doing my part
to put the "user"
back in user experience.

Like a fancy TV detective, let's figure out the "who" before the "what".

Far too often project teams are guilty of rushing into the design phase of a project without taking a step back to really identify who the users are, and what they want from the product. As often as possible, I strive to lead user research sessions including user interviews, focus groups, and message architecture sessions to uncover neutral data in order to help provide a holistic understanding of who the end users really are and what features would benefit them. This approach helps build empathy and understanding of the end users who ultimately use the products.

  • user research for clerk of courts website

    Clerk Of Courts Website

    An out-of-state clerk of courts website team wanted to update their website's look and feel, but knew that they were too close to the content and needed to better understand what their visitors actually needed and wanted from their website. I lead a short User Research phase help uncover valuable and usable insights from their actual user base including user interviews and card sorting ultimately leading to creating User Personas and a new Site Map.

    This also included a Navigation Strategy to help identify what content should live in which areas of the site, and how the user should be able to access it.

    • Planned and lead User Intervew sessions.
    • Gestated User Personas to provide a deeper understanding of visitors.
    • Planned and lead Card Sorting sessions.
    • Produced a new Site Map from Card Sorting data.
    • Provided a Navigation Strategy to help the development team plan out content areas.
  • user research for corporate bank intranet

    Corporate Banking Intranet

    Our client wanted to create a new, fully responsive corporate Intranet using SiteCore, but wanted to do as much as they could to understand what their employees wanted to use, see, and share to make sure that their user adoption rate was high. Before getting into any Wire Frames or Mock Ups, I lead a short User Research effort to dig deeper into end-user’s expectations when visiting the Intranet.

    I did this by conducting User Interviews, Card Sorting, and Task Priority sessions with a variety of groups including end users, line of business representatives, and project stakeholders.

    • Fully responsive Corporate Intranet using SiteCore.
    • Conducted User Interviews and Card Sorting activities.
    • Delivered User Personas and Site Map based on activity data.
    • Created Wire Frames based in requirements and User Rearch.
    • Produced Visual Design mock ups using Adobe Photoshop.

As easy as passing notes in grade school, paper & pencil can go a long way.

There’s a time and place for polished deliverables, but when it comes to ideation and knowledge sharing, nothing beats some basic sketches or an empty white board. I try to follow the “pencils before pixels” motto and think it’s helped avoid some serious “gotcha” moments early on in the planning and requirements gathering phase of projects. I’m no Van Gough, but sketching allows me to explain what’s going on in my head far better than words alone.

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Better than IKEA instructions, with fewer allen wrenches to boot.

There’s a time and place for polished deliverables, but when it comes to ideation and knowledge sharing, nothing beats some basic sketches or an empty white board. I try to follow the “pencils before pixels” motto and think it’s helped avoid some serious “gotcha” moments early on in the planning and requirements gathering phase of projects. I’m no Van Gogh, but sketching allows me to explain what’s going on in my head far better than words alone.

  • Online Marketing Campaign Creation Custom Web Application

    An internal development team attempted to build a custom web application leveraging 3rd party APIs to send SMS, Email and Fax campaigns on behalf of their utility industry clients, but the application was not well received by both internal and external users. The adoption issues were related to a confusing information architecture and user flow as well as a cumbersome process in comparison to competitor offerings.

    I provided a blend of User Research and Information Architecture activities to help understand true user need, review the market place, and improve the overall functionality of the application. All with a goal of creating a product the client could be proud to roll out to their customers as well as use internally.

    • Conducted User Interviews to understand user tasks, issues, needs, and wants.
    • Conducted Stakeholder Focus Groups to understand business objectives.
    • Created new User Flows for the entire application based on user roles.
    • Performed Competitive Analysis for top 3 competitors in the marketplace.
    • Created new Site Map to reorganize the Information Architecture.
    • Gestated User Personas based on interview feedback.
    • Lead Task Priority and Card Sorting exercises
  • Retail Store Online Reservation Custom Web Application

    A Columbus, Ohio based clothing retailer needed an application to allow customers to order an article of clothing online and have it prepped and ready to go at a store location for them to pick up at a later time. This application would integrate with the inventory system and notify an in-store employee to take action. I served as the Information Architect and Visual Designer for the project.

    To help both our development team and client visualize how the site would be structured I created a Site Map and high-fidelity wireframes in order to help demonstrate the user interface and it’s contents.

    • Created new Information Architecture demonstrated using a Site Map.
    • Produced high-fidelity Wire Frames.
    • Extended appproved Wire Frames into mock ups using Adobe Photoshop.

Worthy of mom's fridge, yet professional enough to earn a paycheck.

The "wow" factor, the glitz and glam, new and old users alike can enjoy a beautiful looking product. My background in graphic and web design enables me to extend the insightes glaeand from the research and information architecture exercises and create Dribbble worthy user interface designs guaranteed to separate your product from the competition.

