Applying my degrees in Interior Design, Information Systems and a Masters Degree in Computer Science, my career has been about establishing architecture, crafting user experiences and establishing usability for companies like Center Parcs UK (Theme Park), Victoria’s Secret, Rubbermaid Commercial Products (in development), Pace University, New York Economic Development Company (NYCEDC) and Natalie Maclean (wine sommelier). For me, it’s about matching user needs and business goals.
Being passionate about UX comes from the way I found it… I had the opportunity to take a Human Computing Interaction class and I finally felt like I was headed in the right direction. UX connected to my Interior Design background and my love of technology; I was like a duck seeing water for the first time!!!! In search of more information I attended a six day Nielsen Usability Boot Camp in London. It was about five minutes into the first day that I knew that these were my peeps and UX was where my heart is. Since then I’ve made it my mission to gain as much information as possible. I own a crazy amount of UX books and belong to UXPA-NYC, UXPA-DC and IXDA-NYC. I’m also an adjunct Professor for Pace University teaching User Experience in the Computer Science Department.
Working with startups has become a specialty, I love the idea of a clean slate… anything is possible and innovation is generally encouraged. In addition to startups that include Comstak.com, I’m proud to be a part of Space Splitter.com which has recently been featured in:
- Forbes, 4 Disruptive Technologies To Watch In 2013
- Tech Crunch, Tired Of Chasing Your Roommates For Money? SpaceSplitter Delivers Household Supplies And Splits Costs
- Thrillist, SpaceSplitter Delivers Household Supplies And Splits Costs
- Trend Hunter, Space Splitter Makes Dealing with Difficult House Mates Easier
User-centered taxonomy: My challenge in the AI role is to simplify, classify and organize data in a scalable way that focuses on the users natural tendency to search for meaning and pattern in context. This concept is increasingly daunting in a world where the amount of data is increasing exponentially. Simply put, I bucket content and develop navigation patterns that result in easier access to information. I love putting order into what seems like chaos. The end result is a Topic Map, Navigation (menus), Controlled Vocabularies, Content Inventory, Metadata / Metadata Schema and Site Flows that balance business objectives with user comprehension.
Sandwiched between Information Architecture and Visual Design, this is the “Blueprint” part of the process. My focus is on functionality, behavior, and priority of the content. My mantra is best said by NNG: “The first requirement for an exemplary user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother. Next comes simplicity and elegance that produce products that are a joy to own, a joy to use. True user experience goes far beyond giving customers what they say they want, or providing checklist features.” Nothing makes me more excited than problem solving with a view to making a better user experience.
The end result is a complete set of High-fidelity / Low-fidelity Wireframes that can be handed to a visual designer (for typographic style, color and graphics), copywriter and developers.
Whether the scenario is developing something new (website or application) or trying to improve an existing product, usability studies are invaluable. They don’t necessarily require the full formality of a testing environment with a two-way mirror and tons of participants. Most times a few non technical and impartial users sitting in any environment (using “think out loud” methodology) will give you more feedback than you can possibly use. Each project will dictate the scope, requirements and frequency of the test needed.
My favorite Usability expression is “if you’re testing an airplane’s landing gear and they fail two out of the two times you fly the airplane then you know that the plane has a problem.” You don’t need to gather any more information, it removes speculation & skewed assumptions from the creative process.