hello! my name is thomas and i’m aux designer, passionate about understanding your business and your users’ needs in service of delivering the best possible solution.
examples of work sent out into the world
cosmos mobile learning platform
foreign lands was born out of a need to help travelers adapt to their locations. switching to a new measurement system, currency, and timezone can be difficult and this app aims to help you with the most common conversions for speed, distance, etc. This was designed and developed by myself as a side project allowing me to keep up with the latest Android design langugage.
vidatalk is an ipad app that was developed to support those in the hospital that couldn't speak for themselves. we studied nurses, doctors, and those in serious condition such as the emergency room and those that had recently been extubated. this helped inform what the most important responses were and the easiest ways for nurses, doctors, and family to interact with patients. for more, head over here
Cosmos Mobile Learning Platform
the cosmos mobile learning platform is a set of windows phone apps used by 3rd graders in singapore that originated from a class of mine at the university of michigan. the mydesk app is a container around 6 separate apps and messageboard is a standalone app for communicating with classmates. these apps were deeply integrated into the curriculum so that their use supported, rather than directed, their learning. See them in the windows phone store here: mydesk and messageboard
the tools and process necessary for the job
observations & interviews
interviews and observation are the fundamental building block to understanding the problem space and the user. so, i head out into the field with pen and notebook, ready to not just ask about what's going on, but to observe in context how users carry out their tasks.
personas are the most amazing tool to put the focus of design efforts where they belong: on the end user. light weight and flexible, personas allow the business and designers to remove their biases and speak a common language around who a product is truly for.
workflows help me to ensure i know what skillses have been captured and where potential information is missing. these lead directly into design so it's important to know the user's underlying work flow.
wireframing helps me setup my thinking after carrying out all the ux research. often i use paper to start and move up to other tools such as balsamiq, fireworks, or axure.
design assessments are key to testing design assumptions. setting a design and watching as a user struggles through a design is as informational as it is humbling.
documenting the requirements of a project is what the whole process has built towards so that developers can start making designs come to life. i've worked primarily with story cards in an agile setting meaning i'm used to writing digestible pieces and parts of features, pages, and functionality.
pen & paper
my favorite tool to start designs with (this or a white board). nothing's faster than drawing a picture when you need to express ideas quickly and get a basic structure down.
axure lets me build prototypes that easily flex between sketchy looking designs to full fledged interactive prototypes making it a valuable tool that i have extensive experience with.
balsamiq is particularly nice when moving into a little bit higher fidelity than hand drawn and because of the impressive suite of add-ons, it's easy to get designs for any form factor quickly made.
illustrator is a powerful tool that i use for most of my intense graphics work because of the ability to make vector based graphics.
photoshop is the tool used for adding that final layer of polish onto graphics.
sharing with the world
menlo innovations has been my primary client for the past seven years which has allowed me to work across a wide swath of industries including: automotive, health, education, hardware, and publishing. this has also given me the opportunity to work across many form factors like smartphones (iOS and android), tablets (iOS and custom), and desktop (windows and mac). These opportunities have allowed me to learn from so many people and do my fair share of teaching with clients and teammates.
as part of Menlo Innovations, i have been able to connect with and teach many companies our best practices when it comes to design, agile, and corporate culture. this has allowed me to experience a whole new world when it comes to organizational change. from large corporations diving into agile to small companies getting their first taste of user centric practices. Here's a link to the course description: High-Tech Anthropology®
i've had the opportunity to speak at a few conferences allowing me to give back to the agile and design community that has given so much to me. i've spoken at both national and local events including Agile 2013. Below are the presentations i've given.
an adventurer at heart, i love to travel and explore.
i love reading (sci-fi especially), tennis, & snowboarding.
i'm as happy playing with legos as i am photoshop.