 2005, is a product designer at Spotify; and Liau Jian Wei, class of 2007, is a product designer at ZenDesk.


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