I’m committed to solving problems at the intersection of business and audience needs.

It’s a good day when my work inspires and simplifies. I have experience working on strategic teams and agile environments.

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Why UX?

I’ve spent my career gravitating towards problem solving and ways to clearly communicate information, first as a UX writer and now as a UX designer. The future of the field is deep and gets me excited to keep learning and growing.

Where I land between UX and visual design

I'm a content and IA focused ux designer. My heart is in the words and conversations of the design. 

I prefer to work on projects with style guides and patterns in place because I’m more interested in the structure, goals and architecture of the design. That said, I believe visual design is important when it comes to accessibility and satisfying users.

Regardless of which design camp the work falls into, my best outcomes are the result of sound business and research insights, collaboration with teammates and user feedback. 

How I define design

Design involves strategic problem solving that when done right, makes people’s lives easier. It's a process that takes empathy, common sense and creativity as you move from iteration to iteration toward a solution. The results are intuitive and easy. Good design is simply enjoyable.

What I consider 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.

Content is key to UX design

Working on lean UX teams alongside designers at POSSIBLE and Nordstrom, I realized content strategy was often a missing or separate consideration. My foundation in UX writing and content development continues to drive the flows of my designs. There's no lorem ipsum in my work. 

My approach to planning and executing a project

I define the problem and research to understand the context: the key audiences, style, tone, 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 an end-to-end service/product 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 always try to deliver a well-annotated working design and am on hand to help product managers and developers complete the build on time.

My philosophy for creative problem solving

Process and prioritization are everything. 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, some projects require flexibility to produce the best outcome.

What I think makes a good working relationship between designers, developers and program management

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.

I also make it a point to understand the broader business objectives and collaborate closely with product management as an advocate of user needs. 

Tools I use

I start with pen and paper to sketch and write out ideas and move to Sketch for user flow mapping, wireframing and prototyping. I prefer Sketch to Adobe tools because it syncs with prototyping tools easily and is lighter on my system. For conversation and voice projects, I diagram scenarios and write sample dialogs and narratives that capture the voice and tone for the solution.

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 me 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.

WRITING: I love language and expressing ideas simply.

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. Design doesn’t stand still, and I love the challenge and motivation to keep learning.

HUMOR: I don’t take things too seriously and like to make people laugh. 

RUNNING & SLEEP: because a clear mind = better UX