Here's the thing... There's not a lot you can usefully do on my website with a smartphone.

 

There's a lot of text, as I'm fairly wordy, and you'd be much better off consuming this on a larger screen.

 

However, if you want to contact me via social media or send me a message, that may work out just fine. You'll find some buttons below.

If you had asked me even five years ago if I thought that public speaking would ever be an important part of my career I would have treated you to an emphatic "no". I had, and to some extent still do have, some comfort issues regarding speaking to large groups.

 

However, it turns out I was, and am, also deluded in my anxiety. Over those years, and even long before then, I had begun to speak to people in increasing numbers. I spoke to project teams, panels of client stakeholders, groups of peers, the whole company, the executive suite. It was so situational, and so absent of the stereotypical podium, that I hardly noticed.

 

Now I embrace and sometimes celebrate the opportunity to share ideas, to discuss approaches, and to stand up boldly in rooms full of very clever people. I fully presume that to some I will sound plodding, backward, or even outright wrong. But ideas need airing. Some need airing more frequently than others. I am happy to paint the target on myself to ensure that ideas, issues and the fabric of my profession do not go unexamined and unquestioned.

Upcoming & Recent Speaking Engagements

 

Testing for Engagement, Tools, & Methods

World Usability Day - Nov. 13, 2014

 

Guest Lecture on Usability

Metro State University - Oct. 29, 2014

 

Discussion Lead on Iterative Design

UXPA Summer Social & Unconference - Jul. 10, 2014

 

Guest Lecture on Professional UX Practice

Metro State University - Mar. 4, 2014

 

Guest Lecture on Working Usability

University of Minnesota - Dec. 12, 2013

 

Podcast: Making the Case for UX/QA Partnerships

The Nerdery - Feb. 17, 2014

 

Webinar: Testing Your User Experience for Usability

The Nerdery - Feb. 13, 2014

 

Podcast: Where to stick your Usability

The Nerdery - Feb. 10, 2014

 

Podcast: Raising Awareness Around Usability Testing

The Nerdery - Dec. 6, 2014

 

Podcast: Why Usability Testing Has Been Given a Bum Wrap

The Nerdery - Dec. 6, 2014

 

Podcast: Why Usability Testing Has Been Given a Bum Wrap

The Nerdery - Dec. 6, 2014

 

Usability Methods, Tabling Fair and Results Presentation

World Usability Day - Nov. 17, 2013

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Something must be done about rampant pillar-huggers.

Mentorship is not a duty, but a privilege. It's not a question of what you ought to do, but of what you are allowed to do. Think of it this way: It is an honor and a compliment that another member of your profession might seek to learn something from you. That the way you have solved a problem might then help someone to solve their own.

 

Being trusted to provide insights, feedback, and guidance is an immense responsibility. A responsibility for the advice you give and perhaps a small measure of the results it influenced. This can be quite stressful. You may worry that your suggestions won't work, or that your solutions seem insane, or insultingly elementary.

 

However, like any other potential crisis, this is also an opportunity. One of the things you absolutely must do while you speak is to also listen. Mentorship teaches you, not just the people you're attempting to support. Often you will find yourself learning in the very act of teaching. Those you support can show you new ways to use the information that was collecting dust in your databanks.

 

The good and bad news is that your career in mentorship will only last so long as it is relevant, valuable and actionable to those who ask for it. The problem of whether or not to be a mentor can easily solve itself - particularly if you choose not to treat it with the care it deserves.

Ongoing Adventures in Mentorship

 

Putting Atomic Data Modeling into Practice

Support for other members of the UX team in creating and using data models to build communication bridges between stakeholders and developers.

 

User Research Planning and Execution

I'm often pulled in to evaluate and advise on user research plans. This can be a simple peer gut-check, or a discussion of options to fit a budget.

 

Usability, Testing, and Validation Strategies

Getting testing into a project can be challenging. I'm often consulted for creative approaches to add design-quality and user-context check-ins.

 

The Nerdery Apprenticeship Program

I was one of many team members who supported multiple apprentices by engaging them for small-portions or long-stretches of client projects.

 

Rapid and Interactive Prototyping

Protoshare or Axure, if it needs to behave like it's real - when it's not - I can help you figure out a way to do that. Is it still mentorship if you make people learn things against their will?

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Did no one consider utilizing the stairs?

I think it was a gelfling called Kira that called writing "words that stay". While that in itself may be somewhat trivial it hints at the greater import of externalizing one's ideas.

 

Also it is the duty of experience to share what works and what doesn't for the benefit of one's colleagues, enterprise, and industry. It is a requirement of leadership to use that same information to set the course of development, refinement and improvement for one's practice and profession.

 

To externalize one's thoughts, is to enable examination, foster discourse, and allow your learned peers to question your sanity in frank and productive ways. Nothing teaches you to do better research than having your points eviscerated on the strength of your own apparent ignorance. Nothing teaches you to proof-read like being mercilessly teased over that one missing oxford comma.

Recent Writing, Blogs and Other Scribblings

 

How I Used a Wireframing Tool to Build a Website

The Nerdery Blog - Mar. 25, 2015

 

9 Signs Your Website is Past its Expiration Date

Nerdery Report - Mar. 20, 2015

 

Your Users Are Yip Yips

The Nerdery Blog - Mar. 20, 2014

 

Reclaiming Usability – Part 4

UX and QA, an Evaluative Partnership

The Nerdery Blog - Feb. 12, 2014

 

Reclaiming Usability – Part 3

Where you can put your testing

The Nerdery Blog - Nov. 25, 2013

 

Reclaiming Usability – Part 2

Who Put Usability in the Corner?

The Nerdery Blog - Nov. 18, 2013

 

Reclaiming Usability – Part 1

Usability as a Valuable Part of a Nutritious UX Process

The Nerdery Blog - Nov. 7, 2013

 

Being Wrong to Discover Right

The Nerdery Blog - Mar. 29, 2013

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Stop ruminating, start inscribing. Let's get glyphical.

So what do I do all day, apart from wearing bow ties? I have a number of skills and talents that may be brought to bear upon any project or problem. Here is a brief list of the most important ones.

Collaboration

• Cooperative Sketching and Design

• Distributed Documentation

• Whiteboarding and Public Recording

• Workshops and Team Synthesis

 

Research

• Analytics Review

• Contextual Inquiry

• Stakeholder Interviews

• User Interviews

 

Testing and Evaluation

• A/B and Multivariate Testing

• Card-Sorting

Heuristic/Expert Review

• Perception/Cognitive Testing

• Remote and Qualitative Testing

• Usability/Task Analysis

 

Information Architecture (IA)

• Content and Data Models

• Content Strategy

• Persona Definition

• Task/Screen/Work Flows

• Site Maps and Taxonomies

 

Interaction Design (IxD)

Feature Documentation

• Functional Annotation

• Interactive Prototypes

• Interfaces, Layouts and Mockups

• Pattern Libraries

• Process Maps and Storyboards

• Style Guides and Design Documentation

• Templates (HTML/CSS)

• Use Cases and User Stories

• Wireframes

Accessibility

• WAI-ARIA, WCAG and Section

• Design and Audit

 

Visual Design and Production

• Animation

• Art Direction

• Art Production

• Brand and Identity

• Graphic Design

• Illustration

• Print and Collateral

 

Development Execution

• CMS Themes/Customization

• HTML, CSS, XHTML

• JavaScript

• ActionScript

 

Strategic Services

• Consultancy

• Design Thinking

• Ecosystem Analysis

• Experience Design

• Process Evaluation and Improvement

• Service Design

Vendor Management

 

Leadership 

• Authorship

• Event Planning

• Practice Improvement

• Project Management

• Public Speaking

• Standards Definition and Maintenance

Strategic Initiatives

• Team and Project Leadership

 

Like any craftsman I have a set of tools I commonly use. Added to each list below, I append "an inventive and suspicious mind". Which seems only fair because it's nearly impossible to stop myself from using it.

