I built my first website in 1997. Since then, I've always known that digital was where my heart was. And while development is no longer my primary skill, it is still at the core of my creative process; while the work I do as a User Experience professional should be agnostic to the technology layer, you have to understand how things work and get built in order to design for them.
I do not consider myself a designer, there are certain expectations that come with that label. And while I have many years of experience with the entire Adobe Creative Suite, and have no problem contributing those skills to a project when necessary, it is not my primary skill set. It's not the way I think.
I am an architect: I see the digital world in lines and shades of black and white. My job is to get inside the minds of users and understand how they think and use the platform we are working to improve. I have to make sure a user can successfully complete a task and that their success makes them feel good. I want to ensure that a process a user completes once a year is as easy as a task they complete everyday. I want to make sure that the patterns of interactions established on a digital platform remain consistent so that expectations are managed and met. I have to make filling out forms on the internet just a little less painful for everyone.
The goal of any project is to put something out in the world, to produce an end product. But to achieve that, you have to have a strategic position. It is the role of the UX strategist to ensure that the proposed digital experience is well researched, understood, and most importantly, validated by the end user. We need to create things that are useful, usable and desirable. UX strategy does the work to provide evidence about customer behavior and therefore eliminate the need to guess about the experience people expect and need. This creates value to both the consumer and the business by knowing before building.
I draft the big picture which then gets broken down in to tactics and execution. I look for trends, for connections, how making tweaks to the status quo can improve the user experience and meet business goals. I emphasize the importance of putting users and their experiences at the heart of all of decisions. My end goal is to make digital places feel meaningful.Tasks
User Research is the Holy Grail of the UX/IA discipline. It is one of the most important aspects of what we do, yet it is the least sought after deliverable.
Any type of data we can get our hands on about the user base for a particular project is golden. This includes secondary research gathered from the web and primary research ranging from Google Analytics to the ever elusive multi-day User Testing sessions.Tasks
What happens when I push this button? Where does this link go? What happens when the user encounters an error? Why does Link A go before Link B in the header, and why is it called "Widgets" instead of "Thing-a-ma-bobs?" Those are the things that a UX Architect thinks about. We don't "do" photoshop, and we don't make things work- we love boxes, lines and shades of gray.
The role of an User Experience Architect requires the wearing of many hats. I love creating user experiences through research, feedback, analysis, testing and best practices.Tasks
I am a well rounded user experience professional with UX strategy, user testing, information architecture, wireframing, and prototyping experience. I have B2B, B2C, and Channel experience. Those clients range from Fortune 500 companies to local start-ups. In addition to strategy, I have a strong execution portfolio that includes brochure sites, mobile apps, responsive designs, administrative platforms, and e-commerce sites.
Vice President of Operations
User Experience Principal
Founder, Texoma Bride Guide
I started at Valtech as a contractor, called upon to fill a temporary need, but was later asked to join the company full-time. I was on a plane to meet with the client my first day on the job. My title doesn't really reflect the role I play in the organization. I wear all the UX hats: from manager and strategist, execution, testing and managing the day to day during development.
Sr UX Architect
I like to think that I "grew up" at hawkeye. I started as the project coordinator for the Interactive Department. When I joined the company, I was employee number nine for the Interactive Department. This was at a time when the interactive space was still greatly misunderstood by the "traditional" marketers and it was quite an experience to watch the shift in the agency from the traditional channels to the digital. When I left the company six years later the Interactive Department had grown to over 50.
While I was doing my project coordinator duties, I met a gentleman who had a desk in a dark closet on the second floor. He was the sole IA in the company and I was curious as to what he did. I knew what the art directors did, and what the devlopers did, but what is this IA thing? After a little research and I discovered that I had found my calling- this is what I was born to do! I became his shadow and blame him for my obsessiveness with consistency, alignment and the general perfection I strive for in my deliverables.
User Experience Architect
Interim HTML Developer
I am lucky enough to have been able to major in something that I love and minor in something useful. Art History taught me critical thinking skills and the ability to analyze. Marketing taught me how to get people to buy stuff. While I was there, I started my career in the industry by working for the College of Business as a web developer.
