So glad you're here
Thanks for coming here to learn a bit more about me, and the what/why/how I do the work that I do. I hope you'll reach out to connect if you're interested in chatting or working together.
I've broken my approach to design into 3 core areas, to succinctly convey who I am. Below that, I have a bit more about me and my background.
1. DESIGN FOR PEOPLE
Putting humans at the center of any design process is no longer revolutionary as a concept. Everyone has bought into it, and for good reason. That being said, very few companies are actually putting their users in front, which is why UX designers exist. A good UX designer will advocate for the user at every chance they get, and any product or service that wants to sustain itself is going to need to start listening.
2. SIMPLIFY COMPLEXITY
Products are complex. Complexity is a hard nut to crack, and it is likely killing your product. When tackling complexity, bringing in outside minds for analysis is almost essential. By figuring out information hierarchies and user flows, and answering big picture questions of product conceptualization, you can break down that complexity and start to see your product for what it truly is.
4. STRATEGic Design
Designers in our age are increasingly required to bring a strategic approach to their work. I may be biased, but I believe this is a positive development. Designers are extremely well positioned to answer strategic questions, and must be bought into that strategy in order to design accordingly. We are already seeing some of the best product designers emerge as strategic leaders and executives.
Over the past 10 years I've had the opportunity to live and travel throughout South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. I've studied studio art, music, language, and religion, and have worked in community outreach, communications, project management, marketing, design, content strategy, copy writing, social media, and international peace-building. This mix of a background makes me who I am today and directly contributes to the hard and soft skills I use in my design and strategy work today.
More and more, design and strategy professionals have similar stories of non traditional backgrounds and training. The great thing about the times we live in is the increasing openness to, and value around, individuals who've collected a range of personal and professional experiences. These are good times for folks like us.
The worlds of design and strategy, from my experience, overlap and inform one another. Both designers and strategists ask themselves and their teams similar questions.
- What are the questions you should be asking? Who can give you the answers?
- What are you trying to achieve, and how are you going to make that happen?
- What stories will move people to act in ways that improve their lives?
- What value do they want? What value do we offer? Do they align?
Any of us who have worked on a mobile app, a website redesign, or a new business idea have felt the confidence of sufficiently knowing our customers/users and what they need. Unfortunately, many invest lots of time, money, sweat, and tears into these projects that end in failure. The processes of experience design and creative strategy mitigate risk, increase likelihood of product-market fit, and ultimately lead to work that matters to people's lives around the world.
This is an exciting time to be a user experience (UX) designer. The field is growing and being continuously negotiated by designers, technologists, and the business leaders and change-makers who work alongside them. The concept––that the wants and needs of users/customers/beneficiaries' are a key business/impact asset––isn't revolutionary. It's a good dose of common sense.
My work in UX began, like so many other UXers, through the challenges of creating web and mobile products and services that meet (or surpass) user expectations and create the conditions to achieve both user and business goals. Through a process of research and discovery, iterative design and prototyping, and testing directly with users throughout, UX moves us from big unknowns, to a clear path that leads to all the good stuff we need (revenue, growth, change, betterment, etc).
UX process is a crucial element to prove assumptions about what users want or need. This process includes research and discovery, sketching and quick ideation, narrowing scope and information architecture, and prototyping and testing. I've found to be successful in this it's best to avoid a linear process, and embrace the cyclical nature of design and development.