I am a User Experience Designer and Front-End Developer based out of the Detroit area. I recently graduated from Michigan State University where I received my Bachelor of Arts in Experience Architecture. My passion lies in vehicles of all kinds: planes, trains, automobiles, boats, you name it. In my spare time sailing, skiing and fishing are a few of my favorite hobbies.
In my mind nothing is ever complete—there is always room for improvement. The smallest of changes make some of the biggest experience improvements. Equally, the smallest of mistakes can develop into the biggest problems. I have an acute eye that catches complications and pain-points before they ever become a problem.
Racing sailboats has equipped me with problem solving skills. Equipment can break and potentially catastrophic failures can happen. When you are out on the water, sometimes days away from land, you must be quick to develop a solution. Resources are scarce, and teamwork with your fellow shipmates is critical. The skills I have learned on the water enable me to quickly adapt and overcome.
Creating luck is one of my favorite things to do; the best way to accomplish that is exploring uncharted territory. I never turn down the opportunity to travel and work hard to seek out new adventures.
I have a whatever-it-takes attitude and will not stop until the job is done. I feel right at home with all kinds of tools, instruments and machinery. My actions are precisely calculated at getting me where I want to go next.
Check out some of my favorite work
User Testing & Developing Wayfinding Systems
We were asked by the MSU Libraries User Experience Team to research and develop various ways of improving the digital wayfinding and signage throughout the Main Library. Our research was focused on, but not limited to, the following:
We surveyed 25 random students and faculty then personally interviewed 5 of them. Our results indicated that the kiosks were exhibiting some of the problems we had initially anticipated. Many of the participants did not spend much time at the library and therefore did not have a need for any wayfinding systems. Additionally, not many people actually struggled to find resources in the library, leading to less than 25% of the participants ever having actually used a kiosk. However, despite the majority of people not having a use for a wayfinding aid, there was still a substantial population that could benefit from these kiosks. From our research it was apparent people were using the kiosks for what they are intended for, however it was also clear the user experience was in need of many improvements. The more shocking data point was that over half surveyed did not assume the displays in the library are interactive. This was something we felt the library should take action on immediately. We concluded there would potentially be a 50% increase in kiosk usage with some simple touch friendly signs added.
Card sorting allowed us to get a better idea of how users would organize information without being pre-exposed to the interface. From our card sorting, we gathered that some of the information displayed on the kiosks wasn’t where the user would expect it to be. The arrangement of the cards provided us insight as to what aspects of the kiosks would benefit from having more emphasis, as well as where items should be nested.
What We Did // Participants were provided with a random picture of a book and its call number, or a random room name in the library. They were instructed to use one of the kiosks to assist them in finding the book or room, while explaining their thought process as they used the system. We recorded their actions, making sure not to interfere with their decision making process.
Good // In both cases our participants were able to achieve their task; however there were several moments where they were either frustrated or confused. The participant trying to locate the book was frustrated by the speed of the map animations. Perfecting the animation times was an easy fix that would dramatically increase the user experience. Additionally, by the time the participant got all the way up the stairs, he already started to forget where the map told him to go. This proved it can be a difficult task locating an item far away from the kiosk. The biggest struggle for the second participant instructed to find a specific room was scrolling through the long list of locations. Once he found the listing, he effortlessly navigated his way to the room.
Better // Both participants argued they were not a fan of the list system. They felt the ability to quickly type in a call number, or room name, would be a substantially quicker method than scrolling through lists. While the system does work, it is clear there are a few simple pain points that should be addressed. Additionally, we noticed the kiosk on the 4th floor only allowed the user to search for an item on that floor. It was not able to help locate items anywhere else in the library. Both kiosks on the 1st and 4th floor physically look the same however don’t perform the same. This could potentially cause an inconsistent user experience, causing frustration or confusion.
What We Did // We took notes and critically evaluated the digital touchscreen. After doing so, following protocol, we re-evaluated everything based upon 10 UX guidelines for heuristic evaluation using our notes and heuristic skills to analyze our findings.
Good // Overall the screens followed MSU brand standards and consistency with the rest of the MSU Libraries media. The information was accessible and there was an “escape exit” made obvious in every corner to take users back to the homepage. The homepage showed the MSU Spartan icon, title, “welcome”, weather, date, time in header and scrolling announcement in the footer which gave off a welcoming, yet modern feel that is similar to a mobile app.
Better // There were some concerning glitches in the touchscreen interface. The call numbers A-C seemed to be the go to for when there wasn’t another option when trying to find locations or call numbers. This was confusing and would be better to not happen at all, or worst case to show an error message here. The map was useful, but would be much more useful if directions were given. The feedback screen needed to be redesigned because it directs users to the website, but the link was not actually clickable. A QR code or quick survey form would be more useful for users and the library to collect information.