I am a Business Operations and Digital Unicorn by day, a mom and Martha Stewart wannabe by night. I love food, wine, fart jokes and being creative. I am addicted to reading; I probably spend more time than is healthy reading.
As part of a client request, I put together a deck showcasing the breadth of my experiences in User Expeirence over the past two years. This is just a small sample of the work that I have been involved with.
Keywords: B2B, re-branding, Axure, templates
TractManager acquired a handful of businesses and is going through the process of combining capabilities under one new brand. The challenge with this project was that the budget was small and the timeline was quick. To help stay within budget, we focused on creating as few templates as possible to accommodate the different content types while still meeting the business and user objectives for the site.
If you're an Axure nerd, you'll appreciate that each of the pages of the site is a master template that loads the appropriate content with an Onload command for each page. If that's all gibberish to you, maybe you'll appreciate the fact that we ended up with 11 templates, and the entire prototype is built off of only those pages. That means that even though there are almost 30 different pages in the wireframes, they're rendered from 11 templates. That's also why some of the spacing looks weird on the pages.
Keywords: Axure, testing prototype, proof of concept, veterans
The name of the company has been redacted to protect them as they develop their service, but this is one of my favorite projects from 2017. This company's mission is to help veterans find jobs in the civilian marketplace. They have created a technology that takes their military experience and translates it in to civilian skills. It is absolutely a start-up I can get behind, and I am proud to have done a small part to help.
The proof of concept/testing prototype I created for them is for the employer marketplace. Companies looking to hire veterans can come to this site and find candidates with the skills they desire. The prototype is not responsive because the purpose was use in an established testing environment and to present to their board.
Keywords: E-commerce, Responsive, OmniGraffle, Site Map
Devereux is more than just a golf brand- it is a life style, an upper casual performance brand. Purveyors of the finest transitional menswear, they provide the proper threads for all occasions, on and off the course.
After being in the market for three years, Devereux had a better understanding of their market and how they needed to position themselves to support growth and brand awareness. They needed a new website to align with their learnings, the new direction of the brand, and to serve as a consumer funnel to drive sales.
Keywords: B2B, Stakeholder interviews, Heuristic review, Competitive review, Wireframes
Respec is the company engineers call when they're stuck. They are seen as the engineer's engineer, and as experts in their fields. They needed a new site that demonstrates that expertise, show cases the capabilities of their staff, and at the same time sets the tone for the future.
We interviewed inter stakeholders, existing and potential customers to help shape our recommendation. This recommendation was presented to the client in the UX Playbook. Following approval on the playbook, wireframes were completed and approved. New branding was applied to the site when it was built resulting in an innovative looking site with a content hierarchy that is much easier for users to comprehend.
Keywords: B2C, Responsive, Axure
We were requested to create two different prototypes: one that illustrated quick wins and easy fixes that could be made to the existing rebate website to improve the user experience. The second one was to take into account new business rules, and the removal of some of the existing barriers to the process and re-create the entire rebate submission process with the user experience as the focal point for the entire process.
Keywords: Enterprise, B2B, Hybris, SAP, Agile, E-Commerce
Westcon-Comstor is a technology distributor. With their global presence and emphasis on service, they have one of the best reputations in their industry. One of the goals for this project was to bring the two brands, Westcon and Comstor, together in an effort to begin to educate users on their differences and similarities.
This project was made up of two parts: a marketing website and an e-commerce platform. We conducted internal and external stakeholder interviews that helped shape our recommendations. These were presented to the client in the form of a UX Playbook. Following approval of the playbook, we moved forward into wireframes. Both clickable and static wireframes were developed for this project. Project Management, UX and Design were completed by teams in New York and Texas, development was handled by teams in India and Eastern Europe.
Keywords: Higher Education, Joomla, Information Architecture, SEO, Front-End Development, Content Development
I was approached by the Communications Department at ENMU to make recommendations for their site redesign.
Following the initial presentation, I was asked to assist with the implementation of the new site. The biggest challenge was working with the administration to architect the site by the needs of their target audience (prospective students) and not their org chart. I was responsible for information architecture and some high-level content writing. At times I even had to go 'under the hood' a fix a few things in the code to help the project progress. Later I was asked to help with their SEO strategy and implementation.