Meeting and Remoting

• Adobe Connect

• Google Hangouts

• GoToMeeting

• Join.me

• WebEx

 

Collaborating and Sharing

• AxShare

• Basecamp

• Google Docs

• InVisionApp

• Paper and Whiteboards

 

Presenting

• Google Docs

• Keynote

• MS PowerPoint

Prototyping and Wireframing

• Adobe Illustrator

Axure

• Omnigraffle

• Paper and Pencils

• ProtoShare

• Visio

 

Evaluating and Testing

• Custom tools and methods

• Optimal Suite

 

Documenting Results

• Google Docs

• MS Office

• Omnigraffle

 

 

 

 

Making and Producing Visuals

• Adobe Illustrator

• Adobe InDesign

• Adobe Photoshop

 

Writing Code and Interactions

• Adobe Dreamweaver

• Adobe Flash

• SVN

 

Testing Website Code

• Adobe BrowserLab

• IE Tester

• FINS

• W3C Validators

Managing Content

• Drupal

• Expression Engine

• Joomla

• SharePoint

• Stellent

 

 

When the plans have been laid, research synthesized, designs drawn, reviewed, tested, iterated, finalized - you generally have some things to show for it. These are the sorts of things that pile up on my desk, and in my project folders (electronic and paper).

Winning the Work

• RFP Responses

• Proposals

• Pitch and Capabilities Decks

• Approach Documents

 

Planning the Project

• Project Plans

• Timelines

• Resource/Task Allocation Grids

Resource/Task Tracking Grids

 

Managing Collaboration

• Valve Grids

• Standup Schedules

• Review Schedules

• Version Control Protocols

Recording the Research

• Analytics Analyses

• Competitive Analyses

• Heuristic/Expert Reviews

• Stakeholder Findings

• User/Participant/Customer Findings

• Persona Documentation

• Key Insights/Findings Decks

 

Negotiating Phase and Scope

• Use Case Documentation

• Feature/Scope Grids

• Phase Documentation

• Statements of Work

Constructing Content

• Content Audit Grids

• Voice and Tone Documentation

• Messaging Frameworks

• Migration Plans

• Governance Documentation

 

Visual Development

• Mood Boards

• Style Tiles

• Style Guides

• Brand Standards Documentation

 

Iterating on IA

• System Architecture Documentation

• Data/Interaction Exploded Models (DIEM)

• Work/User/Task Flows

• Navigation Maps (site maps)

 

Breaking Down Behaviors

• Detailed Articulation Documents

• Wireframes (static, annotated)

• Prototypes (interactive, annotated)

• Pattern Libraries

 

Checking the Work

• Test Plans

• Recruitment Screeners

• Test Scripts

• Test Capture Documents

• Test Findings Grids

• Recommendations Documents

It seems inevitable that no matter how hard one works to custom fit every engagement and every deliverable to the problem and the client at hand, people always want to see someone else's stuff. Of course one can't blame them. It would be nice to know that the story you're hearing has some proof to back it up.

 

The problem is that not every client is okay with having their custom solution paraded about. They even make you sign bits of paper. Most inconvenient. However, you can occasionally clean enough detail out, or get permission to share that same proof from someone else's pudding.

 

Other samples are available for viewing but cannot be transmitted or left behind. For that we'd have to be meet and perhaps discuss your particular requirements. This includes items like:

 

Proposals and Statements of Work

• Scope Documentation

• Whiteboarding and Public Recording

• Sketches and Concept Development

• Completed Project Screens

Research Plans

Findings Documents

Testing Plans

Test Findings

Project Plans

Prototypes are not just pixel-perfect, proof-of-concept, interactive, on-screen affairs. They never were. A prototype is any representation of a thing that can help you communicate about, understand, or evaluate that thing - that isn't actually that thing yet. My website. My definition.

 

What this means is that a napkin sketch is as much a prototype as a complex UI rendered in tools like Protoshare or Axure. I subscribe to the idea that one shouldn't focus on fidelity except that it's appropriate to the task for which the prototype is being built.

 

Owing to those pesky NDAs, I won't be able to share or send out everything I do, but some things may be glimpsed in a de-identified format during a potential face-to-face meeting. The sorts of things I prototype include:

 

Complex Software Interfaces for Platform, Web and Mobile Applications

• Content, Engagement, and Atomic Data Models

• System and Information Architectures

Diagrammatic Models

Static Wireframes

Interactive Prototypes

Data-Based Prototypes

Visual work is where I began my design career. While it's no longer my focus I do still pursue smaller scale, personal, and pro-bono projects as donations to organizations and causes I support.

 

In my day-to-day work I use my skills for the clear visual communication of design direction, options, and alternate approaches to solve problems in strategy, interaction design, and getting entire teams on the same page across different disciplines and mindsets.

 

Again, other samples are available for viewing but can't be sent or left. NDAs, are so inconvenient.

 

Sketches and Storyboards

Illustration of Processes

Logos and Branding

Recreational Art

Visualized Data

I'm a problem solver. Business problems, strategy problems, communication problems, interaction problems, execution problems; I like problems. I especially like crisis-sized, hideously complex and seemingly insurmountable problems. I like to take them apart. I enjoy finding out if they are actually what people think they are. There's nothing like discovering and solving a problem that turned out to be very different than it was assumed to be. Particularly if it turns out to be cheaper to fix and have more valuable results than expected.

 

So how do we do this? By unearthing the information needed to make informed decisions and take effective action. We do this by knowing how to find out what we need to know in order know what we need to know. Confused? That would be everyone. Put another way; we ensure that the information you are getting is actually the right information. Then double check that information - not only to make doubly sure it was right, but that it is being used correctly to get the best results.

 

I believe in a balanced practice and process. Investigate the problem and its environment. Articulate a designed solution based on that understanding in a manner that can be effectively communicated and validated. Evaluate it to ensure that it has the intended effect. If not... Iterate.

 

Tools and methods will continue to change, and there is no magic bullet. Design the project to fit the problem, the client, and the humans whom it will affect. Don't forget the humans. Forget the humans and I'll confiscate your "UX" title.

Chess is strategic. Your designer should be too.

See my idea of a balanced UX process

I feel as though I should say something about the importance of experience. Of having been there and back again. But, if you're here looking at this, you likely don't need to be told. Conversely, if you're not, then you're also not reading this anyway.

 

Items are listed in reverse chronological order, titled by the names of the positions. You know how this works. If you have questions, just let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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To see the details per Job Title, select items from the list at left.

 

       Just here

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Senior User Experience Designer

The Nerdery | Bloomington, MN | Nov 2013 – Present

 

Extended beyond design development and execution (see User Experience Designer, below) into supporting others to do the same and develop thier craft.

 

Supported a wider array of colleagues as an active member of the estimation process and consultative project acquisition.

 

Crafted and executed internal initiatives to improve process, practice consistency and work quality.

 

Lead multiple concurrent large projects for long-term clients, deepening relationships and ensuring that customer service and satisfaction are always a priority.

 

Supervised and collaborated with junior designers to conduct research and testing activities, and execute project deliverables.

 

Collaborated with clients and developers to create high-value strategic and technological solutions to complex business problems.

Event Organizer

World Usability Day | University of Minnesota | 2013-2014

 

Collaborative brainstorming, planning, scheduling and arranging speakers and activities

User Experience Designer

The Nerdery | Bloomington, MN | Jan 2013 – Nov 2013

 

Developed innovative solutions for a multitude of platforms

 

Designed complex interfaces and interactions beyond simple brochure sites

 

Analyzed business and application requirements, prioritized and identified user tasks and goals

 

Developed a wide range of visual deliverables: key insights documentation, affinity diagrams, user personas, research plans and prototypes

 

Worked effectively within technical, creative, and budgetary constraints

 

Adapted to a wide range of project types and timeframes

 

Quickly and efficiently identified and prioritized requirements across multiple projects

 

Applied critical thinking and creativity while maintaining close attention to detail to every task and project

 

Continued to expand and refine my skillset through ongoing learning

 

Communicated clearly and concisely through both written and verbal means with internal teams and client audiences

User Exprience Analyst | Interaction Designer

Capella University | Minneapolis, MN | Mar 2012 – Jan 2013

 

Translating business objectives and end-user needs into design strategies.