  • visual design for custom web application

    Industrial Fan Builder Custom Web Application Design

    After the initial wire frames were completed and approved, I put together the visual design mock ups to demonstrate how the company’s brand could be applied and extended to a custom web application that allowed it’s users to create sales presentations, schedule presentations, and collaboratively see where they were in the sales cycle. Some of the essential user interface facets included a visual representation of the path to completion, high level metrics and dashboard views, as well as a vast amount of tabular data that had to be easy for users to quickly review and consume.

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    • Mock ups design in Adobe Photoshop.
    • Extended band guidelines for print into web.
  • visaul design for hybrid mobile application

    Tech Conference Hybrid Mobile Application Design

    I served as the Information Architect and Visual Designer on a team charged with building an intuitive mobile application that would be deployed to both iPhone and Android devices using IBM Worklight. With a short project due date and the need to write most of the CSS myself, I incorporated a flat color palette and leveraged Font Awesome for all the iconography to allow the app to leverage a font library instead of loading any images.

    To help avoid any platform specific functionality I used only basic navigation patterns and best practices for touch point sizes and mobile font sizes.

    • Platorm agnostic mobile application design.
    • Use of web icon fonts to avoid image usage.
    • Flat color palatte selection.
    • Mock ups created in Adobe Illustrator.

It's the subtleties that can change our view from "obvious" to "oblivious".

Even with careful research, a well-vetted information architecture and jaw dropping visual design your product’s users might still have issues with your interface. The fastest way to find out is to methodically show and test pages, flows, and concepts to current or potential users and see where things go wrong, or hopefully where they go right! I’m always shocked at what some guerilla usability tests can tell us about the way users interact with a product.

  • Spotify App Finder Usability Testing

    The Spotify streaming music platform offers a wide variety of ways to explore and discover new music throughout the platform’s user interface while listening to music from around the globe. One of the specific features for discovering new music is the “App Finder” where, a user can explore up to 122 different free applications to install and add-on to the Spotify software platform. Although other features are available throughout Spotify for discovering new music, the purpose of this research project was focused on the use of the platform’s Apps and App Finder Feature.

    In order to better understand and alleviate the adoption issues, user interviews and a micro-usability study were implemented in order to provide both provide insight into the issues and gestate actionable recommendations. The user interviews focused on eliciting user needs, issues and generating ideas for new and improved functionality from 3 Spotify Users. The micro-usability study afforded observation of users interacting with Spotify while explaining their actions (referred to as “Concurrent Think Aloud”). Providing the participants with a set of goals to complete and then observing them attempt to achieve the goals, indicated where the system is confusing, where it’s frustrating, and if the users were able to successfully complete their tasks.

    Project Details

    • Curated questions for an online participant screener.
    • Set up and moderated in-person user interviews.
    • Wrote scenarios and tasks for "think out loud" usability study.
    • Provided data analysis using time, completion, satisfaction, and error metrics.
  • Hotels.com Website Usability Test

    Hotels.com is a well known hotel search website offering robust search, filtering, and advanced website features. However, with all the features and functionality there were a handful of areas that might not be optimized for the average visitor. To confirm or deny my hypothesis, I used Loop 11, a Remote Usability Testing web application to create a demographics screener and a scenario and task for each user interface facet that I believed visitors were having issues using. These tasks would help me identify and understand user behaviors and patterns when using the website.

    The screener helped me make sure that we were collecting date from only the type of user profile that would provide the right amount of insights and then used the Loop 11 application to allow the study participants to attempt to complete tasks, all while recording data analysis metrics including success / abandonment rates, pages to complete the task, pages visited to complete the task, and a Likert Scale to demonstrate how difficult the study participant found the individual tasks. I also used participant comments to help reinforce the data and help humanize the data.

    • Remote usability testing.
    • Demographics questionnaire and screener for participant profiling.
    • Task and scenario creation based on hypothesis
    • Use of Loops 11 Usability Testing Software

"Ryan is a terrific designer to work with as he provides detail-driven solutions in a timely manner. He provided our company with a great new website design that not only is creative, but also fits within our company brand."

- Monica Mosure, VP of Global Marketing | M.S. Consultants

"Ryan is one of the best designers and usability experts that I have met in Columbus. He is a rare case of a designer that designs for BOTH the aesthetic demands AND the business objectives of the client. Further to this, Ryan is adept at the core fundamentals of designing websites taking into consideration core search engine optimization (SEO) best practices so clients can not only look great, but also be found easily on the search engines. He truly looks at the long-term goals of each client he works with. "

- Mark Subel, Principal & Lead Strategist | Two Wheels Marketing

"Ryan designed a website for my employer and hit every deadline and request we had throughout the whole process in a timely and extremely professional manner. The personal touch of communicating with us on a regular basis for updates on the job as well as driving hours up here for the initial concept meeting helped to make the entire project run smoother and an extremely pleasant experience for us. The overall design and layout of the site is aesthetically pleasing as well as easily navigated and understood. Bottom line, we are more than happy with the website and the overall experience in general, and will be hiring him again to re-do the entire site from the ground up in a few months."

- Craig Cardilino, Marketing Manager | Senior Photo Retoucher at TRG Reality