Research and Knowledge Exchange

Designing-with-data to meet the changing needs of business analysts

Through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership, a design expert was able to work within industry to help a growing software company offer clients an improved online customer experience.

The project

Understanding how customers interact with websites is a highly valuable insight in ecommerce. Effectively integrating ‘big data’ findings into online web targeting campaigns is a competitive arena in which marketers are showing a preference for clear, self-service user interfaces over managed service approaches.

Designing these user interfaces requires the ability to combine graphic techniques with ideas from informatics. This unique expertise in ‘designing with data’ is the basis on which the Centre for Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh (UoE) was established and, in turn, why analytical software company, Maxymiser, approached the Centre to collaborate on an innovative Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), having previously worked with the team on a short-term project.

Embedding a Research Associate in a competitive, fast-paced industry environment

Funded by the Scottish Funding Council, The Centre for Design Informatics brings together experts from the Schools of Design and Informatics at UoE to transform the ways in which we work, live, care for each other and play. The Centre’s KTP with Maxymiser was part-funded by the Technology Strategy Board (now Innovate UK) and ran from August 2013 to February 2015.

The project involved a full-time Research Associate, Simon Lloyd, working as part of the Maxymiser team as a User Experience designer. The challenges of working within a highly competitive, fast-paced industry included a redefinition of the KTP aims when the commercial partner restructured four months into the project.

Bringing new techniques and assets to a high-growth, global market place

Experiencing, first hand, the needs and pace of business-to-business ecommerce was invaluable for the University team involved in the KTP, including Simon and the project’s academic lead, Zoe Patterson. They have shared these insights extensively, including at the New Ventures and Future of Web Design conferences in the USA, at the Council for Higher Education in Art & Design conference in the UK, and at several events within the University of Edinburgh, including an Agile Product Management workshop.

The project enabled Maxymiser to bring new techniques and assets to a high-growth, global market place, providing the company with advanced marketing capability to help clients close the loop from acquisition to retention of customers. By August 2015, it was optimising over 20 billion customer experiences per month, and was acquired by Oracle Marketing Cloud, the fastest growing software platform for modern marketers in the world.

Simon's time with us through the KTP project enabled us to address user interface and user experience challenges in a much more efficient way, and to deliver products that are much more useful for our customers.

Alasdair BaileySenior Product Manager, Maxymiser


Knowledge Transfer Partnership part-funded by the Technology Strategy Board (now Innovate UK).


Simon Lloyd, Research Associate, School of Design, Edinburgh College of Art

Zoe Patterson, School of Design, Edinburgh College of Art


Innovate UK - Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Oracle Maxymiser