 

Applying user-centered design principles to the creation of user interfaces and information architecture.

 

Creating innovative information display paradigms and navigation methods.

 

Coordinating, lead, and documenting results for usability studies on large sites

 

Working with broader Online Products and User Experience department to develop and implement cross-functional processes that improve customer satisfaction and create company-wide understanding of the impact of various initiatives.

 

Partnering with others to improve editorial, graphical, and content standards for the highest possible quality, navigational ease, consistency, and content architecture.

 

Conceptualizing and facilitating implementation of personalized site experiences and decision tools for learners, prospective learners, faculty, alumni, and staff.

 

Working with Product Management to recommend and implement visual solutions for the benefit of key support groups within the organization.  Will also identify cross-project opportunities (similar features that require a holistic approach).

 

Partnering with designers and front-end developers on feasibility of solutions.

User Experience Consultant

The Creative Group | Minneapolis, MN | Feb 2011 – Jan 2013

 

Provided User Experience consulting for JT Mega (St. Louis Park, MN)

 

Designed and documented features, information architecture and user interactions for a consumer-facing online product-finder application with desktop, mobile and social media components

 

Produced multiple iterations of user flows and wireframes based on business requirements, existing technical specifications and user research

Flash Designer/Developer

Hudson IT | Minneapolis, MN | Feb 2011 – Jan 2013

 

Contracted for Benchmark Learning (Edina, MN)

 

Developed a professional resource application in Flash/ActionScript 3

 

Designed interfaces, interactions and graphic assets

Design Consultant

Self-Employed | Minneapolis, MN | Apr 2010 – Present

 

Designed branding and logo systems and documented standards

 

Created websites, identity systems, imprinted items, marketing pieces and collateral

 

Customized CMS applications and created HTML/CSS templates

 

Maintained and published online content

 

Worked to support small and non/not for profit clients

Senior Designer | Interface Specialist

AllRegs | Eagan, MN | Feb 2007 – Dec 2011

 

Set up and administered the company’s banner advertising service.

 

Created communications and collateral pieces for online and print.

 

Customized e-store to conform to brand standards.

 

Managed marketing content on multiple websites and online applications.

 

Created displays and associated materials for industry trade shows.

 

Maintained brand standards and enforcement.

 

Designed the identity program and public website.

 

Continued to support product development with UX and IA support as needed for new online products, features and applications.

 

• Built wireframes based on business requirements

 

• Built mockups based on approved wireframes and software requirements

 

• Developed HTML/CSS templates for integration by the Product Development group

 

• Acted as the voice of the user and an advocate of usability within the organization

User Interface Designer

AllRegs | Eagan, MN | Dec 2003 – Feb 2007

 

Acted as Business Analyst and liaison between the business and development department to distill requirements for new projects.

 

Defined User Experience (UX), Information architecture (IA), and Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) on new features and applications.

 

• Designed and conducted user testing efforts including; Heuristic Review, Focus Groups, Card Sorting, Task Analysis and User Acceptance Testing

 

• Built wireframes, defined screen flows and wrote use cases based on business requirements with input from user feedback

 

• Built graphic assets and mockups based on approved wireframes and software requirements

 

• Developed HTML/CSS templates for integration by the Product Development group and tested mockups with Task Analysis testing.

 

• Acted as the voice of the user and an advocate of usability within the organization

 

Designed and led deployment and regression testing efforts for online application deployments.

 

Provided additional graphic design and print production support as needed.

Online/Print Design Contractor

Piper Jaffray | Minneapolis, MN | Jun 2003 – Dec 2007

 

Created, edited and updated print marketing pieces and forms as needed.

 

Assembled, compiled and digitally published a weekly online newsletter for the division.

 

Provided graphic/layout and design support to two teams within the division.

 

Managed content via a content management system (Stellent), including building CMS-based intranet pages that utilized query-based links.

Director of Design and Operations

First Scribe | St Louis Park, MN | Sep 2002 – Apr 2003

 

Consulted with clients acting as BA/IA to create web sites and online applications, as well as online promotion programs to support site traffic.

 

Supervised project team (creative and development), overall workflow and output quality.

 

Developed high-level HTML and Flash solutions for client projects, including the Lane Use Flash application created for the Minneapolis TMO, and deployed on the City of Minneapolis website.

Contract Consulting

Feb 2002 – Sep 2002

 

AllRegs | Eagan, MN | Jul 2002 – Sep 2002

 

Developed a new identity program.

 

Designed brand experience model, user experience model, defined information architecture and page-level content models, followed by graphical interface designs and templates for a website update.

 

DKY | Richfield, MN | Jul 2002

 

Provided HTML code cleanup and Flash authoring of navigation user interface to support client project already in progress.

 

Dexma | Edina, MN | Mar 2002 - Sep 2002

 

Performed competitive analysis of the existing demo website.

 

Developed a brand experience model and user experience model to refocus online priorities.

 

Reworked the information architecture to enhance user understanding and ease of use.

 

Constructed page-level content models, followed by graphical user interface designs.

 

Designed and developed promotional presentation in Flash.

 

Consulted with development group acting as BA/IA converting new feature requirements into wireframes and mockups for review.

 

Imaginet | Minneapolis, MN | Feb 2002 – May 2002

 

Created web sites (IA/UI) and interactive demos from concept to deployment.

 

Produced client support (training) documentation.

 

Assisted in strategic communications and user experience efforts

User Interface Designer | Usability Engineer

Definity Health | St. Louis Park, MN | Jul 2001 – Dec 2001

 

Led development of user interfaces for all web facings with a strong focus on user experience and human factors design.

 

Developed an improved information architecture strategy, redefining member views, to improve self-service and understanding of their care and costs with the aim of creating healthcare consumers.

 

Developed and implemented usability efforts to validate and improve new interface elements.

Senior Designer | Online Team Lead

iPares ltd. | Minneapolis, MN | Jun 1998 – Jul 2001

 

Designed information architecture, interfaces, layouts, functional behavior and information architecture for client websites.

 

Consulted with clients to assess needs, gather requirements and present work as Business Analyst/Project Lead.

 

Participated in cross-functional teams to shape processes, and assess ongoing needs while advocating the importance of user experience and visual communications issues.

Graphic Designer

Midwest Systems | Burnsville, MN | Mar 1998 – Jun 1998

 

Revised and updated user interfaces, content and graphics for the corporate website, and online product catalog.

 

Produced coordinated print communications and presentation materials.

 

Created a secondary B2B audience-specific website to support sales in other regions offering seminars to appropriate customers.

Media Production Specialist - Intermediate

Allina Health System | Minneapolis, MN | Oct 1996 – Mar 1998

 

Designed and produced information architecture, user interfaces and graphics for a number of websites including Allina HealthVillage and Medica.com.

 

Designed and produced print projects ranging from brochures and manuals to signs and displays with a focus on communications and healthcare.

Art Director

IONS | Plymouth, MN | Jun 1996 – Jan1997

 

Developed the identity package for a start-up multimedia networking company, including all print and online materials.

 

Built the company website from strategic concept, through IA and UI design through to final execution and production.

 

Handled all design and graphics for client projects including online projects, web user interfaces and websites, graphics and storyboards for commercials, and other video assets.

Multimedia/Web Designer

Digital Café | St. Paul, MN | Mar 1996 – Jun 1996

 

Designed and created interfaces, images and animations for websites, screen savers and other multimedia applications.

 

Designed promotional materials for Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie (Gramercy Pictures). This included a website (IA, UI, production), screen saver and promotional games for download.

Senior Graphic Designer

Artworks | Eden Prairie, MN | Jul 1995 – Feb 1996

 

Handled design of packaging and print advertising materials from concept through final production with an emphasis on the video, music and entertainment software industries.

Production Art Director

Fingerhut | Minnetonka, MN | May – Jul 1995 and May – Sep 1994

 

Designed and produced direct mail marketing materials and catalog wraps for the Customer Recognition department.

