Software that runs some of the world’s largest companies will soon contain elements designed by FIT interns. The FIT/Infor DTech Lab partnered with Hook & Loop, a design agency within Infor, a multinational software company, to improve the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) of various Infor products. FIT students were hired as interns to work on these projects, under faculty supervision. On November 27, they presented their work to Hook & Loop management at Infor headquarters in New York.
Infor specializes in Enterprise Resource Planning software, which helps manage the infrastructure and administration of businesses, from inventory to human resources. Large corporations such as Tommy Hilfiger and Whole Foods use an Infor product called M3; however, a scaled-down product for smaller businesses, including emerging designers, isn’t currently available.
Neil Hicks, a Production Management faculty member, led four students—Andrea Billings, Production Management; Derek Knodt, Fashion Design; Prue Ramos-Valdez, Fashion Business Management; and Dakota Reilly, Production Management—in customizing a software suite for shoe designer Noah Waxman, an FIT Design Entrepreneurs alumnus. They soon realized that Waxman would be better served by a different Infor product, called CloudSuite Industrial, which is geared toward manufacturing, not retail. Then they set about choosing elements of the program that would suit Waxman; if the product is successful, Infor might roll it out for other emerging designers.
“This project was everything we talk about in class,” Billings said. “It was nice to see those things come to life.”
Kathleen O’Brien, Advertising Design, created new color palettes for Infor products, as well as a training webinar for Infor Expense, the company’s first mobile app. Elizabeth Hartley, Graphic Design, worked on a standardized UI among Infor products. She collaborated with Danielle Fisher, Illustration ’12, a product designer at Hook & Loop, on a more readable, dynamic, and aesthetically pleasing layout.
C.J. Yeh and Christie Shin, Communication Design Pathways faculty members, guided a team of students in reimagining employee training modules for three different tiers of employees: millennials at the bottom of the corporate ladder, middle managers, and executives. For millennials, they recommended a mobile-friendly app that incorporated elements of gaming; for executives, they suggested a personalized system powered by AI.
The Hook & Loop executives in the room were inspired by what they saw.
“The interns have made an impact in core Infor technology,” said Nunzio Esposito, vice president and head of experience for Hook & Loop. “I’ve always been impressed with FIT’s students, but seeing this … you guys are clearly doing something right.”
“They’re changing the face of enterprise software,” said Michael Ferraro, executive director of DTech.