My expertise is in conducting and managing qualitative customer research (however, I’m also aggressively mixed methods!). I translate discoveries into plans for new and better products, and have spent considerable time creating UXR practices and cultures at growing organizations.
Qualitative user research, product strategy, user experience design, and team leadership; highly skilled in applying deep understanding of user needs towards the creation of innovative and satisfying solutions for customers.
- Methods include: exploratory field studies, surveys, remote studies, longitudinal studies, and interviews (remote and on-site).
Experienced in applying research and design tools and processes to create customer experiences that go beyond product use (e.g., experiences such as collaboration, learning, purchasing, and getting assistance and support).
Strong with regards to writing, mentoring, and designing research processes that successfully communicate insights to engineers, designers, and other stakeholders.
- Extensive domain expertise in developer tools, consumer-facing web applications (downloads and purchasing), and new user onboarding.
- Persona development, defining who our users are, how to capture their attention, and where to send them to succeed.
- New product strategy, definition, and design based on customer needs and balanced by product vision (e.g. not building exactly what a customer asks for).
- End-to-end experience design (e.g. designing customer experiences outside of product use, including sales and marketing projects).
- Brand research, usability testing (web and mobile, in-person and remote), prototyping, recruiting participants.
- Sitemaps and user flows for UI designers (e.g. where things live, how users get there).
- Storyboards and wireframes, page schematics that help visual designers and engineers build beautiful things.
User Experience Research Manager, GitHub, SF, March 2013 – March 2016
As GitHub’s first UX Researcher, I successfully built a UX research practice from the ground up, integrating research into the company’s culture, development process, and design principles.
- Conducted more than 40 studies within three years.
- Interviewed 300+ users accompanied by 80+ engineering colleagues.
- Developed personas and sales typologies across multiple product lines.
- Fundamentally changed our product development process.
I approach UXR studies with a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to look at what is happening and get a clearer understanding of why.
Quantitative research – Observe human behavior by analyzing data, including: site activity, surveys, and controlled experiments with variance testing.
Qualitative research – Observe human behavior through evaluative and exploratory activities, including: interviews, diary studies, think alouds, open-text survey answers, and “show & tells” (e.g. drawing).
Exploratory studies – Uncover and understand what’s happening with people and why; usually multi-approach studies.
Evaluative studies – Assess how close we are to solving a problem with a prototype or near-complete product.
- Pre-release programs, which get features out to selected user-types for feedback.
- Usability testing, observing people interact with new and existing features.
Causal studies – Discover why something is happening by investigating analytics (e.g. decrease in sign-ups, activity, or revenue) and conducting variance testing and analysis.
Survey studies – Surface demographics, business insights, and product feedback. We also use surveys as a tool to screen and recruit for qualitative follow-up.
- Market research
IA/UX Lead, Mozilla Firefox, SF, 2010 - 2012
- Led responsive redesigns for mozilla.org, mozilla.org/firefox, blog.mozilla.org (85+ languages).
- Deployed universal assets and templates (Tabzilla and Sandstone) for teams across the organization to use to launch websites.
- Organized and launched new product sites (“B2G” Firefox OS, Collusion, and Persona).
- Studied and optimized for downloads, upgrades, and daily use (20 million+ per month).
- Created storyboards, mockups, and prototypes for UI designers.
- Developed the strategy and product roadmap for Mozilla.org and campaign sites.
- Managed the rollout of features and content for the Mozilla and Firefox sites.
- Partnered with metrics team and measured the impact, success, and failures of programs.
Freelance UX Design Researcher, Brooklyn -> SF, 2008 - 2012
- Content strategy and execution for winback campaigns.
- Designed edmodocon.com (largest online education conference attended 10k+ educators).
- Designed email onboarding programs for four core users groups (teachers, app publishers, schools, districts).
- Redesigned all outbound email communications and mobile acquisition flow, increasing conversion by 70%.
- Redesigned mobile and desktop onboarding experiences, including the home page, which increased conversion by 400%.
- Designed landing pages for mobile conversion and a 7-day email onboarding program and engagement strategy.
- Redesigned onboarding experience (in-app new customer experience, 31-day email engagement program).
- Redesigned lead generation and landing experience at zendesk.com/pricing, improving from 1.9% to 3.8%.
- Prototyped “Learning Zendesk,” a revised knowledge-base for customer, marketing, and product.
- Designed initial editorial style guide for product marketing, online marketing, customer advocate, and product teams.
- Designed lead generation flows (landing pages to drop campaign emails).
- Designed 2U.com, teachercertificationmap.com, and teachingjobsportal.com marketing websites.
- IA/UX for mat@usc and msw@usc experiences.
- Implemented community strategy for Huffington Post that scaled to over 100k posts per day in 2008.
- Designed social profiles and commenting.
- Redesigned The Daily Brief (daily newsletter) and Alerts.
- IA and implementation for community commenting for nymag.com in 2007.
- IA for nymag.com/entertainment, The Agenda (entertainment calendar of events), & Vulture blog (now, vulture.com).
Sr. Product Designer, PlumTV, New York, 2008 – 2009
Responsible for Plum’s overall content strategy and operations, including:
- Technical development and business operations of Plum’s local web destination sites.
- Business operations of Plumtv.com as an arts, culture and affluent lifestyle video destination
- Syndication of Plum content across platforms
Product Designer, washingtonian.com, Washington, DC. 2006 - 2007
- Architected the development and implementation of an open source CMS and website redesign (also subsequently used by U.S. News & World Report, and other media companies on tight budgets.
- Launched four new blogs: Best Bites, Open House, Capital Comments, Where & When.
Education & interesting things
George Mason University, Fairfax, VA:
- BA, English
- MA, History & New Media
- Ph.D. program, dissertation complete “The Airborne Heroine: A Women’s Labor Movement in the 20th Century” (ABD)
2001– 2002 I was the “Outreach & Community Manager” for the September 11 Digital Archive (www.911digitalarchive.org ).
The archive was a challenging start-up project at George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media that used electronic media to collect, preserve, and present the history of September 11, 2001.
The subject of my dissertation focuses on stewardesses (1930s – 70s) in George Mason University – a blended degree with coursework in both computer science and liberal arts curriculum.