 

Created illustrations and logos as needed for various projects.

Graphic Designer

Color Advantage | Edina, MN | Feb – May 1995

 

Designed and produced point-of-purchase displays, product packaging and sales materials for manufacturing industry clients.

Graphics Lead

Printed Media Services | Golden Valley, MN | Sep 1994 – Feb 1995

 

Managed second shift production team, project flow and troubleshooting.

 

Designed systems to increase production efficiency and quality of finished products.

 

Retouched photos, paginated ant output documents to film, and handled Matchprint III and Dylux proofing.

What I've Been Doing  With My Time

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Senior User Experience Designer

The Nerdery | Bloomington, MN | Nov 2013 – Present

 

Organizer

World Usability Day | University of Minnesota | Jul 2013 – Present

 

 

User Experience Designer

The Nerdery | Bloomington, MN | Jan 2013 – Nov 2013

 

UX Analyst | Interaction Designer

Capella University | Minneapolis, MN | Mar 2012 – Jan

 

User Experience Consultant

The Creative Group | Minneapolis, MN | Feb 2011 – Jan 2013

 

Flash Designer/Developer

Hudson IT | Minneapolis, MN | Feb 2011 – Jan 2013

 

Design Consultant

Self-Employed | Minneapolis, MN | Apr 2010 – Present

 

Senior Designer | Interface Specialist

AllRegs | Eagan, MN | Feb 2007 – Dec 2011

 

User Interface Designer

AllRegs | Eagan, MN | Dec 2003 – Feb 2007

 

Online/Print Design Contractor

Piper Jaffray | Minneapolis, MN | Jun 2003 – Dec 2007

 

Director of Design and Operations

First Scribe | St Louis Park, MN | Sep 2002 – Apr 2003

 

Contract Consulting

Feb 2002 – Sep 2002

 

    AllRegs | Eagan, MN | Jul 2002 – Sep 2002

 

 

    DKY | Richfield, MN | Jul 2002

 

 

    Dexma | Edina, MN | Mar 2002 - Sep 2002

 

 

    Imaginet | Minneapolis, MN | Feb 2002 – May 2002

 

 

User Interface Designer | Usability Engineer

Definity Health | St. Louis Park, MN | Jul 2001 – Dec 2001

 

Senior Designer | Online Team Lead

iPares ltd. | Minneapolis, MN | Jun 1998 – Jul 2001

 

Graphic Designer

Midwest Systems | Burnsville, MN | Mar 1998 – Jun 1998

 

Media Production Specialist - Intermediate

Allina Health System | Minneapolis, MN | Oct 1996 – Mar 1998

 

Art Director

IONS | Plymouth, MN | Jun 1996 – Jan1997

 

Multimedia/Web Designer

Digital Café | St. Paul, MN | Mar 1996 – Jun 1996

 

Senior Graphic Designer

Artworks | Eden Prairie, MN | Jul 1995 – Feb 1996

 

Production Art Director

Fingerhut | Minnetonka, MN | May – Jul 1995, May – Sep 1994

 

Graphic Designer

Color Advantage | Edina, MN | Feb – May 1995

 

Graphics Lead

Printed Media Services | Golden Valley, MN | Sep 1994 – Feb 1995

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GRAPHIC DESIGN FOR PRINT AND SCREEN MEDIA

USER INTERFACE DESIGN FOR WEB & SOFTWARE

INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE & INTERACTION DESIGN

TEAM & PROJECT LEADERSHIP

USER/HUMAN CENTERED DESIGN

USER RESEARCH & USABILITY TESTING

EXPERIENCE AND ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY

 

2015

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2010

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2005

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2000

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1995

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Experience-O-Meter : Skills That Go Way Back

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Ooo! Show me. SHOW ME!

Okay, you can put me away.

Senior User Experience Designer

The Nerdery | Bloomington, MN | Nov 2013 – Present

 

Organizer

World Usability Day | University of Minnesota | Jul 2013 – Present

 

 

User Experience Designer

The Nerdery | Bloomington, MN | Jan 2013 – Nov 2013

 

UX Analyst | Interaction Designer

Capella University | Minneapolis, MN | Mar 2012 – Jan

 

User Experience Consultant

The Creative Group | Minneapolis, MN | Feb 2011 – Jan 2013

 

Flash Designer/Developer

Hudson IT | Minneapolis, MN | Feb 2011 – Jan 2013

 

Design Consultant

Self-Employed | Minneapolis, MN | Apr 2010 – Present

 

Senior Designer | Interface Specialist

AllRegs | Eagan, MN | Feb 2007 – Dec 2011

 

User Interface Designer

AllRegs | Eagan, MN | Dec 2003 – Feb 2007

 

Online/Print Design Contractor

Piper Jaffray | Minneapolis, MN | Jun 2003 – Dec 2007

 

Director of Design and Operations

First Scribe | St Louis Park, MN | Sep 2002 – Apr 2003

 

Contract Consulting

Feb 2002 – Sep 2002

 

    AllRegs | Eagan, MN | Jul 2002 – Sep 2002

 

 

    DKY | Richfield, MN | Jul 2002

 

 

    Dexma | Edina, MN | Mar 2002 - Sep 2002

 

 

    Imaginet | Minneapolis, MN | Feb 2002 – May 2002

 

 

User Interface Designer | Usability Engineer

Definity Health | St. Louis Park, MN | Jul 2001 – Dec 2001

 

Senior Designer | Online Team Lead

iPares ltd. | Minneapolis, MN | Jun 1998 – Jul 2001

 

Graphic Designer

Midwest Systems | Burnsville, MN | Mar 1998 – Jun 1998

 

Media Production Specialist - Intermediate

Allina Health System | Minneapolis, MN | Oct 1996 – Mar 1998

 

Art Director

IONS | Plymouth, MN | Jun 1996 – Jan 1997

 

Multimedia/Web Designer

Digital Café | St. Paul, MN | Mar 1996 – Jun 1996

 

Senior Graphic Designer

Artworks | Eden Prairie, MN | Jul 1995 – Feb 1996

 

Production Art Director

Fingerhut | Minnetonka, MN | May – Jul 1995, May – Sep 1994

 

Graphic Designer

Color Advantage | Edina, MN | Feb – May 1995

 

Graphics Lead

Printed Media Services | Golden Valley, MN | Sep 1994 – Feb 1995

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See a list of my former Clients and their Industries

Need some additional context?

There's something to be said for an education. More, perhaps, to be said about lifelong learning. I don't think we ever really stop. Some of us just begin to ignore the new data instead of trying to process, understand and grow from it. Others actively seek to learn. Looking for those opportunities to grow. Often they'll share what they've learned with others. Which can be annoying at times, but they mean well. I promise we do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Understanding Accessibility

Simply Accessible/Target | Derek Featherstone | 2013

 

 

Online Training Courses and Webinars (2009-2013)

 

    Creating an Effective Content Strategy for Your Website

    Author/Instructor: Janine Warner

 

    omnigraffle Professional 5 Essential Training

    Author/Instructor: Jason Osder

 

    Human Computer Interaction

    Coursera (Stanford University):

    Author/Instructor: Scott Klemmer

    Certificate earned, Score: 91.9%

 

    Webinar: Surprising A/B test results in website usability

    Loop11/Unbounce

 

    Basecamp Pro

    37signals

 

    Web Site Strategy and Planning

    Author/Instructor: Jen Kramer

 

    Web Site Planning and Wireframing: Hands-On Training

    Author/Instructor: Laurie Burruss

 

 

Photoshop CS3 Seminar

Adobe/Kelby Training | 2008

 

 

Beyond Usability

Adaptive Path | 2005

 

 

Complete ASP.Net

Intertech | 2004

 

 

Advanced Macromedia Flash

Allen Interactions | 2000

 

 

Photoshop Seminar

Adobe | 1997

 

 

Computer Graphic Design

School of Communication Arts | Diploma | 1994

 

 

Art History and History

University of Minnesota | Bachelor of Arts | 1992

 

Things I've Learned

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We could, all of us, still stand to learn a thing or two.

