Since I was a kid, there have been 3 passions in my life: creativity, problem-solving and helping people. They have taken different shapes throughout my life: music, design, cooking, troubleshooting computer problems, helping a neighbor move, or moving to South America to serve the people of Brazil for 2 years. I have found that I am happiest and most fulfilled in life, when I can combine my passions in a single pursuit.
Due to my love of creativity and my interest in computers/technology, after high school I ended up transitioning from the copy center where I had been working into a full-time role in their graphic design department. I was mentored by the Graphic Design Manager over the next few years and ended up working as a graphic designer in the print industry for nearly 10 years.
Those 10 years were great. I developed a lot as a creative and gained many skills I still use today including working with clients to achieve a desired outcome. However, my other 2 passions were missing and I felt like a change was needed.
In 2007 I decided to transfer from Brigham Young University to Utah Valley University to pursue their Digital Media degree. Specifically I was interested in their Sound Recording & Design concentration but loved that I would be studying graphic design, video editing, and web development as well. I hoped that these new skills would really help me be able to make others' lives better by entertaining them and would give me an opportunity to solve the complex problems that always attend that industry.
At UVU, I was introduced to Interaction Design & User Research. It was a natural progression from all my past graphic design work. I was sold. I spent the rest of my time at UVU learning all I could about UX and web development while also seeing my sound design concentration to the finish.
For the last 10 years I have been diving in with both feet into the UX industry. My experience has been mostly on the B2B & SaaS side, but I have worked on a couple consumer products as well. I haven't yet had the opportunity to work in eCommerce, but would welcome the opportunity if it came up some day. I have learned a ton and been able to accomplish much so far, but I'm just getting started and am excited to help figure out output-based design at scale and continue helping user-centric companies solve problems and improve lives in innovative ways!
While I've been able to work on products used by many large enterprises, the companies I've worked for have largely been mid-size in the 500 - 2000 employee range (and 1 early-stage startup). This has given me a breadth of experience that many UXers with experience at large companies can't duplicate.
I have built software for, and developed an understanding of, many different industries and their users. In the process, I have learned how to develop subject matter expertise in new industries quickly & thoroughly. Some of the industries I've worked in include: Market Research, Banking/Finance, Customer Experience, Data Security, Towing/Roadside, and Insurance.
I have nearly always worked across the entire product lifecycle. My main focus is UX, but opportunities have presented themselves to gain experience even across Product Management and Front End Development which only makes me a stronger collaborator and more efficient designer. Here are some examples of my work.
Over the years, I've had the privilege of designing for many different technologies: iOS, Android, Cloud Web Apps (responsive & desktop-only, mobile-first, and desktop-first), and AR.
I've experienced many differenty ways of working. I've seen what works in which situations and which doesn't. This affords me a great deal of perspective, flexibility, and ability to communicate effectively when helping companies & teams to be more output-focused and user-driven. Some of these include: Waterfall, Agile, Scrum, Kanban, Design Thinking, SAFe Agile, and Lean UX.
There really are 6 main roles or skills that I bring to any company:
I care very much about the companies I do and have worked for. I invest in their success every bit as much as if I were their founder. When I see something that needs done, I do it. I understand the business and proactively contribute to the vision. I may not be the founder, but that doesn't mean I can't be an entrepreneuer.
I deeply believe in small batch size product design/development that adds value to the user at every stage. The main idea is getting value into users' hands and getting feedback quicker rather than spending months on building something only to realize you were completely off base. This approach also makes the user happy all along the way, instead of creating mounting frustration. It is far less risky (and thus much easier to get across the finish line), and allows us to ensure that we’re building products people actually want.
We've evolved past manufacturing software, so why are we still building software the same way as it way built 30 years ago?
I believe in cross-functional teams solving problems together. There's two sides of that. The first is we have to give teams problems to solve rather than solutions to implement. Then allow those teams to solve the same problem at the same time and evaluate them based on outcomes, not output.
Everyone is creative and has knowledge of the business. I bring stakeholders and cross-functional team members into the design process and take advantage of their creativity and industry knowledge. I have found that this approach also increases the level of investment and accountability everyone has for results.
Everyone participates in brainstorming, and everyone participates in user research. We all contribute differently to solving the problem, but we solve it together.
One of my biggest strengths is my obsession for never being satisfied with my current level of ability and knowledge. I am constantly learning new skills, approaches, technologies, industries, and perspectives. I firmly believe that comfort is the enemy of greatness. Reading, networking, listening to podcasts & audio books, and seeking to experience great design are just some of the ways I seek to take my quality & effectiveness to the next level. These are some of the books, audiobooks, & podcasts I've read or listened to in the last 12 months:
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