Hey there!
My name is Thomas Piggott and I'm a User Experience Designer. I'm seeking roles that allow me to craft incredible user experiences. In the past, I've worked on Windows Phone apps for elementary school classrooms, iPad apps for patients that have difficulty with speech, FDA regulated flow cytometry software for the desktop, and more.
Consulting
As a consultant, I've had the privilege to design for many companies, all with different needs, desires, and business goals. I help businesses understand where to create the most value. It's my job to know which design tools are most appropriate for their project, their time, and their budget.
Design
As a designer, it's my job to understand the user and design the experience they need. I design solutions based on the qualitative and quantitative data gathered through observations and interviews, crucial tools that let me gain real insight into how users work. Most importantly, I bring the skills and passion you need to take your user experience to a place of joy for your users.
Development
With my background in Computer Science, I am well equipped to take conceptual designs from mockups to working prototypes and even polished products, ready for release. I've developed mobile apps, commercial websites, and desktop applications all with a wide array of technologies - whatever works best for the client and the product.
Sound Good?
If I've intrigued you at all, then I invite you to connect with me. I also invite you to take a look at the projects I've worked on in my portfolio to get a better idea of if I might be a fit for your needs.
Instagram
Pictures of life... which means a lot of food.
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Full Portfolio
Take a look at the full list of places I've worked and projects I've worked on.
UX Designer Developer Team Project
Menlo Innovations
Menlo Innovations is a design and development consulting firm. As a High-Tech Anthropologist®, I am our client's user's biggest advocate. We design software through user-centric practices like interviews, observations, personas, scenarios, work flow diagrams, and design assessments with users.
2008 - Present

Role: High-Tech Anthropologist®

Technology: Balsamiq, Photoshop, Illustrator, Eclipse, XCode, Visual Studio, SVN, C#, Objective-C, Java, LAMP, WordPress, xUnit Testing
What is it?
Menlo Innovations is one of the coolest and most unique custom software design and development consulting firms in the world. They're unique because they develop software using agile methodologies and everyone is required to be paired with a partner at all times. This forces everyone to be constantly talking with each other and thus teaching and trading information. They also use test-driven development which helps ensure fewer big problems down the road. They work closely with the clients, requiring them to come see and try the software being developed for them at least once a week.
What do I do?
As a High Tech Anthropologist®, I create the designs that will be implemented by developers. Designs are created through user-centric design processes. All projects start with a discovery phase involving visiting users in their natural environments and observing how they perform their work. We also perform interviews with users and key business stakeholders to make sure we're focused on the areas most important to the client. From there, we create designs and have users test them during design assessments. Given tasks, users will use anything from paper prototypes to working applications as it suits the client's needs. Often we stick with just paper prototypes because of their ease and speed of creation along with the psychological benefit that users feel more comfortable suggesting change.

I first joined Menlo as a Software Development Intern in the summer of 2008. Since then, I've worked for them full-time and part-time, and in different roles such as Quality Assurance which has given me a great perspective into the entire process of designing and developing a product.
Learn more!
Check them out at menloinnovations.com.
UX Designer Developer Education Team Project
myDesk
MyDesk is a project developed for schools to encourage a more constructivist learning environment using mobile phones and deployed to over 350 students at a primary school in Singapore. As the project lead in Singapore, I was the point person between the school and our developers, ran observations and interviews, and developed the apps further.
Winter 2012

Roles: Project Lead, UX Designer, Developer

Technology: Illustrator, Photoshop, Visual Studio, C#, Silverlight, Git

Project Length: 4 Months
What is it?
MyDesk is a Windows Phone app with six mini-apps designed for students to engage in multi-modal learning anytime and anywhere. SketchBook, KWL, MapIt, Recorder, Blurb, and NotePad mini-apps can all be set up with assignments by teachers and turned in by students. Currently in use by 700 3rd and 4th graders at Nan Chiau Primary School in Singapore, the initial results are promising. We've seen a major shift from top down lecturing to a more constructivist learning style with discussion and exploration.
What did I do?
I was in Singapore at our pilot school for 4 months, supporting the application, interviewing administrators, teachers and students, observing classes, and redesigning the platform based on these experiences. I also helped further develop the platform and successfully launched updates to the app with new features and bug fixes.
See it!
The app is currently available in the Windows Marketplace now, though it requires a username and password only available through the pilot schools. You can learn more about it here.
UX Designer Developer Education Team Project
messageBoard
MessageBoard is a forum system developed for Windows Phone 7 to help students and teachers discuss relevant topics in and out of the classroom. It is part of the Cosmos Mobile Learning Platform.
Winter 2012 - Present

