Tell us about your career journey so far…
I’m a former graphic designer turned UX professional, and a native Long Islander now living in Brooklyn, NY.
After several years of designing materials for nonprofits, I found myself needing to expand my horizons, as traditional graphic design lacked the sweeping impact and challenges that I craved in my career.
UX Design appealed to me because it encapsulates big-picture thinking, understanding others, and doing things, not because they are what someone within the administrative circuit likes, but because they work.
What does UX mean for you?
As a Product Designer that specializes in both visual design and user experience, I articulate what users want with due regard to both company goals and evidence-based best practices.
Do you have a process for capturing ideas around you? Any recommended tools?
I take photos with my iPhone, and then will attach them onto a note using the Bear App. I’ll give the idea a quick description and hashtag, like #ideas/fitness-app, and then the Bear App will give it its own designated file.
What’s your process for building out your case studies?
It depends on the client. If I can, I follow a traditional double-diamond approach with some minor alterations to maximize my workflow:
I meet with the client to discuss their goals, and clarify any organizational needs like deadlines and the file naming nomenclature for deliverables. I make sure to ask as many questions as possible, because you know none of the answers to 100% of the questions that you don’t ask. I use a combination of analog graph paper notepads and the Bear App for note taking.
I read over any existing briefs or research that the client has done, and conduct any additional research: such as interviewing prospective users, looking into what both competitors and analogous services are doing.
I compile my research, often using spreadsheets, and draw possible conclusions from that data—like user journeys, problem statements along that user journey, and key quotes from users.
Humane Design Evaluation
Depending on the client, I will occasionally provide a humane design evaluation, which indexes possible worst case scenarios along various lines of inquiry, and suggests alternatives and opportunities for product specifications based on that evaluation.
From there, I hunker down and get to work sketching and iterating on design artifacts. I avoid going straight to digital if it can be helped. I also always take care to remember what I call the UX Golden Flow: Main Pages lead to Detail Pages lead to Actions. That alone eliminates most ambiguity about a design’s scope.
One of my favorite go-to exercises is a design lab. I will create multiple design possibilities, quickly drawing from a whole vocabulary of design choices and best practices. Then, I’ll hone in on the best features from each and put those into a more final sketch, which I’ll then take to Sketch.
For the first round, I keep it as a low fidelity PDF, sticking to grayscale if I can, and apply comment directly to the PDF document. This way, the emphasis can be on forms and placement rather than colors.
Then, once the placement is mostly worked out, I take it to higher fidelity in Sketch. I work extensively with symbols in Sketch, as it is undeniably efficient. This higher fidelity image is also, usually, a PDF with annotated comments.
After that, I’ll create any custom animations in Adobe After Effects or Principle, which I’ll export as a .mov and place into Photoshop so that I can turn it into a GIF. All of that then, usually, goes into InVision, or whichever format the client prefers.
Do you do video editing work?
I know my way around Adobe After Effects, and can make animations like this:
DevOps Engineer, Splash
John is a talented designer, who brings skill and great attention to detail in every design task he approaches. Whether it's designing a UI, or creating a video game character, John puts his heart into his work and uses his great capacity for empathy to think about how the end user can have the best experience possible.
Senior UX Researcher, HelloFresh
While teaching John, I quickly learned that he is extremely hardworking and organized with a fond attention to detail. Throughout our class, he was constantly curious and analytical, searching for ways to test his ideas and concepts. He truly took the time to deeply understand a subject or concept and would follow-up by asking wonderfully thought-provoking and challenging questions. I see his passion, creativity and empathy come through in his design work. I'm confident John has the skills and potential to thrive in any environment and I highly recommend him as both a UX Designer and a great colleague.
Grants Associate, Quality Services for the Autism Community
John was a joy to work with. He quickly grasped QSAC's design needs and innovated new color schemes and branding elements to refresh QSAC's marketing materials. We are still using many of those color schemes and branding elements to this day. As the graphic design point person for the entire agency, John had a challenging job that he nevertheless brought a positive, can-do attitude to every day. Having worked on several projects, events, and marketing campaigns with him, I would be happy to recommend him to any organization in need of a dedicated graphic designer.
Frmr. Director of Residence Life, SUNY Purchase
John is a meticulous worker, who invests extensive time and energy to ensure that projects are completed in an exemplary manner. John is a highly effective communicator, especially electronically. Creative and innovative, he will examine an issue from multiple angles before seeking a comprehensive solution. He is also a person of great character. He cares for others and will assist as a team player whenever needed. It was a wonderful pleasure to work with John at Purchase College. I am certain that his accomplishments at Purchase are indications of the bright future he has. John offers broad vision, strong work ethic, and purposeful patience and humor for any position where he is being considered. He is a top-notch candidate.