What We Did // We created a list of tasks for participants to complete on the touchscreen based on thoughtfully created questions:
We then created a task list for the participant to do:
Good // Some notable things that went really well in this test was the process of reserving a room. The user felt it was easy to do and finished quickly. Secondly, the task of finding a room by location went well for our participant. She noted that the process to find a room by name went smoothly as well. The touchscreen was helpful in this case.
Better // We believed that the interfaces could greatly improve through some changes in the navigation and location of items. It is important that the user knows where to go on the screen in order to complete their task. We removed some of the less useful tabs and made sure the correct content was in the places where the user expected it to be. Our user got disheartened quickly when they could not find the thing they were looking for.
After providing the client with a comprehensive UX analysis of the current systems in place, we opted to create a redesigned user interface that reflected what we learned from our research. Our redesigned screens were imported into Adobe XD where we built a functioning prototype for the client.
Check out the high resolution redesigned screen samples below and watch this video to learn more.
Developing Consumer Wearables
The Adafruit Flora Wearable GPS is arduino based kit that consists of a microprocessor, GPS receiver, 8 neopixel LEDs, a battery pack and conductive thread. For this project our team of four worked together to prototype a consumer wearable product. It was crucial for us to utilize our combined skills and knowledge in different areas to accomplish the build.
With limited resources and sensor modules, it was important for us to start by determining the scope of the project, as well has some of the constraints we may run into. We then spent some time brainstorming a list of different possibilities and organized on a scale a most feasible to most unfeasible. We were passionate about creating something that could actually be useful for consumers, however with the sensors we were limited to, it is often difficult to get past the gimmick stage! We ended up developing a use case seeking an emergency phone for students and faculty in an emergency situation.
Before we developed our user journey, we felt it was important to get a solid understanding of how all the equipment and sensors worked. That way we were properly educated on how we could best utilized the resources we had in order to craft the most effective user experience. After some crucial experimenting, we sketched up a quick user journey (pictured above). Ultimately, we decided on using LEDs on a jacket to help navigate someone to the closest emergency phone on campus.
Before sewing everything down to the jacket, we first assembled all of circuitry using alligator clips to ensure the code we developed was going to be functional. After some quick successful testing, the sewing began. We were thrilled to find out everyone on our four person team had sewing experience! This made what could have been a daunting process go very smoothly. Our jacket was designed to guide the user using two methods: the color of the LEDs, and the rate in which they blinked. If the user was moving towards the phone, the lights flashed green. If they were moving directly away from the phone, the lights would flash red. Any angle in between 0° and 180° would proportionally mix the green and red together. Additionally, the closer the user got to the emergency phone, the faster the lights would blink.
While building our consumer wearable device was a tremendous learning experience, our user testing proved true many of the issues we expected, given the limited amount of sensor input. Our biggest limitation was when our users were standing still. With only using a GPS sensor as input, it was impossible to calculate course over ground (COG), which our algorithm required to determine the color of the lights on the jacket. With the addition of a magnetic compass module, we would likely be much more successful in guiding our users to the emergency phones. We also determined while the jacket concept worked well given the equipment we had, our idea could possibly be better executed on a smartwatch platform. Identify User & Problem - Create User Flow - Make Prototype - Test. Do it all again.
The digital repository is an online access to digital collections managed by the MSU Library. Collections are combined in a single digital repository portal that offers a consistent way to search and access digital collections regardless of file type or subject matter. As the site is still under development, we were asked to spend one week identifying areas that needed improvement, and rework them as we felt necessary. Our team of four worked quickly and efficiently by being sure to utilize our specific skill sets.
After meeting with the client, we started by documenting the intended user flow. Then we moved on to creating an affinity diagram to help us organize our thoughts and intentions. We created a sticky note for each element of the site, then organized them how we felt would best enable the intended user flow. This is a cost effective ways to get a rapid prototyping project in motion.
Once we were happy with the organization of our affinity diagram, we moved on to creating a few low-fidelity mockups, working with fellow team members for critique and approval. From there, we went on to creating our high-fidelity designs to present to the client.
MSU Libraries Digital Repository is a massive database that only continues to grow. Our biggest concerns for our client was how they handle their Information Architecture. We offered several different suggestions, but the most important being the need for them to develop a top level navigation categories, breadcrumbing and checkbox filters for search. As this was only a week long rapid prototyping project, it was important to focus on improving the elements that would make the largest positive impact on the site. That focus was user interface heavy, and developing a new information architecture hierarchy is something we believe the client would be better suited performing themselves. They know their content better than anyone.
Infographics for the Web
For this project I aimed to improve how the university handles emergency situations on campus. In its current state, the university has static posters on display in every classroom. The text on these posters is very small and practically illegible unless standing very close to it. In a true emergency situation these posters are effectively useless.
In order to remedy the problem, I designed interactive touch screen interfaces to replace the current static posters. My redesign allows for emergency content for a specific situation to be displayed much larger. Additionally my design would allow for the emergency services to remotely change what is on the screens in any given situation.
Check out the interactive prototype at: https://xd.adobe.com/view/e7c46d08-05ca-4213-471b-51d1f5a8c0fa-91f5/
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