Roles: Project Lead, UX Designer, Developer

Technology: Visual Studio, C#, Silverlight, Git, Photoshop, Illustrator

Project Length: 4 Months
What is it?
MessageBoard, a forum system, was designed to be very simple and allow for easy control by administrators. Teachers and administrators are able to setup classroom groups that then have their own set of boards, posts, and comments. Currently in use at Nan Chiau Primary School in Singapore, teachers and students have used to easily communicate with each other when in and out of class. The platform was built with a web-based backend so that eventually, clients for the Android and iOS platforms can be built.
What did I do?
I completely designed and developed the Windows Phone 7 app. My teammate developed the backend web system and the two of us collaborated on the design of the API. I managed the deployment of the app to the school students and performed classroom observations along with analysis of the usage data for further design improvements.
See it!
Available in the Windows Marketplace now, though it requires a username and password available only available to the pilot schools. You can learn more about it the whole Cosmos Mobile Learning Platform here.
UX Designer Education Team Project
Finalist
Elementary STEM Teacher Mastery Badges
As part of a competition at the 2012 Digital Media & Learning Conference, I helped design a badging system to help teachers improve their teaching skills centered around STEM topics.
Winter 2012

Role: UX Designer

Technology: Illustrator, Photoshop

Project Length: 1 Month
What is it?
This is the design of a system intended to provide better training to teachers in both a real world and digital environment. During real-world teacher development classes, teachers would receive instruction and enact the things they learn in the classroom. Then, they would come back at a later date with evidence of their use of new concepts in the classroom and would discuss their experiences with other teachers and instructors. Their evidence and discussion would be added to the online system and the teachers would build up a backpack of badges that represent the things they've learned. Most importantly, they have the real world evidence and discussion to back up the badges that prove the hard work they've put in to earning the badges and learning new skills.
What did I do?
My team and I competed in the Badges for Lifelong Learning: Teacher Mastery competition at the 2012 Digital Media & Learning Conference in San Francisco, CA. As a finalist, my team was paired with a content expert and together we pitched a system to distribute badges to teachers in recognition of their mastery over particular skills. As one of the designers, I helped fit the system to the content that would be taught.
See it!
Here is the poster created for our system here.
Graphic Designer Solo Project
Nam June Paik Life Timeline
As part of my Graphic Design class, we were asked to choose an artist and create a visual timeline of their life and work. I chose Nam June Paik and his exploration of digital technology.
Winter 2012

Role: Graphic Designer

Technology: Illustrator, Photoshop

Project Length: 1 Week
What is it?
As an assignment meant to honor an artist's life and work, I felt the best tribute was to adapt his own style. Nam June Paik was interested in how technology and the internet have shaped us as a people. Much of his work incorporates TVs, robots, and other electronics to express that we are integrating technology into our lives more and more. The design of this poster highlights some of his most famous works. The timeline takes the shape of one of his often used robots and is made up of the same TVs he used in his artwork.
See it!
View the full poster here.
Graphic Designer Solo Project
Digital Signage
As a client project for the University of Michigan's Shapiro Undergraduate Library, students were asked to create a set of digital signs that advertised for library services.
Winter 2012

Role: Graphic Designer

Technology: Illustrator, Photoshop

Project Length: 2 Weeks
What is it?
Meant to advertise services offered to students at the library, the illustrations for each poster are meant to be fun and inviting so that students aren't afraid of asking for help. I felt this was the best direction because asking for help, especially as a new student, can be intimidating. A big challenge in this project was that each poster would be stretched across 4 LCD screens. This meant that part of each advertisement would get cutoff where the 4 monitors joined. So, a plus shaped area of each poster would not be visible on the TV screens. The design I created deals with this by ensuring that the important information appears within the visible bounds. The larger text however sometimes gets cutoff in places. I made sure that anything that gets cutoff was still easily decipherable by testing the design with multiple people. I asked 10 students if they could tell me what each poster said without providing any context.
See it!
View all 12 advertisements here.
Graphic Designer Solo Project
School of Information Website Redesign
Unhappy with the look of their newly released website, the University of Michigan's School of Information came to our Graphic Design class for ideas on how to improve the look and rework the layout.
Winter 2012