Sometimes we are better known, better valued and better remembered by our working relationships than our actual work. Projects come and go, and what really persists is often how those projects passed by. Were they characterized by smooth sailing and success or fraught with all manner of drama and peril? It's not the deals, deadlines, and deliverables. It's what, and more importantly how things were done.

 

I've had the privilege to work with some seriously talented people. People whom I would and do recommend. Earning and retaining the trust and confidence of clients and colleagues is vital to anyone in a design profession.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nerdery

Senior User Experience Designer (Nov 2013 – Present)

 

 

Matt Jonas, Developer III at The Nerdery

Worked directly with Christopher at The Nerdery

 

“Christopher is an extremely articulate and thorough designer. He works hard to understand not only the relevant domain knowledge, but the users of the systems he designs. Moreover, he is a team player and takes suggestions very seriously. He is an excellent asset in any team."

 

August 22, 2014

 

 

 

Capella University 

UX Analyst / Interaction Designer (Mar 2012 – Jan 2013)

 

 

Disability Services Department, Capella University

Awarded Christopher the 2012 Disability Services Access Ally Award

 

“Christopher has gone above and beyond with his time and creativity to create the Learning Options Assessment in collaboration with Disability Services and the Learning Assistance Center.

 

His professionalism and personal experience was a wonderful addition in the creation of a tool that will benefit not only Disability Services Learners, but Capella learners as a whole.

 

Congratulations, Christopher! Thank you for everything you've done this year!”

 

December 31, 2012

 

 

Logan Johnson, Sr. Project Manager and Team Lead, Capella Univ.

Worked directly with Christopher at Capella University

 

“Christopher is thorough, creative, forward-thinking, congenial, and effective as a user experience analyst. I can easily trust Christopher to take leadership on significant portions of my projects and achieve great results.”

 

December 13, 2012

 

 

Steve Scofield, Mgr. of Online User Experience (OPUX), Capella Univ.

Managed Christopher at Capella University

 

“Christopher has worked on my team (the Online User Experience team) as a user experience analyst (UXA) for the past year. There are five other UXAs on the team, and the UX discipline is well established at Capella University. In other words; in my 15+ years in the UX space, I know how to spot someone who knows UX vs. someone who talks as if they know it. Christopher knows his stuff.

 

As a consultant on my team, Christopher has worked on a variety of projects, both large and small. In some cases he has enhanced an existing system based on achieving certain business goals; in others, he has created an intuitive system from scratch based on complex business requirements. In his role he is the point person for UX, meaning he interacts with clients on a regular basis. He whiteboards potential solutions, creates process flows, sitemaps, wireframes, and turns those into clickable prototypes. We also have a usability lab at Capella, where Christopher performs 1:1 usability evaluations on a regular basis to gather user feedback.

 

Christopher has consistently performed above what I consider "acceptable" standards - he goes above and beyond what I expect of him and I've heard many compliments from project stakeholders about his work. He will be a valuable part of any UX team, and he has my enthusiastic recommendation.”

 

December 7, 2012

 

 

 

AllRegs 

Senior Designer / Interface specialist (Feb 2007 – Dec 2011)

 

 

Krista Sabol, Vice President, Marketing and Communications, AllRegs

Managed Christopher at AllRegs

 

“Christopher is consistently pleasant, dedicated to excellence and eager to take on a challenge. During his tenure with AllRegs, Christopher’s creative style and graphic design skills culminated into countless web sites, web pages, banner ads, HTML emails, flyers, brochures and other print and online collateral for more than 20 different product lines. He was also responsible for maintaining multiple websites and user interfaces.

 

In addition to his many responsibilities, Christopher created our annual product catalog, as well as our identity collateral. Further, he designed visual prototypes for online products and interfaces and created supporting assets. In addition to working on internal project deployments, he worked with external vendors and partners to deploy both print and online advertising collateral.

 

Christopher excels at multi-tasking and switching gears as necessary to meet the needs of the business. He has a unique blend of creative and technical skills that have served him well. He can work independently and is willing to work on any project that is assigned to him. I highly recommend Christopher for employment.”

 

January 10, 2012

 

 

Michelle Littlefield, Marketing and Communications Specialist, AllRegs

Worked directly with Christopher at AllRegs

 

“I had the pleasure of working alongside Christopher in the AllRegs Marketing Department from 2009 to 2011. Christopher is an exemplary team-player, who can always be counted on to help get the job done. Often times, Christopher was my go-to person to assist with complicated code and design questions. He was always able to offer a helping hand or a solution. Be it marketing design, content management or code, I consider Christopher an expert in his field. Christopher is professional, thorough, dedicated and a wonderful asset to any marketing team.”

 

December 30, 2011

 

 

Dan Thoms, Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer, AllRegs

Managed Christopher at AllRegs

 

“Christopher worked for our company for many years. He has been a senior design and interface specialist. He did a great job in this role.

 

Over the past years Christopher has been responsible for the development of graphics on various corporate websites, created our company catalog, developed print advertisements, banner ads, and various other marketing and advertising graphic pieces. All of these advertising pieces have been done well and used exceptional graphic development skills.

 

Christopher is a pleasant person to work with and has been diligent in his efforts. He often worked long days and hours to complete projects. Christopher would be a welcome addition to any company graphics team.”

 

December 30, 2011

 

 

Barbara Willard, Senior Designer/Interface Specialist, AllRegs

Worked directly with Christopher at AllRegs

 

“Christopher is a joy to work with and a professional on every level. He has a wonderful blend of creative and technical skills and is always ready to produce innovative and effective designs with tight deadlines. He constantly masters his design and software skills and it shows in his work. Christopher has strong web and coding knowledge and many times he brought our team up to speed with current technology trends and resolutions.”

 

December 19, 2011

 

 

Glenn Ford, Owner, AllRegs

Managed Christopher indirectly at AllRegs

 

“Creative, methodical, positive, flexible, thorough, efficient, and reliable are just a few words I would use to describe Christopher Stephan and his work. He came to me through an enthusiastic recommendation and now after eight years I have the privilege of providing the same.”

 

December 15, 2011

 

 

 

AllRegs

User Interface Designer (Dec 2003 – Feb 2007)

 

Doug Smalley, Sr. Consultant & VP, Eleven Twenty Consulting

Managed Christopher at AllRegs

 

“I worked with Christopher for several years in various capacities. We collaborated on the design and development of several web sites ranging from "commercial signage" sites to complex SAAS applications.

 

He is an extremely intelligent and hard working and creative professional and is a strong advocate for the end user. He plays well with others including QA pros, the most curmudgeonly of developers, and even sales and marketing folks.

 

He is a terrific communicator and is highly professional interpersonally. I'd welcome the opportunity to work with him again!”

 

January 20, 2012

 

 

 

iPares / Dillon New Media / Dx Studio (1998-2001)

 

Shannon Kressin, Freelance Graphic Designer

Worked indirectly for Christopher at iPares / Dillon New Media

 

“I miss the days I shared an office with Christopher. He's a great source of knowledge and skill in the digital world, and a joy to team up with. He's a loyal friend and colleague, one that I'd jump for the opportunity to work with again. The combination of his intellect, technical abilities, and big heart are a must-have on any project.”

 

December 29, 2011

 

 

Jackie Menne, Founder / Director of Empathy, Joule

Managed Christopher at Dillon New Media / Dx Studio

 

“Christopher always understood the importance of “why” in form as well as function. His designs were strategic, his execution creative. A wonderful blend of objective passion that clients loved. Good was never an option — better always became best no matter the deadline. It was truly my pleasure working with Christopher at Dx, later iPares.”

 

December 22, 2011

 

 

Chris Barrington Davis, Project Manager, Brain Traffic

Worked with Christopher at Dillon New Media / Dx Studio

 

“Christopher possesses a blend of visual and technical skills that ensures his work meets both the client’s and the developer’s standards. His diligence and thoughtful demeanor make him a pleasure to work with.”

