Skills & Artifacts

A slightly different view of my experience, organized by skillset.

I consider myself to be a product-focused design generalist with wide-ranging skills. Most of my focus has been on designing and creating for interactive media – responsive sites, native apps, emerging technology, etc. Over the years I’ve picked up other skills that have to do with leadership, presenting, teaching, and all sorts of other things. I love to learn, so it’s fun to “level up” my skillset.

Whether I’m engaged in design, product innovation, management, teaching, or some other professional role, I tend to use some mix of the following skills (expanded thoughts below):

  • Thought Leadership

  • Branding & Visual Design

  • Product Management

  • Mentoring & People Leadership

  • Technical Skills

  • UX Research

  • Design Thinking & Facilitation

  • Journeys, Flows, & Wireframes

  • Content, IA, & Visual Storytelling

  • Prototyping


UX Research

I love seeing and hearing real feedback from actual customers. I seek to understand the user from the Discovery phase, through Development, and Post-Launch. I’ve worked with full-time UX Research staff to develop screening questions, bring in paid testers, create the interview script, and observe, assist, and conduct sessions in an official testing lab (complete with recording equipment, one-way glass, and an observation room). I’ve also been the lone UXer conducting usability tests at the kitchen table.

Discovery

Exploratory work to better understand how employees and their managers handle proposed work trips and expense approvals. I’ve used techniques including Observation, Interviews, and Card Sorting for this phase.

Development

Tested a novel touch-based interface to facilitate a new method of ranking flights for commerce. I’ve used testing methods including Task Completion and SUS scoring to evaluate usability.

Post-launch

Gathered feedback from existing customers to improve product functionality and usability in apps and web sites through In-app Feedback and Email-based Surveys.


Design Thinking & Facilitation

I really enjoy the exchange of ideas and facilitating creativity and innovation. This was a huge part of my role in Sabre Labs. I used facilitation skills in the college courses I taught as well. I received in-person Design Thinking training at IBM’s Austin HQ a few years back. Even before that, I was facilitating cross-functional team sessions to decide what to build, reveal and evaluate assumptions, create hypotheses, and allow for constructive disagreement and resolution. I’ve given presentations on the specific methods I used during my time in Sabre Labs, detailing our “Framework for Dissent.”

facilitating teamwork

Allowed team members to disagree constructively and work through their opinions and assumptions in a group setting. Created testable hypotheses and decided build priorities as a group, with guidance.

vision Workshops

Guided cross-function product teams of product management, designers, and developers through industry trends and future technologies. Aimed at envisioning the future of the product beyond 18 months.

Teaching

Facilitated growth among a team or group of students. Presented material, created exercises, answered questions, allowed for collaboration, reiterated and solidified learning.


Journeys, Flows, & Wireframes

I tend to work out the flows and wireframing by hand in a notebook before taking anything digital. If I’m working with developers in person, I may stick to the sketches if they’re comfortable with that. If I need a more robust artifact, I’ll digitize and clean up the flowchart and wireframes. In Labs we moved very quickly. Digital wireframes were considered a luxury, so most of the time we worked without them. I’ve used Illustrator, HTML/CSS, Axure RP, Balsamiq, and fiddled with other tools as well. Designers who reported to me have used InVision and other modern tools.

Journey Maps

Mapped the traveler journey for use in the innovation practice in Sabre Labs. Matched technologies and capabilities with pain points in the customer’s travel experience.

FlowCharts

Worked out the flow for numerous apps and web sites. Usually start hand-drawn and move to digital. Used Omnigraffle, Axure RP, Illustrator, Vizio, and other software to generate flows.

Wireframes & UX Prototypes

Began using Illustrator and still use HTML occasionally. Have used Balsamiq and Axure RP. Happy to use any newer programs including InVision, XD, etc.


Content, IA, & Visual Storytelling

I’ve come to think of design as some mix of communication and enablement. It’s about taking the chaotic raw materials of information, tools, and functions and forming them into accessible, useful, and ordered artifacts. It could be an app, web site, t-shirt, or some other product, but writing, storytelling, and the structure of communication are very important. This piece of the puzzle is often neglected and the reason why many products don’t quite feel “whole.” When done correctly, great content and storytelling set a product or service apart from the rest.

Content

Recently, completed training in the Storybrand communication framework. StoryBrand pairs Marketing with a UX point of view; we are guides and the customer is the hero. Implemented for several recent projects.

Information Architecture

This site is a departure from most portfolios I’ve seen. It’s an attempt to structure the content in a format that elevates the desires of the user above those of the designer. It’s what I try to do in all of my designs.

Visual Storytelling

I’ve always loved the book title A Smile in the Mind. I want to use visual resources to reinforce the content and structure of our communication. It’s the balance of choosing the right voice in writing and graphics.


