“I’m a Podcast Superstar”

My friend Emily, a New York turned Turkish designer, introduced me to the Thunder Nerds Podcast who interviewed me on UX and travel. It was really wonderful chatting with the guys, learning more about the podcasting process, and reflecting on the trip.

The episode featuring me can be found here and I highly recommend hearing Emily’s story here.

What Long-Term Travel Taught Me About Project Planning

Imagine your last day of your first post-collegiate job.

For me, it was with some nerves, but mostly eager anticipation that I decided to leave my position (and benefits!) as a User Experience consultant to go on a round-the-world vision quest. With three years of professional experience, a longing for exploration, and no “real” commitments it was the right time to go. My journey has bore witness to undeniably breathtaking views and heartwarming human interactions but arguably one of the best side-effects of travel has been perspective. Of course perspective has manifested itself in a variety of ways, one of which is understanding the work I did in a new way. Long-term travel informed my perspective on managing a budget and documentation, but the most eye-opening was its impact on how I understand project planning. Continue reading

Interview with César Astudillo

This post is part of a larger project on Designing Opportunity. Check out my earlier blog post for an overview of the topic.

Below you will find a written reflection from my interview with César Astudillo in Madrid.

César Astudillo, Senior Fellow of Designit Madrid, agreed to chat about the topic of inequality and design, although he was vocally apprehensive that he would have anything positive to contribute. Our discussion, which focused on design in relation to politics, coincided almost perfectly with my discovery of Open Government Data and Code for America. Continue reading

Interaction of Design and Equality

In taking a break from traditional work to travel, I am exploring the topic of inequality through the lens of design. My journey is an attempt to understand if and how design (visual, experience, urban planning, architecture, etc) as a discipline can/should play a role in improving the socioeconomic and racial issues we are experiencing locally and globally.

While being a nomad is not exactly conducive to scheduling interviews, my goal is to find at least three individuals who are involved in organizations that attempt to provide equal opportunity to all via design.

If the topic is of any interest to you here are a number of articles and resources that have helped to guide my journey and shape my perspective thus far: Continue reading

Proper Story Writing for User Experience in Agile

I am purposely avoiding the debate over whether design and agile can work together and instead providing my experience should agile be deemed the project management technique of choice. Several early adopters and founders of agile are currently touring the world-begging disciples to pay less attention to process for process sake. Any good creative will tell you that the best design rarely comes from following a prescription to the letter, please keep that in mind as you proceed. The only advice that I’ve found to be universally true is that a “story” is called a “story” because it demands discussion. Continue reading

Defining UX for Sixth Grade

The Setup

A dear, passionate, and fearless friend teaches math at a majority low-income school in St. Paul, MN. This week, she invited me in to her class to explain my career and help with a few math exercises. Her first block of students are mainly Hmong, English as a Second Language (ESL) 6th graders and her second block is…rowdy. There are hours upon hours worth of social issues to discuss but the point of this blog is to share my take on explaining user experience to sixth graders.

Continue reading