I’m committed to solving problems at the root of the audience’s needs.
It’s a good day when my work inspires and simplifies. I have experience working on strategic teams and agile environments. My best work is the result of sound business and research insights, collaboration with teammates and feedback from users.
Why UX design?
I’ve spent my life gravitating towards problem solving and ways to clearly communicate information, first as a process consultant and then as a UX writer. I’m grateful that my curiosity and desire to simplify have lead me to UX design. The future of this field is deep and gets me excited to keep learning and growing.
Where do you land between UX and visual design?
By skill and interest, I’m 100% UX. I prefer to work on projects with style guides and patterns in place because I’m more interested in the structure, architecture and interactions of the design. I believe visual design is important for the user experience when it comes to accessibility and satisfying users.
How do you define UX design?
UX design is a strategic problem solving process that when done right, makes people’s lives easier. The process takes empathy, common sense and creativity as you move from iteration to iteration until you reach a solution. The results are intuitive and easy. Good design is simply enjoyable.
What makes a great designer?
A great designer hunts far and wide. They do the research to understand context. They generate a lot of ideas, iterate and let testing and results determine a solution. Every idea has a logical reason that’s tied to a problem the team is trying to solve. They also keep a close eye on the execution and ensure that the finished product is the best it can be. An outstanding designer advocates for users and clearly communicate solutions and tradeoffs across disciplines and levels.
Why transition from UX writing to UX design?
I chose to dedicate the past year to learning UX design because I love it. Working on lean UX teams alongside UX designers at POSSIBLE and Nordstrom, I realized I wanted to design. UX writing has been a solid foundation that continues to drive the flows of my designs. The opportunity to collaborate and learn from other designers is an exciting next step.
What’s your approach to planning and executing a project?
First I define the problem and research to understand the context: the key audiences, technologies, competitors and related business processes. I come up with a series of guiding questions I can return to as I brainstorm solutions. I meet with people closest to the problem to understand their goals and success metrics. I also make it a point to meet with developers early in the process to understand the architecture and feasible technical solutions.
I dig deep—conduct interviews, read case studies, white papers, academic research, UX publications, pick the brains of talented tech folks—to try to understand the audience and technology. This hunt helps formulate better test criteria, too. Then I create a user journey that will serve as a blueprint for the prototypes I will iterate on.
I sketch a range of designs, test and edit based on results. I write out the story of the experience or dialog alongside rough sketches. I tend to lean on copy because words help me think through the flow and ease handoffs. I always try to deliver a well-annotated working design and am on hand to help product managers and developers complete the build on time.
What’s your philosophy for creative problem solving?
Process and prioritization. In my experience I’ve found that unstructured and ongoing discussions without actionable, clear next steps sap the life out of a project. Once project fatigue sets in, it’s tough to recover. I’m a fan of structure and have found that it opens me up to a lot of freedom in my thinking. Having said that, I've consistently heard from my managers and clients that they appreciate my flexibility.
What makes a good working relationship between designers and developers?
My first experience collaborating with developers was at the Federal Communications Commission in D.C. I sat with two talented engineers working on the redesign of the FCC website. I have since worked with large teams of web and mobile developers validating UX designs. I’ve learned it’s critical to start talking to developers at the beginning of a project and continuously check in, casually or formally depending on the communication style of the group, at every stage of the design and build. It’s a win-win. Developers gain a sense of influence and ownership of the solution. And for a designer, developers are great at catching loose ends. They’ve helped me simplify my solutions. A good process that encourages these interactions helps a lot. It’s important to remember that at the end of the day they’re bringing the work to life.
What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on? What made it interesting?
The most interesting project I’ve worked on was a web and mobile-based telemedicine solution. I’m interested in ways to improve health care experiences and to learn more about health care as a problem space for UX in general. I had the chance to work with two talented classmates, Anna Atiagina and Ivanna Mikityuk to come up with the initial journey map which I used to develop a solution.
It was the first time I had full control and autonomy to go through the full UX process from research to execution.
I considered patient populations and current solutions. I interviewed young people navigating care outside their parent’s coverage and oversight, as well as older adults managing chronic conditions. These two target audiences helped shape the experience blueprint I used to develop the mobile web experiences for the patient and the provider. It was fun to think through the needs of these different audiences and translate them into features for a unified system.
The product goal was to create an intuitive and reliable service that would help nudge people toward a new mode of care. The goal for the patient was to extend the video chatting experience to build a more lasting and relationship-based care that helped diagnose and maintain health.
I created a case study for the Spring Telemedicine experience.
What tools do you use?
I start with pen and paper to sketch and write out ideas and move to Sketch for user flow mapping, wireframing, prototyping and visual design. I prefer Sketch to Adobe tools because it syncs with prototyping tools easily and is lighter on my system. I’ve heard good things about Adobe XD and hope to try it out soon.
I use Marvel and InVision for prototyping. I use InVision more for formal feedback and testing sessions and Marvel for quick user flow checks. I'm also learning Framer and hope to expand my interaction design skills.
I’m proficient in HTML and CSS. I’ve been using Zepelin for red lines and handoffs, but I’ve heard great things about Craft and Inspect. I'm reading a lot about voice user interfaces and would love the chance to work on one.
Outside design, what’s helped you succeed?
COMMUNICATION: I can communicate my ideas clearly and concisely. I’m calm, respectful and logical by nature and default to these traits when things get a little heated. I listen more than I speak and let people explain where they’re coming from. I believe most things can be worked through.
TIME MANAGEMENT: I’m a big fan of deadlines and timelines. I respect and honor them because they energize my work.
BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS: My undergraduate studies in economics have served me well my entire career. I’m aware of tradeoffs, people’s utility and biases and try to understand people’s motivations and actions.
LEARNING: I get excited when I don’t know something and have to figure it out and connect the dots. I love learning about new industries and processes as well as honing my technical knowledge. UX doesn’t stand still, and I love the challenge and motivation to keep learning.
HUMOR: I don’t take things too seriously and have a healthy dose of irony. Both are helpful coping mechanism that have the added benefit of making other people laugh.
RUNNING & SLEEP: because a clear mind = better UX