Prototyping Experiences

Most of my work at Sabre Labs was in creating functional prototypes. We would create sample experiences with real technology to test vendors, understand the challenges, and pull out as much learning as possible from the process. As a result, I’ve designed for Google Glass (Augmented Reality), Amazon Echo (Voice UI), indoor beacons, and smartwatches (Pebble, Android Wear, Apple Watch). I’ve led a team through designing for Facebook Messenger (message-based UI), iOS AR Kit, and mapped out an Etherium blockchain that we then created. I’ve presented on the importance of understanding what you’re prototyping and testing so that you don’t over-build.

Testing Prototype

Built a drag and drop prioritization UI to test: Does this interaction model help customers use the product more effectively?

Technical Prototype

Designed to explore the use of beacon technology in a travel context. Understanding the vendors and technology stack, feasibility, response times, etc.

Demo Prototype

Made to help outside stakeholders get a sense of AR as a technology. Demos are used for investment, marketing, or some other relational outcome.


Thought Leadership

Panrotas Conference  in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Real-time audio translation to Portuguese!

Panrotas Conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Real-time audio translation to Portuguese!

My default mode of operation is to share what I’ve learned with the people around me and riff on the status quo. I really enjoy the process of learning, doing, teaching, and leading people. To get to a state of thought leadership though takes a deep understanding of the subject, an understanding of the current conversations, and an understanding of what you believe that others do not. It’s then a matter of sharing and convincing others that your vision of the truth is actually reality. Through my work in innovation as well as pursuing training in Strategic Foresight (Futures), I’ve honed skills in research, observation, and strategic thinking. We’ve all met futurists who don’t use rigor in their craft – I believe the future is cool enough without making things up.

Design Industry

Mentored and shared learnings through teaching at a design college (The Art Institute of Dallas), managing designers and design teams, as well as presenting at industry conferences around the US.

Travel Industry

Travel is just the latest vertical I was a part of. Presented on four continents, participated in PR interviews, featured in publications, wrote and published major industry reports.

Beyond

My latest small business venture is about leading leaders. For those who share my same values, I want to provide learning and guidance to help them along their journey.


Branding & visual design

Album cover for Null Process

Album cover for Null Process

I’ve been using Photoshop and Illustrator for 20 years, so I tend to be fairly efficient with those software packages. I own Sketch and have used that more recently. Though I think of myself as more of a product, system, and experience designer, I do enjoy creating nice, clean, vector-perfect designs.

At Neiman Marcus, I developed skills in photo retouching, and I worked as a professional photographer’s assistant before that. So, I know something about photography and working with images. I’ve also done some video editing and motion graphics work as well.


Product Management

All of these skills end up being applied to products, platforms, and services. In Sabre Labs, we did a lot of work exploring the possibilities for future products. I’ve published and maintained my own app in the App Store, as well as formally managing products in Sabre DX (an experience that included sunsetting a product). Product management is an area that I’m interested in growing my skillset and view it as the holistic application of my design skills.


Mentoring & People Leadership

I take mentoring and people leadership very seriously. It’s the reason I went to The Art Institute of Dallas to teach for five years. It’s why I have a “terminal degree” (MFA) in Interaction Design. I’m a fan of Michael Lopp and his writings on leading folks in our professions. I consider myself to be something of a servant leader, trying to mentor and grow the people around me. Sometimes this is formal, other times it’s simply through presence and being someone to talk too. I am radically for people – my customers, coworkers, friends, and family. I’ve found StrengthsFinder to be a very helpful tool in understanding how teams best work together.


Technical Skills

Last, but not least, I have proficiency in many different software packages. I got my first job because I learned software quickly. I am still happy to learn new software or the latest workflow. I work best on Mac but can handle a PC if need be. I’ve installed Ubuntu in a past life. Some of the software / platforms / languages I’ve used in various roles:

Design

Adobe CC (Acrobat, After Effects, Dreamweaver, Flash / Animate, Illustrator, InDesign, Media Encoder, Photoshop, Premier)

Axure RP

Balsamiq

InVision

Omnigraffle

Optimal Workshop’s tools

Sketch

Sound Forge

Tech

Alexa Skills Kit

Android Studio

Bootstrap

CSS / SASS / LESS

GitHub

HTML

JavaScript

JSON

MySQL

Notepad++

PHP

Sublime Text

xCode

XML

Business

Basecamp

Evernote

Google G Suite

HootSuite

Keynote

MailChimp

Microsoft Office

SalesForce

Slack

SquareSpace

WordPress


These are a handful of the skills I use to make the teams I’m a part of better. If you’re curious about other skills, I’m happy to discuss!