 

December 20, 2011

 

 

Mark Tensen, Creative Director, DKS Systems

Worked directly with Christopher at iPares / Dillon New Media / Dx Studio

 

“Christopher is a true student of his craft. A quiet thinker, he is always working to ensure that neither usability or design causes the other to suffer. Always learning and evolving to be on the leading edge, but ensuring client work follows best practices.”

 

December 19, 2011

 

 

Ben Johnson, Software Architect, Merrill Corporation

Worked with Christopher at iPares

 

“Christopher is a top-flight graphic and UX designer, with an unwavering eye to detail. He focuses on each media type for its strengths, while also accommodating its weaknesses and constraints, putting a round peg in a round hole, so to speak. As a programmer tasked with implementing his website designs, I appreciated how they came pre-fit for HTML and web patterns, not trying to force a pretty photoshop picture into the wrong form factor.

 

Anyone looking to differentiate their product with refined design and user experience should not pass on the chance to add Christopher to their team.”

 

December 17, 2011

 

 

Lon Bencini, Chief Marketing Officer, MinuteBids, Inc.

Managed Christopher at iPares

 

“Christopher and I worked together at iPares and for several years after I left there. His understanding of how to translate marketing direction into break through design was much appreciated by our national client base. I have engaged Christopher many times through the years for his insights, his online knowledge base, his attention to detail, and his ability to merge new and existing technologies with exciting design work. His work has always been greatly appreciated by my clients and business partners. I will continue to utilize his abilities moving forward and highly recommend him.”

 

December 15, 2011

 

 

Phil Hoeschen, Interactive Art Director, Risdall Marketing Group

Worked directly with Christopher at iPares / Dillon New Media / Dx Studio

 

“The definition of ‘Attention to Detail’ should have Christopher as a reference to the meaning. From his design philosophy to the execution of the final product, Christopher will have every angle, feature, every aspect of the task at hand covered. With focus and purpose, Christopher works efficiently with others to create what they are committed to producing.”

 

December 15, 2011

 

John Sanborn, Sr. Applications Developer, Met. Council (Twin Cities)

Worked directly with Christopher at iPares

 

“Christopher is a talented professional and pleasure to work with at iPares.” 

 

December 14, 2011

 

 

Tim Dillon, SVP - Account Supervisor, Risdall Marketing Group

Hired Christopher as a Graphic/Web Designer at Dx Studio in 1998

 

“I was fortunate to have Christopher work with our team on print and web design and production projects at DX Studios, Dillon New Media and iPares over a 3 or 4 year period. Christopher always had genuine interest in our clients work which was much appreciated. He was always punctual dedicated and fun to work with. It's my pleasure to recommend Christopher as a potential team member.”

 

Top qualities: Personable, On Time, High Integrity

 

December 14, 2011

Recommendations

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I do enjoy having someone's opinion in black and white.

Linked In does an excellent job of making giving an receiving positive feedback fun, engaging, and above all, easy. This allows professionals to do that thing so few of us go out of our way to do, provide positive feedback.

 

You can find all of mine including full endorsement details on my profile. However, here is a top-level summary:

Most Endorsed Skills

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User Experience

User Interface Design

Information Architecture

Interaction Design

Usability

Web Design

User-centered design

 

User Research

Usability Testing

Wireframes

Accessibility

HTML

Team Leadership

CMS

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Last updated 2/14/2015

It's uncomfortable when they sign your head though.

At The Nerdery we sometimes give our fellow team members very public thanks when they go above and beyond. I've had a few of them. And I thought that sharing the ones I have received here might speak to how I serve my teammates and clients both.

"What an amazing group of guys. I feel like a newb in the presence of you all! You guys made [ClientName] a success and for that I'm eternally grateful. Hats off to all of you!"

"[ClientName] TEAM - You guys are so damned awesome! Daily, you leave me dumbfounded and impressed with how freakin' smart you all are and gratefully leave me constantly feeling like the dumbest guy in the room - which is absolutely a good thing! Thank you so much for doing such an amazing job on the [ClientName] project, specifically putting in the long hours and dedication to wrap up System Sizing, Cycle 1 QA, Gearboxes, planning for Cycle 2 and the elegant graphing application! As I leave you now for a while, I know that I am leaving this project in the best development and UX hands I could hope for. You are a supremely professional, jaw-droppingly creative, and ingenious world class team. Thank you all and I look forward to working with you again soon!"

"Thank you Christopher, Jonathan, and Paul for your amazing work on the [ClientName] pitch! You guys rock and looking forward to working with you more on this opportunity.

 

Best, Jake"

"A long overdue shout to Team [ClientName]. The algebra on this one has been tricky at times, and this team has handled it with style and grace. Christopher and Claire have repeatedly demonstrated the value of our UX process, and have been patient and consultative throughout. They both have really stepped up to fill in the gaps and come to the aid of our agency partner when they have struggled. Tara is an expert communicator and is balancing the interests of more than 4 parties at times. She also brings humor and gusto with her to every meeting. Rick: I appreciate your looking out for our long-term needs, and your collaboration & mentorship on a reverse staff augmentation! Keep it up, and thank you!!"

"This week, [ClientName] began their foray into content insertion for their new website. There was much trepidation and worry last week: How complicated will it be? As we load content, will the content owners find missing elements that were expected to be there? Will the bosswoman like it? I'm happy to report that I just got off the phone with Chelsea and she says that there is a general air of CRAZY ELATION around the office. She couldn't contain it! There's an energy and buzz of excitement. People are dragging others over to their computer to show them the great new feature they just found. My favorite quote from Chelsea was that there have literally been SQUEALS OF GLEE about the new website. Once again, Team, a fantastic job! I LOVE when clients are so happy that they call me up to tell me about it. Serious kudos to all!"

"Thanks for your continued involvement and commitment through the development process!"

"To my fellow Dots: A huge shout out to all of you for being the most passionate, intelligent, and supportive team that I have ever had the pleasure to work with. From answering questions about how to best complete a task in Omnigraffle or Axure to providing insightful knowledge and feedback that will benefit me throughout my career, I can't express enough how much I appreciate all of you guys and our interesting (and sometimes bizarre) conversations. Thank you."

"All y'all pulled together to get us an estimate for [ClientName]. This was a beast but we all kept moving toward something that I have a good feeling the client will like. It's just the beginning, but great work getting us to this point."

"I want to give a shout out to all the developers and designers that really went above and beyond on the [ClientName] Trade Show App estimate. With a large feature list and a few changes in budget, we had several back and forth conversations on resourcing, prioritization, and feasibility. I've learned so much through out this process and with everyone's volunteered availability, it made for a 100% positive experience. "

"Thank you for all your guidance in creating the usability test plan for [ClientName] and for taking time out of your busy week to meet with me!! I appreciate it so much, and I learned an incredible amount from working with you."

"Shout out to my [ClientName] homies for being so unbelievably awesome!"

"Thank you for first offering your bowtie and then being a co-president and stepping in to help me with my photo project! You are superb! "

"The whole team has been very helpful to the apprentices, but you have gone out of your way to mentor Claire in a very active way. Thank you so very much!"

"Thanks so much to the [ClientName] team of Andrew G., Christopher S., and Jonathan D. You guys cease to amaze me in every client call, piece of documentation, flow, inventory, spread sheet management, resourcing, support, humor and the list goes on. You guys are awesome! Thanks for all your hard work!"

"Awesome presentation to [ClientName] in a WICKED HOT conference room for TWO hours! We managed to turn a really frustrating project into a perfectly happy gaggle of clients !! Great work Dots !!!"

"Just wanted to thank you again for your great work with [ClientName] - we wouldn't be where we are without you!"

"Guys - thank you so much for pulling together and getting us prepped for the feature review call with St. Jude's. This hasn't been an easy one to wrangle and now we're in a better place because of you guys! "

Hear ye, hear ye! Or something of that nature.

Mentorship

Authorship

It is the responsibility of the experienced to support understanding, share knowledge, and accelerate the development of new talent.

