Unsung Heroes - the experience designer: Jeff MacDonald, Epic Signal

Jeff MacDonald works as an experience designer at New York-based Epic Signal.

The Drum's 'Unsung Heroes' series is a celebration of the people in the industry who slog hard behind the limelight for their companies, brands and clients. As they are seldom in the spotlight for their contribution to the success of campaigns, this is their time to shine.

As someone who loves to get his hands dirty by building prototypes, Jeff MacDonald, who works as an experience designer at New York-based Epic Signal, loves seeing his ideas for his clients come to life when they go live.

Why is your job important?

My job is important because it allows me to build the agency that I want to work at.

Being an experience designer at Epic Signal means I get to own the digital experience for our brands, and that gives me the freedom to define when that experience ends and begins.

What is the hardest and most stressful part of your job?

The most stressful part of the job is bridging the gap between very technical partners and less technical colleagues and clients.

A lot of my job is helping to explain the technical aspects of our digital experiences to our clients and the agency, and it can be a lot of learning on its own to know every aspect of the technical side of the job.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of the job is getting to see my ideas come to life when they go live. Something that was a wireframe or a prototype becomes a full-fledged experience that people in the real world use and touch.

First thing that comes to people’s minds when you tell them your job?

Most people are confused by my title at first, as the experience design field is very broad. I think most people think about websites and apps, but it's so much more than that.

How would you correct/explain to them what you do then?

I tell them about how websites and apps may be the deliverable of an experience but that my jobs is more encompassing of the “why” and “how” versus the “what” it is.

I spend a lot of my time building out how these digital experiences will connect to the other parts of the campaign and product purchase cycle.

Is there anything you want to change in your job?

More opportunities to build prototypes. I love getting my hands dirty and building things.

Who is someone you want to emulate in your industry?

I would love to emulate my former bosses, Sean Cosier and David Vogeleer, two people who really helped me understand the technical side of my job, but also the fun parts.

What do you see as the biggest trends in your industry?

I see that agencies are looking at ways to build out their offerings past what they were traditionally known for, like experience design, and I think specialising might help clients find exactly what they need versus having a one stop shop.

If you weren’t in your current role, what would you be?

If I wasn’t in my current role, I’d probably be a teacher. I love leading people to moments of wonder, and that’s best expressed by teaching.

If you think of someone who deserves to be part of this series, please get in touch with Shawn Lim and nominate them. You can read the previous feature on the the motion and innovation specialist, here.

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