Design without any empathy for the user is not User Experience (UX) Design. That’s called User Interface (UI) Design. If you are looking for the results that UX can bring to your business, you must have user research. If you are designing in a vacuum and not putting yourself into someone else’s shoes, you are trying to solve a problem with your hands tied behind your back. Let me help. I can untie you.
I’m currently redoing my portfolio, so here are some quick links that will send you to my old portfolio. I wasn’t going to let perfectionism stop me, and neither should you. Use your iterations on your product/business for feedback. 😉
Financial App Launch
I helped Quicken successfully launch a new app, Simplifi, through design leadership, UX evaluations, art direction, and redesigning one of their differentiating features.
Bringing design to data
I was part of Substrate's first design team. I have to win engineerinng and PM trust to create a solid foundation for the future of accessing data at Microsoft.
Here's an end to end design process I completed for Retrofit, a wellness company in Chicago, which increased the program's lesson completion rate by 12%.
Wifi in South Africa
I saved Xpertek money, on investing in a new revenue source, by testing an in person flow and finding a flaw. This demographic owned 2 phones - one for text and one for data.
Are you trying to solve a problem but feel stuck? Would you like a seasoned professional to help you figure it out? I can take the project off your hands and teach your team. I’ll highlight and strategize along the way. I will narrow down decisions to the best options for your business. Everything I do ties back to your organization’s goals and the user’s need. I will help infuse your organization with UX thinking long after the project is over.
If you don’t understand the people you are serving, you cannot succeed. You might for the short term, but you are leaving yourself open to competitors in the long run. I want to be part of helping you build a sustainable business. I want to teach your business processes that will last you a life time. I want your organization to be successful because it can adapt to change.
“Change is the only constant in life, so why not build processes into your organization that adapt?”
My Ideal Process
Every organization runs differently, and that’s ok. This is my ideal process that I think would be the most effective way to build a product.
First, I’d help all the stakeholders in the organization come together to decide what to focus on. I’d do this by first interviewing people independently to get unbiased answers, and then bringing them together to work as a team using the user’s journey as a backdrop for the discussion. In my experience, there is not one right answer for what should be the top priority, there are many good answers to pick from. The most important part is consensus.
From that basic road map of epics (which is not set in stone, because things change over time), I would start with research and eventually visualize an end result incorporating user motivations. In my ideal world, I would hand off my research and whiteboards to a visual designer who understood how their choices affected the UX. Developers would be involved in my white boards from the beginning which would save money and time later by no having to redo work.
Note: Even though I’d like to focus my career on strategy, research, and leadership, my skills encompass anything from the start point up until hi-fi mock ups. The most important thing for me is to work with an organization that I align with and can grow in.
Research – My favorite type
I am passionate about research and strategy. UI is just a veneer, we can always reskin a well crafted project as the trends change, but long lasting architecture is part of my drive. Sometimes slowing down a little at the beginning can save us lots of time and money later. I believe it starts with getting on the same page with each stakeholder. Then getting on the same page of the people you are trying to serve. This requires a lot of listening. You can do this through many methods, but here’s my two cents on my favorite type (qualitative).
What about exploratory research?
If you’re building a new product, don’t forget this step! The businesses that stick around are ones that solve a problem for people. Make sure you are finding a problem and coming up with the right solution before investing more money into your product. The worst case scenario, if you skip this step, is to build a usable product that no one wants or needs.
If the only research you are doing is usability testing, you might be wasting time and money. For example, you could build a salt shaker that is wifi enabled, but is that the best use of time? Probably not. This might seem obvious to you from an outsider’s perspective, but it wasn’t to SMALT.
Running an organization is about prioritizing, because we don’t have unlimited resources. Research helps us prioritize and exploratory research helps us pick the right problem from the start to solve. Spend more time in the problem space than the solution space even if it doesn’t feel comfortable. It’ll pay back, I promise.
“I know UX and want to dive deeper.”
If you are a current design leader and want to know if I would be a good fit for your team, check out this interview. It’ll give you some insight into how I interact with another creative – Matt Diamanti. It’s over an hour, so I’ve put topic time stamps in the description on YouTube.
I’ve been in the UX field since 2013 and love to nerd out with other designers – especially when it comes to the intersection of business strategy, research, and design.
Most of my videos on this page are to help start ups and businesses that are new to UX research and design, but this one digs a little deeper into the soft skills of design such as partnering with other departments or the future of the design industry.
“Wait, I’m confused about UX, but have to hire for it.”
I’ve got your back. I have a youtube channel that helps educate people on UX. If you’re still confused about UX, here’s a simple explanation – learning through feedback from the people you are serving.
Successful business do this when they first start. They listen to their customers and change over time as their customers needs change too. This type of two way relationship is what brings long term sustainability to an organization. It creates trust and loyalty with the people you serve, so that a competitor can’t swoop in and take over your market.
If you understand the process is about trial and error from the beginning, it will be easier to learn quickly, prioritize your customer needs, and stay relevant in the market.
Why do I want to join a team after consulting?
This talk from the Seattle Design Festival will explain my failed transition to working on a team after consulting independently. I was trying so hard to help my team that I forgot one key element – a lesson I’ll never forget – allowing others to be part of the process.
I’ve really enjoyed consulting and being able to focus on my strengths and getting to know myself better in the last two years, but I believe there is a balance to life. I’m willing to give up some of that freedom, because I miss having colleagues and the community I once felt from my agency days.
My goal is to join a team where I feel like I can plant my roots. I want to watch a business grow and succeed overtime and I want to help build the relationship in an organization to support that.
When you hire someone to work on your product, you are hiring more than a skill set. You are hiring a person. Along with that person, you are hiring a philosophy.
When you hire me, you hire someone who wants to deeply listen to find the pain points. It’s in my core. I want to highlight them, help you prioritize them, then fix them.
I’m a long-term problem solver. I’m a vision clarifier. I want to make your organization more efficient and support a cause we can all believe in – making people’s lives better.
I want to create a fluid customer journey from the very first interaction to the last moment, because I passionately believe in businesses who care about the people they serve.
I want to be the catalyst that up-levels your team.