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A Few Things You May Want to Know
frequently asked questions
I treat user experience work with an approach that incorporates five steps: User Research, Proposed solutions explorations, Wireframing, Prototyping, Testing. It’s a process that incorporates three basic tenets of UX: execution, evaluation, and iteration based on data-driven decisions.
I’m fairly structured in this approach, largely because big UX projects are like elephants: if you want to eat an entire elephant, you still need to tackle it one bite at a time. I find it overwhelmingly helpful to understand the whole of it for what it is and where it can be improved (i.e. where it’s weakest so you can start nomming on those parts first.)
I generally conduct user research for new products to see what kind of problems might be solved with a new design. Metrics are helpful in determining where there’s room for improvement. Sometimes, I’ll dig deeper and look at how the flow fits within the gestalt of the user journey so I can understand the context of where the new product will live.
Proposed Solutions Explorations
Through discussion and design writing, I often come up with one or two scenarios that might solve the existing design problem. Weighed against the gathered data, I validate with the stakeholders which approach we should test, make adjustments, or try something wholly new.
I wireframe after ensuring the business requirements are met. These are the bare bones of what the user flow, user interface, and user interaction should look and behave like. Oftentimes, this involves mapping out a user flow as well so we can understand interaction points.
After a quick prototype is built, we test the design to see if it works: putting it in the hands of the people who will use it. From there we iterate, evaluate the results, and apply the visual design.
A final prototype is built, the design files are cleaned up, and then handed to development to build the product.
I like to monitor the success of the product through collaboration with analytics. We set KPIs at the onset of any project to measure its success before designing begins, but it’s in the testing phase that we really get to see if it flies.
I should add another point at the end of this list, in that when our gains do not match our KPIs, it’s expected that we will iterate on existing designs to make incremental improvements. I typically work in collaboration with the analytics team to flag issues early, but I also like to establish touchpoints for review after a design is launched to see what performs well, and what can be improved.
I am fluent with the Adobe Creative Suite’s Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign for graphic design projects, and I like to dabble with AfterEffects for motion design.
I use Sketch for most types of product design where multiple screens are necessary: for designing user flows, wireframes, or mockups to be prototyped, I’ve found Sketch allows me to be much more efficient. I use Zeplin when working with developers, and I’m familiar with InVision and Flynto for prototyping.
I’ve used Google Drive to collaborate remotely with others, but I’m also well-versed with Apple’s iWork suite.
Since I usually only receive graphic design requests from clients, I often try to establish a structure as to how I determine the parameters for a project. That often incorporates the following:
Determine the value proposition
I generally determine the value proposition for a work with the client through interview. The question we seek to answer is, “What is the offer?”
Take a brief
I request specs from the client pertaining to their likes, dislikes, influences, preferences, etc. The brief is the benchmark by which decisions are made regarding the project, so that later on it might be referred to as the outline to the visual story we’re trying to tell. It’s pretty important, and fairly detailed. The client must greenlight this aspect of the project before any work is done.
Develop a moodboard
I like to test the strength of the brief by building quick mood board that relates the various aesthetic impressions of the project to ensure accuracy of the deliverables: these involve colours, type styles, photo snippets — anything visual that conveys the spirit of the work as it will be executed. Here, adjustments can be made so that if a client has neglected to mention that they cannot use sunshine yellow as a colour (for example, because their competition uses it with abundance and they don’t want their customers to mistake them), we won’t move forwards into design exploration with those things unaccounted for.
Perform design explorations
Usually, I will produce and refine mockups during this phase based on a set number of revisions agreed upon with the client and to their satisfaction. With client approval, we determine the best possible design solution for the project, and I will move the work into finalization where the art is prepared for deployment (i.e. print, ad submission, press release, social media sharing, etc.)
Perform final checks
I make sure that every “t” is crossed and every “i” is dotted: all art is prepared for final deployment, the client signs off, and we’re off to the races! If there are quality assurance checks stipulated in the agreement, those are performed as soon as final art is returned by the third party supplier (like, for example, a print run of brochures to ensure that colours are accurate and nothing is mis-aligned.)
Collecting comic books, book blogging, visiting museums, traveling to far-flung places, conventions, hot yoga, and cooking exotic food. I write long and short format horror fiction and dark fantasy for teens, and I’m querying my first novel for publication. I’m also a huge fan of classic horror movies.
Detail-oriented and meticulous, enthusiastic when presented with challenges, I love experimenting with various styles and methodologies. I work well under pressure and respect deadlines, and I often create my own work tools. With a solid knowledge of applied design theory, usability best practices, and brand requirements, I respect industry standards, but I delight in bringing new vision to traditional forms efficiently and with precision.
Honest and courteous, with a clear sense of strategy to meet objectives, I am a disciplined and diligent designer with a strong sense of responsibility. My communication skills, written, spoken, and visual are excellent, as are my organizational and listening skills. I endeavour to bring integrity to everything I do, and I approach new projects with fervour.
I spent an awfully long time in school over the course of my post-secondary education. After graduating high school, I obtained my DEC from John Abbott College in Liberal Arts.
I quickly learned that where I would excel would be in the digital demesne, and I followed with an AEC in Multimedia Design (with honours) from International Academy of Design and Technology, and then a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design from Concordia University (with distinction).
I didn’t stop there, however, because I spent a further year preparing an Art History specialization at McGill University for the Masters Program, before deciding that the temptation of the tech industry was too great and I accepted my first full-time position.
I have have obtained both an Essential Management Skills Certificate from McGill University, and a Business Writing Certificate from McGill’s Executive Institute.
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