Meet the Evaluate Team: Ulyssa MacMillan

Evaluate is awash with team members who ensure our products are best in class, while also being splendid people to have around. In our latest edition of the Meet the Team series, we meet Ulyssa MacMillan, VP Product: Platform. With over eight years at Evaluate under her belt, there’s lots to cover, not least her focus on user experience and what she can do in 12 minutes and 8 seconds…What better way to end 2022?

What do you think is going to have the biggest impact on the pharma industry in the next five years?
The democratisation of insights and data, with the patient having a voice in the development of treatments. User-centred design has long been a foundation of good user experience design practice. At Evaluate, we build and design our products with the end user foremost in mind. We have a customer voice programme which means we talk to our users to find out what works and what doesn’t. Embracing the patient voice and insights will enable life sciences companies to be more effective in decision making, as they can be directly informed by user needs. 

What do you think is the most common mistake that pharma companies make?
Not fully understanding their target market. Again, it comes down to the patient voice and really understanding who you’re creating a product for and why. Businesses are collecting more data than ever on patients – some through clinical trials but also through the apps and devices we all use. There really is no excuse now for not understanding an audience. There are lots of things that can cause a new therapy to fail, but knowing your market really shouldn’t be one of them these days. 

Which areas of the industry are you most fascinated by? Why?
I’m an application designer at heart, so I am most fascinated with innovations in the display and delivery of data and insights that support people working in all areas of life science. Data visualisation, AI, machine learning and fully data-informed user experiences that incorporate analytics-driven decisions, statistics, feedback from users, and in-depth testing to find the best possible solution to a given use case. 

Other than working for Evaluate (of course!), what’s your career highlight to-date?
I used to work for the BBC, and whilst there were many amazing experiences, meeting the Daleks and seeing the TARDIS was a highlight. It really is bigger on the inside!

How did you end up working in this industry?
I had worked in media, news, and publishing for 15 years, and I wanted to try something completely different. An ex-colleague pointed me in the direction of a (relatively!) small data intelligence company that was looking for a user experience product manager and designer. I joined eight years ago to help deliver a new user experience, and I’m still here, working with numerous product teams on innovative life sciences intelligence solutions. It’s a fascinating place to work.

What’s the best thing about your role?
I work with a brilliant team who are passionate about delivering the best possible user experience. I even love my boss.

What’s your favourite drink?
During the festive season, I like an oloroso, from Jerez in Spain. You wouldn’t catch me drinking it at any other time of the year, I’m not sure what that’s about!

What’s your favourite industry conference/event?
Though it’s not pharma specific, I love ProductCon which is held annually in London, San Francisco, New York and online. It’s hugely inspirational, featuring speakers on hot topics who are all focused on solving customer problems. It doesn’t matter which industry they’re in, that’s what product managers and product teams do.

What really irritates you?
Bad user experiences that haven’t been user-tested before they are launched are appalling. Oh, and product developers who think they know better than their users. They don’t.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself
For charity, I ran up the British Telecom Tower in London in 12 minutes and 8 seconds which is 37 floors and 842 steps. I won’t be doing it again in a hurry!
 

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