Role: Graphic Designer

Technology: Illustrator, Photoshop

Project Length: 1 Week
What is it?
This assignment required we take the old website and leave it mostly intact. However, they wanted the University's colors (Maize and Blue) used instead of what was in use (Red and Blue). They also wanted us to use some of their analytics data to reorder and redesign some of the information layouts. So, with this knowledge, I created a design that is both in tune with the desired University of Michigan School of Information branding and has a better layout for the information. Graphically, the background uses the University colors and relates to the School of Information with a Stream Graph data visualization. The information laid out focuses more directly on getting the heaviest users of the site to the information they need. This meant giving better links to students, such as direct access to courses and timetables along with graduation requirements.
See it!
View the full redesign here.
UX Designer Education Team Project
Athenaeum
As part of my Personal Informatics class, my team developed a prototype for a reading app that would help track how and when you read and offer analytics to increase awareness of reading habits and suggest ways of improving comprehension.
Winter 2012
Role: UX Designer

Technology: Photoshop, Eclipse, Git, HTML5

Project Length: 2 Months
What is it?
Athenaeum is a design for a tablet app with the primary goal of helping users understand and improve their reading habits. The prototype shows a very analytical approach to reading data. The app would collect many different data points such as reading session information (location, time of day, time spent reading) along with an aggregate "comprehension" score derived from factors such as highlights made, notes taken, traversal of the reading, time spent reading, number of reading sessions, and more. This was developed with a team of four, including myself.
What did I do?
In designing this product, multiple stages were necessary. As a team, we evaluated the need for something like this through a survey of our fellow students which I contributed questions to and then helped analyze the data. We each recorded information on our own reading sessions and were able to determine factors we thought conducive to successful reading sessions. Each team member then tested their own drawn prototypes with students in our school, iterated with the group, and did further testing. After determining the best features, one other group member and I developed our final high fidelity prototype using HTML5, CSS3, Javascript, JQuery, and Google Charts.
See it!
View the prototype here.
UX Designer Developer Education Team Project
Gooru
As a User Experience Design Intern with Gooru, I helped develop their online presence, designed new features, and supported staff with internal tools.
2011 - 2012

Roles: UX Designer, Developer

Technology: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Camtasia, Eclipse, SVN

Time at Position: 4 Months
What is it?
Gooru is an educational technology company that's developed a web platform that allows teachers and students to share and learn from the best learning resources. Teachers and students can search for resources, quizzes, or full collections of resources and quizzes all organized around the Common Core State Standards. Teachers are encouraged to create collections to map out their full curriculum with collections as their lessons. Students are encouraged to learn topics through viewing collections and also creating their own.
What did I do?
In the summer of 2011, I interned at Gooru as a User Experience Designer. While there, I had the opportunity to work on many different projects. One of my big projects was designing and developing the organization's website which provided information about Gooru and the company. Another of the projects I worked on was a tool for Gooru Administrators to edit large amounts of content in a quick and efficient manner. I also performed heuristic evaluations on Gooru in order to determine our areas of greatest need. Once those areas were determined, I ran usability tests with teachers to get a sense of where they were having trouble and we also tested new designs with them for the trouble areas found in the heuristic evaluations.
See it!
Give Gooru a try.
UX Designer Developer Team Project
IGN Video Game Popularity Visualization
A class project for a client that helps visualize the popularity of a selected set of video games based on genre and platform.
Fall 2011

