I led design for an innovative learning platform.
I helped refine and deepen a learning platform for EdTech giant Ellucian. Brainstorm supports self-paced, coached learning for a variety of college and professional education programs.
Early on, I needed to update Brainstorm’s visuals across dozens of page layouts and page elements. This CSS-only modernization required consensus-building and coordination, and earned plaudits inside and outside Ellucian.
UX was as much a part of my role as UI detailing. In spring 2016 I conducted eight scripted tests for my product. I analyzed and shared my results, including screen-by-screen observations supported by user quotes. A number of recommendations for improvement were implemented.
One focus of the user testing was a complex workflow that stymied users. I presented the problem and a solution to internal stakeholders to raise awareness, gather feedback, and build consensus for a fix.

My work at Ellucian included new product features, refinements, and special projects — including a big one around responsive design.
I helped a company scale from one learning object to tens of thousands.
Digital allows educational material paper never did. Interactive diagrams, maps, and galleries can improve academic texts by chunking out concepts, responding to student interest, and assessing students on their mastery as they read. I helped my agency design and deliver hundreds of these interactives for higher-education publisher Pearson, leading to my promotion to management.
We began the design of each “widget” by discussing an analogous figure in a print textbook with Pearson editors. My team and I would produce concepts for using interactivity to enhance the educational experience. In the enlarged scheme for a gallery, I sought to include a sort of “subway map,” guiding the student as to how each image in the gallery related to the others.
My team, which grew to 14 people, tackled a variety of projects, including this National Geographic Learning K-5 science textbook. We overcame major challenges around accessibility, localization, and e-reader compatibility.

I also worked on conference samples and client pitches, and served as a primary point of contact for clients.
Eventually Metrodigi’s work for Pearson became so extensive that we needed to scale our operations. I conceived and led the creation of a private web app that allowed us to track thousands of interactives across dozens of titles. We ultimately outproduced and outcompeted our better-funded rival, Inkling.
I designed & built a new kind of diabetes management app.
I set out with my cofounder, a person with type 1 diabetes, to create a medical app with a uniquely warm, relaxing, and delightful look and feel. With fun animations, a custom-made circular control, and engaging sounds, it’s the quickest and pleasantest way to log data and stay healthy.
Our predecessors in the App Store used off-the-shelf user interface elements. They look like paper log books made interactive.

To my cofounder and me, they felt like too sterile a place for people with a difficult condition to have to spend hours each week logging and reviewing health-related data.
I began by analyzing the steps for making each type of log entry — multi-select (which med or meal was being recorded), quantitative, and time-of-day entry.

After trying a number of conventional ideas, I found a way to make circular controls for each input type, and pitched my cofounder on fun animated transitions between them.
Working with an illustrator and another designer, we developed a visual style for the interface. It was important to my cofounder to avoid the color red — so reminiscent of stressful clinical situations.

I explored every detail of the interface, including the positions and choreography of the Add Note and Save buttons.
In November 2010, six months after beginning the project, our app was on the App Store. I wrote all the code. My cofounder was happy.

And the app soon found an audience. We received positive write-ups in health blogs, thousands of downloads, and hundreds of emails. In the years since we’ve refined details and added features.
I contributed to technology that helps nurses care for newborns.
Global Strategies, a non-profit dedicated to maternal and infant healthcare in the developing world, commissioned a unique app called Noviguide from an agency I worked for. I led the creation of this medical expert system + dosage calculator + instructional guide. It’s one of the most complex apps I’ve ever worked on — yet it looks like one of the simplest.
Global Strategies discovered a gap in developing-world neonatal care that technology could fill. Especially in rural areas, nurses often need to make care decisions without immediate access to a doctor.

They have been eager to use NoviGuide, which helps them walk through standard medical protocol, recording their observations and developing a plan for sick infants.
Digitizing a medical protocol is no easy task! The doctors we worked with provided dozens of flowcharts and thousands of lines of conditions describing the way the application they envisioned should work.

I translated all this raw material to an application design that my team and I carried out — challenging but very gratifying.
From all that complexity emerged a colorful, inviting user interface that the visual design team and I developed. One of my focuses was the summary page, where discussion with the neonatologist led to a two-part interface.

Noviguide has been well-received by clinics in South Africa and Uganda, where its effectiveness is being measured by medical researchers.
I reimagined an iPhone story-creation app for iPad.
I designed an iPad version of Blurb Mobile, an iOS app for weaving together and sharing multimedia stories. I also did most of the engineering work for the large-format version.

One of the new interactions I designed was this quick swipe to switch between view mode and edit mode.
I tried various adaptation strategies. Rather than use the iOS off-the-shelf tab bar control, I created a custom one for a more Blurb-branded feel. I took advantage of the larger screen size to show story metadata in a translucent overlay animating out over the thumbnail, rather than keeping it in a separate screen.
Blurb Mobile had hundreds of thousands of downloads and passionate users, but because the road to a business return was unclear, the company has since sunsetted the app. Thousands of brilliantly creative photo stories that people created, shared, and discovered on Blurb Mobile remain the legacy of this ambitious project from the peak of app mania.
I helped people create books through a simpler interface.
Spring 2012
I worked on Blurb’s “Instabook” product, aimed at casual bookmakers who want to make quick keepsakes from their Facebook and Instagram photos. The product hadn’t been updated after Facebook albums came into vogue, and usage was below expectations. I was on the team tasked with improving the experience. After several months of design and development, book completion (and revenue) went up and the project was considered a success.
The product manager had data showing that users were gathering photos from multiple Facebook albums, a use case that hadn’t been common when the interface was designed. A heuristic analysis suggested to us that as users went through their journey of selecting photos, they would lose track of photos they’d chosen from other albums. I proposed a “hopper” at the right, giving users a rough preview of the book they were constructing and a feeling of progress. After a prototype tested well, we built it.
In discussions with the product manager and the Chief Product Officer, another observation came up — users were suffering “paralysis by analysis” when confronted with the many tools in the interface, and dropping off in the middle of creation. To speed them through, we put only the simplest controls in the main interface, and added a small “Switch to Advanced Editing” button at the upper right that launched a different mode (signaled by a different background) with more complex editing features.
Finally, we knew users were dropping off during a processing step, which could take a minute or two. I suggested using this downtime for adding a book title and author name, which we could let users preview as they typed. Afterward we could also show a sample spread while the book was generated, with a reassuring message below.

The net result of these changes was a better experience that improved conversions and helped more people preserve their digital memories in high-quality photo books.