If you have an insight, an approach, a way to help others stop wasting time and effort or to introduce clarity into the murk - you should write it down.

Speaking

Sometimes I'm asked to speak. Sometimes they also have to tell me to shut up.

 

I get a bit carried away sometimes.

It is the responsibility of the experienced to support understanding, share knowledge, and accelerate the development of new talent.

If you have an insight, an approach, a way to help others stop wasting time and effort or to introduce clarity into the murk - you should write it down.

Sometimes I'm asked to speak. Sometimes they also have to tell me to shut up.

 

I get a bit carried away sometimes.

What I Can Do

How I Do It

The Artifacts

Techniques, methodologies, skills, tools, and all of the tricks one accumulates to get results.

 

There may eventually be an app for that.

Some specific examples of what my work has produced. Tools that have had a life and purpose beyond the project or problem in which they were originally forged.

Well one could do anything...

But more specifically, here are some things I've done before that I could do again. Perhaps when I do them again it can be for you.

Techniques, methodologies, skills, tools, and all of the tricks one accumulates to get results.

 

There may even be an app for that.

Some specific examples of what my work has produced. Tools that have had a life and purpose beyond the project or problem in which they were originally forged.

Well one could do anything...

But more specifically, here are some things I've done before that I could do again. Perhaps when I do them again it can be for you.

Documentation

Prototypes

Visual Work

Design thoughts and solutions need expression. To be externalized so that they may be evaluated, judged, and above all...so they can be tested.

On occasion I do visual work. It's not my focus.

 

I'm better suited to evaluating how well visual treatments align with strategy. That said, here are some pictures.

How I record and share what I've learned so that I, and others, can refer back to it after we've become distracted by new technologies and the compulsory cat-gifs.

Solutions need expression. To be externalized so that they may be evaluated, judged, and above all...so they can be tested.

On occasion I do visual work. It's not my focus and I'm better suited to evaluating how well visual treatments join with strategy. That said, here are some pictures.

How I record and share what I've learned so that myself and others can refer back to it after we've become distracted by new technologies and cat gifs.

Approach

Experience

Training

What I have to show for 20 years of work in design. The who, the where and the for how long.

 

It's details time.

If you've stopped learning, you may be dead. Also sometimes it can be important and helpful to learn from experts and specialists. Or so I'm told by experts and specialists.

How do I start? What's important? Is there a structure and cascade to what I do? Can there be a rationale and method to my madness?

What I have to show for 20 years of work in design. The who, the where and the for how long.

 

It's details time.

If you've stopped learning, you may be dead. Also sometimes it can be important and helpful to learn from experts and specialists. Or so I'm told by experts and specialists.

How do I start? What's important?

Is there a structure and cascade to what I do? Can there be a rationale and method to my madness?

Recommendations

Endorsements

Shout Outs

Although less verbose than a recommendation, an endorsement is a stamp of approval to me. It says "I have seen you do this, and do it well".

Sometimes general, sometimes specific, a shout out is recognition, gratitude and props for a job well done or help in a tight corner.

It's a great honor to gain the confidence and trust of peers, colleagues and customers.

 

Even better when they write it down.

Although less verbose than a recommendation, an endorsement is a stamp of approval to me. It says "I have seen you do this, and do it well".

Sometimes general, sometimes specific, a shout out is recognition, gratitude and props for a job well done or help in a tight corner.

It's a great honor to gain the confidence and trust of peers, colleagues and customers.

 

Even better when they write it down.

CHRISTOPHER STEPHAN 

To me, UX isn't just a buzzword or an alternate approach to design thought.

 

It's how we introduce strategy, validation, and science to the design process.

 

It's how we bridge gaps between human and technological processes to solve problems.

 

It's how we find direction, alignment, relevance, and the path to success.

 

Humans are where our work begins and ends. What more do you need to justify being user centric?

 

 

 

Still interested? Choose a category below.

Measuring The Uncarved Block... Read your Tao of Pooh

Is leadership about setting an example or putting on a big show? Is it about fiat and setting unquestionable direction?

 

Or, does leadership invite and empower new exploration? Serving and supporting talent, and its growth. Lighting new fires with passion, vision, and the hunger to improve?

Capability is an optimistic word. It bespeaks potential, and accomplishments teetering on the brink of manifestation.

 

True capability rests on predictable surety, and a history of results - not just the promise of success.

Eventually the talk has to stop and you want to see something. Not the same old thing. A new strange wonderful thing.

 

Then, you generally want to be reassured that this thing makes sense to a sane person.

In order to properly visualize a trajectory, it's as important to know not only where someone is headed, but where they've been.

 

This may give you an idea where I'm coming from... and why I've set my course in this direction.

It would be a bit presumptuous to expect you to accept all of this based on my self-serving say-so. Confidence is fine. A reference is better.

 

Here is some of the feedback I've received. I hope you find it useful and relevatory.

Home

Leadership

Capabilities

Evidence

History

Feedback

(c) 2015, Christopher Stephan  |

Even facial tissue has a user interface... Presuming the manufacturer doesn't blow it.

The unexamined application should not be launched. Nor the unexamined professional, engaged.

 

This website has been brought to you by the delicious taste of homemade pie.

Investigate, Articulate, Evaluate... Iterate. This is the burning core of a healthy and balanced UX process.

I refuse to make any logo that burns, flashes or spins. OSHA would not approve.

Design, used properly, is a reality-altering practice.

Pushing pixels is fine work if you can get it.

Firmitas, utilitas, venustas. Vitruvius may be the grandfather of UX.

Always respect your client enough to tell them when they're making a mistake.

I speak sesquipedalian, and several other really big words.

I'm not here to hand you answers. I'm here to ask the right questions.

If required, I shall poke you right in your mind's eye.

MAKE CONTACT

Planning Successful Projects

Project planning is a discipline unto itself. However this does not exempt project leads from planning their efforts and that of their teams. Successful design engagements do not plan themselves. Often what you choose to do is as important as how well you do it.

 

The project itself is a strategic deliverable. Efforts need to be tailored to all of the client's requirements. Not just the timeline and budget, but the problem that we propose to solve as the result of our efforts.

 

• Choosing the methods and progression

• Planning timelines, effort and deliverables

• Distributing work across the project team

• Compensating for dependencies and conflicts

• Making room to flex gracefully in tight corners

Research Designed to be Relevatory

Research sounds straightforward enough. Just the facts, right? Just ask the right questions and get the right answers, because the right questions are always the same. Except for the fact that they aren't.

 

Research is as much about the cascade of finding out what we need to know as it is about pursuing the rigor to arrive at relevant and actionable findings. 

 

• Understand the organization and project

• Comprehend the context and ecosystem

• Engage the stakeholders and their goals

• Uncover user needs and expectations

• Find nd communicate where all things align

Communicating Findings Effectively

When you've dug deep and you're ready to share the insights you've unearthed it can be really tempting to engage a cookie-cutter approach to how you deliver the news.

 

Here's the thing. Stakeholders, projects and their budgets are not all alike. Your approach to documentation shouldn't be either. Attenuate your documentation. Go lean or rich depending on how you and your clients plan t use he information.

 

You did have a plan regarding how you'd use the information, right?

 

• Know your stakeholder audience

• Consider the timing of when to share

• Don't be afraid to collaborate with clients

• Go lean for lean budgets

• Ask who else findings will be shared with

Planning Testing Efforts to Yield Actionable Information

We don't tend to test frivolously. By which I mean that it's difficult enough to get testing into your project to begin with. Then going on to waste that opportunity by executing a poor test or providing poor analysis... That would make one an actively contributing part of the problem.

 

So you don't test just to say you did. You don't test vaguely and then try to work out what the results could mean. You form hypotheses in the form of design choices and articulations. You test to see if what you've done works or not.

 

You design toward clear goals and test for clear results. You gain information that you and your stakeholders can use to make decisions.

 

• Define goals and expectations up front

• Design to fulfill them

• Test them to make sure you did

Communicating Test Results Clearly and Concisely

When the tests have been run and your analysis is complete it'll be time to share the information you've gained.