Roles: UX Designer, Developer

Course: Information Visualization

Technology: d3.js, Eclipse

Project Length: 1 Month
What is it?
Video Game Popularity Visualization is like the title says and uses site traffic data provided by IGN to let users explore the popularity of video games over time on IGN.com. Choosing from a large array of games, users can look at the popularity chronologically or normalized around release date. This allows users to better compare popularity of games across a series (like the Halo games) or across platform (ex: comparing XBOX to PS3). The idea for this came out of the desire to further explore information presented in a graphic on IGN.com here.
What did I do?
As a team, we prototyped our designs on paper first and then presented them to the team at IGN. After getting feedback, we refined the designs and began implementing the design. We used d3.js for its powerful visualization capabilities and the DataTables jQuery plug-in for game selection. I handled implementation of the stream graph (the top one) and part of the selection tool while putting together the CSS and jQuery for the look and feel.
See it!
Try it out here. Please note that it takes a while to load. It works best in Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.
UX Designer Developer Solo Project
Commute Time Visualization
A visualization to help explore when and what transportation to and from school and work take the least time.
Fall 2011

Roles: UX Designer, Developer

Course: Information Visualization

Technology: Protovis.js, Eclipse

Project Length: 1 Week
What is it?
This is a visualization of my commute time for one month as I traveled to and from downtown Ann Arbor by bus and car. This was done for my Information Visualization class and we were tasked with taking tracking personal data and visualizing it in a meaningful way. I chose to track my various trips to and from downtown Ann Arbor. I wondered how consistent the buses were in getting me to and from where I needed to be. Unsurprisingly, driving was the quickest. Perhaps somewhat unexpectedly, I found that my trip length was almost always the same time (about 26 minutes) except for around rush hour (4 - 6 PM) where trips could take up to an hour. This particular visualization was meant to allow exploration between different factors. Updating the smaller graphs as options changed was also a key part of making the visualization engaging and meaningful.
See it!
Try it out here.
UX Designer Education Team Project
Super Readers
A design document for a game that teaches elementary school students how to read. The system continues to support learners from Kindergarten through 5th grade and grows with the student, always providing learning objectives that map to real world use. Students become superheroes and help their city gain their stolen words back from a nefarious villain.
Winter 2011

Role: Designer

Course: Principles of Software Design for Learning

Technology: Photoshop

Project Length: 4 Months (semester-long project)
What is it?
The Adventures of the Super Readers is the design for a touch-enabled game that allows students to improve their reading skills. Students become super heroes that help a city that's had all of its words scrambled by a nefarious villain. It is intended to be an aide to teachers and parents, engaging students from Kindergarten through 5th Grade. The game grows with the children and continues to work on skills that the Common Core State Standards recommend.
What did I do?
As a team, we all designed word games that could be used in the game to teach word skills. We researched the Common Core State Standards and what students would learn at each grade. We also did comparisons with other games we found that aimed to teach similar things. We created sketches for our game including the setup interface, the game world, game characters, and for the mini-games.
See it!
Read more about it at the design blog.
UX Designer Education Team Project
Sweetland Center for Writing Website Evaluation
A class project for a client that wanted their website evaluated. This project involved user surveys, interviews,
Winter 2011

Roles: Project Manager, Interviewer, Usability Tester

Course: Evaluation of Systems & Services

Client: Sweetland Center for Writing

Technology: Illustrator, Photoshop, Camtasia

Project Length: 4 Months (semester-long project)
What is it?
The Sweetland Center for Writing is a department at the University of Michigan that offers services and classes to students that focus on improving their writing skills. The website serves as a portal for students to sign up for advising appointments and to learn more about writing requirements and classes. My team evaluated their site by performing many different usability studies. We created an interaction map, developed scenarios and personas, performed interviews, ran a comparative analysis, heuristic evaluations, conducted a survey with more than 2,100 responses, carried out usability tests with current students, and developed mock ups for potential site enhancements.
See it!
View the full interaction map here.
UX Designer Education Team Project
Summers-Knoll Digital Portfolio
A class project for a client that desired a system for student portfolios. This project involved contextual inquiry, user interviews, sketched lo-fi prototypes, a working hi-fi prototype, and user testing.
Fall 2010

