Real People of Atlas: Nika Smith Auld

In the Real People of Atlas series, we’ll introduce you to a different member of the Atlas team each month. This month …

Meet Nika Smith Auld, Researcher, Atlas Product Design

Nika Smith Auld picNika is a food enthusiast and certified Crazy Cat Lady who landed in Seattle because she really does love the weather here. She studied Human-Computer Interaction at RIT and University of Michigan and is an ALA certified librarian. Nika likes to hike the Cascades, pet kittens, drink wine and try the weirdest foods she can find. Most recently, she went to Iceland where she enjoyed local delicacies including horse, minke whale and putrefied shark.

What is your professional experience?
I have been a user experience researcher for the past 15 years, working on a wide range of business and consumer software products at places including Intel, Ford Motor Company, Google, Amazon and Concur. My academic background is in design, psychology and computer science, which helps me really dig deeply into the experiences people have with technology from both technical and empathetic perspectives. This is my first experience working in the advertising industry, and I am thrilled to get to learn about such an impactful topic.

What do you work on at Atlas?
I am a Researcher on the Atlas Product Design team, which means I spend my days trying to unravel the needs and behaviors of people who use Atlas so that I can help the design and engineering teams build experiences that are efficient, intuitive and delightful. I am particularly interested in understanding how people QA their campaigns and use reporting tools to validate the success of advertising and make sound business decisions.

How long have you been on the Atlas team?
I’ve been here for about 6 months now, but sometimes I still feel like I’m brand new due to the complexity and ever-changing nature of the business. It’s fantastic.

What interests you most about working in the ad tech space?
I like rooting for the underdog. Consumers think of advertising as distracting, annoying or evil — only because up until this point, advertisers have not had the tools and insights needed to target ads effectively to the right people, at the right time and on the right medium. I love working in the ad tech space because I get to be part of changing that. I do believe that advertising, when done right, will blend into consumers’ perceptions of the world and provide value rather than annoyance.

How do you think Atlas is changing the industry?
Atlas has the power to help advertisers become storytellers for their brand and products. Ads should be creative, compelling and actionable experiences across time and devices, not just hideous banners that are glued to the top of a webpage.

Is there anything you want to tell clients about Atlas that they don’t know?
The Atlas Product Design team loves to talk with people who use our product in order to understand their pain points or get feedback on new features we are thinking about. If you would ever like to participate in a usability evaluation or new feature research, please reach out to your account rep and have them get in touch with me!