 

Here you have options. High-polish formal documents that can move around your client's C-suite, or lean docs designed to review, act and move.

 

Your choice should be informed by your knowledge of the client and how you've planned and executed the project so far.

 

• Keep your audience in mind. All of it.

• Make sure that findings are meaningful

• Advise with the goals in mind

• Include your client in addressing problems

• Collaborate on how you'll proceed

Modeling Data at the Atomic Level

If you want to accelerate a complex solution, the best thing you can do is to take it to pieces. Atomic data modeling can help stakeholders and developers participate meaningfully in feature-scoping discussions. It also allows developers to begin work in parallel with designers as they work out visualization.

 

I've developed the Data/Interaction Exploded Model (DIEM) as a bridge that speaks meaningfully to the C-suite as well as systems architects and lead developers.

 

• Object Oriented concepts applied

• Visual for stakeholders tabular for developers

• Reveals relationships and connections

•  Aids transparency and collaboration

• Provides recipes for IxD and visualization

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Diagramming is a Communications Superpower

Words can be trouble. They have connotations, associations, and aren't always chosen well. So when what we mean isn't being received audibly, it's time to take the game to the retinas.

 

A well placed diagram can break a stall, restart dialog, and inform pages of business or functional requirements. Graffle, Visio, Napkin; the format and delivery methods are less relevant than the timing, content, and the effect.

 

• Unpack complex concepts

• Broaden understanding

• Embarrass yourself with stick-figures

• Fuel moments of breathtaking insight

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Wireframes communicate form and structure

Wireframes (or some form of compositional/functional prototype is a mainstay of UX design work. This is because a wireframe is a bridging tool. It unites the understanding of the designer, the stakeholder and the developer. It allows them to meaningfully discuss their intentions and options.

 

I made my first wireframes in Adobe Illustrator back in the 90s. Since then, I've built them in Visio, Omnigraffle, and even PowerPoint.

 

Recently InVision has made it possible to breathe new life and collaboration into basic wireframes. Which makes them a bit less static.

 

• Articulate layout and information structure

• Depict content strategy at the page level

• Set patterns and show how they extend

• Help the team understand the work

• Annotate behavior and technical details

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Home

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Interactive prototypes show how you plan to make the pixels dance

Sometimes annotations fall short. Sometimes you aren't going to be able to present in person. Sometimes...you're going to want something you can test in fine detail.

 

Rapid prototyping technologies have only become more powerful over time. Tools like Protoshare and Axure making high functional fidelity as accessible as high visual fidelity.

 

In fact, this website was built in Axure.

 

• Enable complex task sequences

• Simulate rich interactions

• Show how it works instead of describing it

• Provide a robust platform for usability testing

• Annotations now enlighten the how, not what

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When Your Pictionary Skills Actually Count

In the wide open landscape of wild ideas and fuzzy goals the first hits of geography are often revealed on paper, or napkins, or on a giant set of whiteboards.

 

Discuss, record, reflect and iterate on concepts and approaches in real time. If you have the right people involved, you have a high-efficiency machine for making focused and meaningful progress.

 

• Get it out of heads and onto surfaces

• Out in the open and up for discussion

• It's easy to change, so edit liberally

• Come to consensus or record contention

• Capture it for future reference... Like so >

Visualizing Data for Faster Cognitive Absorption

Sometimes data is dense, treacherous, and you can lose the plot while you inadvertently catch up on your sleep.

 

When that happens, finding new ways to break it down in ways that open door and switch on lights is called for. Often that means making it visual. Until we can me smell-base diagrams it will have to do.

 

• Dissect and visualize the subject matter

• Show connections, affinities and patterns

• Reveal unexpected complexity

• Uncover surprising simplicity

• It doesn't have to be pretty, just true

Visualizing Complex Processes to Communicate Clearly

Basic process flows can be fairly dry. So when one feels the need to rekindle something that resembles empathy, a literal approach to the nouns and some of the more directional verbs can be rather useful.

 

And it helps even more if you can scribble out the mess yourself without reliance on a highly specific library of clip-art.

 

• Humanize processes and tasks

• Make process into a relatable journey

• Do the showing, and the telling

1 of 6

Logo for local

Taiko group

2 of 6

Mark (and identity system)

for Geek Partnership Society

3 of 6

Logo for GPS

sponsored Space Camp

4 of 6

Mark and identity system

for Godfrey Temple's

Eldritch Emporium

5 of 6

Mark used to promote

my freelance UX practice

6 of 6

Art for shirts and marketing

collateral for Chikuzen Studios

Logos, Marks, and Brands - oh my

I don't specialize in marks and identity systems, however that hasn't prevented me from delivering some thorough solutions and gaining a good deal of experience.

 

Recently I do most of my identity work as a donation of time and talent to organizations I support, helping them to communicate better and get their messages out.

 

Some I do for myself. Either for amusement or to promote myself or my services.

 

• Clean distinctive marks and identity systems

• Accompanied by comprehensive style guides

• Related marks sharing colors and elements

• Created to be flexible, scalable, and useful

• Conveying the character of the concern

1 of 7

Taiko

T-shirt

2 of 7

Steampunk/Cthulhu crossover comics

3 of 7

Taiko student recital t-shirt

4 of 7

Promoting usability testing

around the office via propoganda

5 of 7

Illustration + Photomanipulation

6 of 7

Robin Hood

for Shirt Woot derby

7 of 7

Steampunk

T-shirt design

Recreational Projects, Illustration and Miscellany

While none of what you you're about to see is work for hire, it does showcase my illustration and art abilities. Also, it's a fair sample of what I get up to when doing art for myself, driven by my own interests.

 

Don't panic. I don't generally focus on illustration or visual design. You're unlikely to have me stick gears all over everything.

 

• Skills with freehand and digital composition

• Driven by admittedly geeky interests

• Using my skills to support the community

The essential components of a balanced UX process

I have some very definite ideas about what a complete and balanced process looks like.

 

We begin with brass tacks. We need to know what the problem is, what the goals are, whose goals we're supporting and why. For this, we investigate.

 

When we feel we know what we're trying to achieve we start designing. We build up a picture of the future state. We articulate our solution.

 

That picture completed, we then need to check it against our stated goals, or design intent, and the audiences and or participants whose needs we are trying to meet. We need to evaluate what we've produced.

 

Along the way, we gain empathy for those we serve, build a vision of how we will serve them, and gather data on just how successful our efforts have been. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Past Clients and Industry Context

One tends to get about over a couple of decades. Working for various clients in various industries, has deepened and broadened my base of experience.

 

For the curious and concerned I have provided a categorized, but inexhaustive, list.

 

If you find it boring you've only yourself to blame for opening this view in the first place.

Arts Organizations

Minnesota Orchestra

Mu Daiko (Mu Performing Arts)

The Poetry Foundation

 

Consumer Goods

Bathwise.com

General Mills

Jostens

Target

 

Education

Benchmark Learning

Capella University

 

Government and Public Sector

City of Minneapolis / TMO

 

Financial, Mortgage and Real Estate

AllRegs

Dexma

International Market Square

National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB)

Piper Jaffray

The Mortgage Press

St. Paul Companies

U.S. Bank

 

Entertainment

Gramercy Pictures

Sony/Tristar

 

Human Resources

Schwarz Williams Companies

Interest Groups and Social Organizations

Geek Partnership Society (GPS)

Homeschool Adventures (HSA)

Lions Club (Oakdale/Maplewood)

 

Medical/Healthcare/Pharmaceutical

Allina Health System

American Medical Systems (AMS)

Antares Pharma/Medi-ject

Baptist Health Systems

Definity Health

Home Instead Senior Care

Mayo Clinic

Medica health Plans

Medtronic

RxHub

St. Jude Medical

 

Media and Publishing

Minneapolis StarTribune

 

Technology

Help Systems

Intelex

Lawson Software

Midwest Systems

Motorola

Navitas / EZWatt.com

Pure Storage

Rockwell Automation

Techware Distribution

Trimin Systems

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