Roles: UX Designer, Interviewer, Usability Tester

Course: Interaction and Interface Design

Client: Summers Knoll Elementary School

Technology: Axure RP, Photoshop, SVN

Project Length: 4 Months (semester-long project)
What is it?
The Summers-Knoll Digital Portfolio is a system designed to allow teachers to easily save students works into a digital portfolio. The system is designed with the teacher in mind, allowing them to easily manage each portfolio, the media associated with it, the student's own reflections, and the teacher's assessment of the work. The system was designed over the course of one semester at the behest of Summers-Knoll Elementary administration. The Hi-Fi prototype was created using Axure RP.
What did I do?
I participated in each step with my team, crafting interview questions, putting together the affinity wall, developing personas and scenarios, sketching parts of the lo-fi prototype, and leading development of the hi-fi prototype because of my experience with development.
See it!
Try the Hi-Fi prototype here and view all of the deliverables here (Affinity Wall, Personas & Scenarios, Lo-Fi Prototype, User Testing).
UX Designer Developer Solo Project
Kerrytown BookFest
As a volunteer, I helped design and develop the BookFest's web presence while providing admin features that helped the BookFest Council stay organized.
Fall 2009

Roles: UX Designer, Developer

Client: Kerrytown BookFest Board

Technology: WordPress, PHP, MySQL, Eclipse

Project Length: 1 Month
What is it?
The Kerrytown BookFest is an annual celebration of books. It goes beyond just what we read, but also the science behind binding, the authors behind the books, explorations of the paper used to print on, and so much more. In 2009, the Kerrytown BookFest was looking to upgrade their web presence. As a volunteer, I remade their website with a custom WordPress theme and a custom back-end to help the Board track exhibitors, speakers, volunteers, and events. This project involved using Flash, PHP, SQL, JavaScript, and HTML/CSS.
See it!
While the visuals have since changed by another's hand, much of the layout and backend remains in use. See it here.
UX Designer Developer Team Project
Typography
A class project about the use of Typography around Ann Arbor that explored how to use technology to present topics in an engaging manner.
Fall 2008

Roles: UX Designer, Lead Developer

Course: Technology and the Humanities

Technology: Photoshop, Flash, ActionScript

Project Length: 1 Month
What is it?
The goal of this project was to use technology to teach something in an interesting way. My group tackled typography and its use in signage. We took examples found around Ann Arbor, MI and created a map to navigate around to the examples. Each example names the font if we could find it and explains what feelings the font evokes. It also addresses the effectiveness of the font in relation to the message the business or building is trying to present.
What did I do?
Using Adobe Flash, I developed the website and co-designed the look and feel with one of my teammates as the others collected and refined the content of the site. Together, we created an interactive site that lets the user select different locations around the city to learn about the particular typography used.
See it!
See the site here.
UX Designer Developer Team Project
Squirrel Sense
A fast-paced multiplayer action game that has you defending your territory and stealing acorns from other squirrels.
Fall 2009

Roles: UX Designer, Developer, Graphics & Audio Designer

Course: Computer Game Design and Development

Technology: Photoshop, GarageBand, C++, Visual Studio, Zenilib, SVN

Project Length: 1 Month
What is it?
Squirrel Sense is a fast-paced action video game for the PC. You choose your squirrel and compete against up to three other players. The goal is to collect and hide as many acorns as you can. Helping you to do this is your Squirrel Sense, which reveals buried acorns in enemy territory and your Squirrel Scream which chases off other squirrels. The squirrel you choose affects the strength of those two powers and also the speed at which you can move and the number of acorns you can carry. Squirrel Sense was written in C/C++ and uses the proprietary ZeniLib engine.
What did I do?
I was in charge of the graphics, the user interface, and the user testing while all group members worked on the game design. In order to test it, we brought it in front of the University of Michigan's WolvSoft club of game developers multiple times. We recorded their actions and what they were saying as we had them play the game.
See it!
Learn more about the game here and get the game here.
UX Designer Developer Solo Project
GravEATy
An arcade-style game I developed centered around eating as much food as possible so that gravity pulls you back to earth before you float away forever!
Fall 2009

Roles: UX Designer, Developer

Course: Computer Game Design and Development

Technology: Visual Studio, C++, ZeniLib, Photoshop

Project Length: 2 Weeks
What is it?
GravEATy is an arcade game for the PC that pits you against the sudden loss of gravity's affect on you. The people on the ground are trying to help you by throwing food at you for you to eat. Why? Because you need to gain weight and fast before you're lost to space. GravEATy was written in C/C++ and uses the proprietary ZeniLib engine.
See it!
Get the game here.