In the fifteen years I've studied and worked ‚Äčin design, I've had the opportunity to develop many skills, including Product Strategy, User Research, Concept Design, UX Design, Visual Design, Iterative Development, Industrial Design, and Leadership. This broad background helps me act as the bridge among product, design, engineering, and business, bringing everyone together to deliver the high-quality experience that our users deserve and our companies need.

Leadership

It's all about the people

I love working with teams. I like mentoring junior designers and helping them grow. I also love figuring out how to instill a design vision and culture across a whole company, especially within a product, design, and engineering group.

I joined Wikia as their first designer, and built their first design team.

My whiteboard output after I've moderated a session with a diverse group, where we agreed on the project aims, the audience, the scope, the strategy and started to collect ideas.

Product Strategy

What should we build?

One of my favorite parts of product work is figuring out what we need to build and why. What is our vision for the product? Why will delivering our vision be good for our customers, and good for our business? What's the quickest way to bring something of value to market to help us test our long-term direction?

At Wikia, I mapped out how different areas of the product matched up with our users' goals and company goals, enabling us to prioritize work in a balanced manner.

At MySpace, we identified what the key traits of the product experience needed to be in order to embody the company's values and brand standards.

User Research

What do our users need?

There is no substitute for getting up close and personal with users while developing a product experience. Depending on the insights we need to gather, we can try everything from ethnographic research to participatory design exercises to user interviews to usability testing. It's all good.

For Vodafone, I tested a variety of physical form prototypes to understand the pros and cons of different sizes and weights.

Sometimes it can be useful to pull together user insights into the form of user personas. Emily was one of six personas I developed to reflect different styles of web browsing.

For Vodafone, we did participatory design sketching with prospective users to get a sense of how TV viewing on a mobile device might be different than on a big screen at home.

In this example we used a "mind map" style to identify themes that emerged across different user interviews.

Concept Design

What's the best "big solve" for your users' needs?

I enjoy a design process that includes a concept generation stage inspired by our user research. We map out as many different ideas as we can, as creative and wild as we want. Then, in concept design, we flesh out these ideas with sufficient depth to decide which product concept to take forward.

Circa 2009, MySpace had large amounts of authentic user-generated content, but beyond visiting your friends' profiles, it was difficult to discover.

One concept I propoesed was that we would design "spaces" where users interested in similar content could hang out. This would augment MySpace's social layer with an interest-driven layer, letting people explore in an new way.

This concept would empower people to meet others who shared their passions around music, movies, and so on.

People can navigate from content space to content space, discovering new potential interests and spending more time engaging with the others on the site.

UX Design

Details, details, details

I have a favorite quote, from Charles Eames: "The details are not the details. The details make the design." I like mapping out the user's interactions with our product in flows, wireframes, and interactive prototypes. My goal is not to design beautiful documentation, but to communicate the design with enough fidelity that our engineers can build fluently.

I'm a big believer in building simple prototypes. They're invaluable for iterating concepts based on user feedback, and they're also an excellent way to communicate the concept to stakeholders and developers.

I like user flows; I find them an excellent ray to quickly simplify / refactor the experience. However, I appreciate they're not an effective way to communicate to a wider audience.

I like to detail designs with users flows. For Habit Monster, I kept the users flows printed on the wall so they were always accessible and in view, letting discussions happen spontaneously.

Visual Design

How can the visual execution enhance the user experience?

I love getting down to the pixel level, with three main goals in mind: (1) reflecting the overall brand values through our aesthetic choices, (2) keeping the user experience smooth and enjoyable, and (3) making the product shine.


Iterative Development

Build, measure, learn

I have another favorite quote, from Brenda Laurel: "A design isn't finished until someone is using it." I like lean approaches in which we get something of value into users' hands fast, in order to learn from their behavior and grow the product in the right direction. My hands-on development skills have helped me immeasurably.

Version 1. Angelmob originally focused on teams of investors collaborating around syndicates (shown in the left-hand rail of this UI).

Version 1 (cont'd). Originally Angelmob had analytics tools to let syndicate leads know how their syndicate was performing, and who was joining or leaving.

Version 2. Version 2 dropped both the syndicate-centric navigation and analytics. We redesigned the interface to focus on the requests for help that each startup was making to its investors and other backers.

Version 3. We found that Version 2 was a much stronger interface approach for investors, but the main homepage was too noisy for our busy startup founders. In Version 3, we built a special homepage for the startup that focused on the types of requests that they could make to their backer community.

Industrial Design

What's the physical embodiment of our service?

I feel lucky to have started my career as an industrial designer studying at the Royal College of Art. Thinking about physical products has given me a good foundation for understanding how humans want to interact with the world around them.

Amigo was a very early exploration of location-based technology in the days before mobile devices could run apps.

Amigo would alert you when a friend was nearby, in order to enable serendipitous encounters in large cities.

A fully functioning prototype was built and given to users to try out.

Another project was a folding credit card that would fit into the USB port of a computer, giving users extremely secure access to their personal data. This design won first place at Visa's Creative Intellegence competition.

Get in touch

Let me know if you would like to discuss how we could apply these skills to your project.