About Me

Like the slightly audacious banner says, I'm a user experience designer living in Oakland, California. I've been designing and developing web applications professionally for 10 years. I started out my career as an application developer of large enterprise applications, but as I've matured in my craft I've discovered that I am most passionate about designing user experiences. I know user experience is a bit of nebulous term, so here is my definition of user experience:

The user experience is the sum of many parts, including but not limited to usability, utility, information architecture, user interface design, interaction design, graphic design, messaging, psyschology, data analysis and typography.

Whether you're srictly a graphic designer or an über nerd engineer you have likely done some or all of these at one time or another. I call myself a user experience designer simply because I am a sound practicioner and eager student of all these disciplines. I understand how all these parts combine to form a whole and I love bringing them all together.

My developer brain

I took an interest in programming when I minored in computing at UCLA. My first job after graduation was as a technical consultant for PeopleSoft. I quickly realized that I wanted to build apps full-time and not spend my weekends in airports bouncing from project to project. As an application designer I was responsible for designing and building a whole bunch of different business applications, from standard forms to complex workflow processes. I learned a whole lot about programming and building apps at PeopleSoft, but the propietary nature of the technology made the skill set limiting.

Fortunately, Accolo needed someone who could own the design and usability of their web application as well as code some. This was right up my alley. I initially built some features end-to-end using Java, JSP, HTML, CSS and JavaScript. It was a great experience because it got me intimate with Ajax interactions and when they were appropriate. After about six months the decision was made to rebuild the application from ground up. My responsiblity was to redesign the entire, you got it, user experience for the 3rd generation of the Accolo web application. While I focused primarily on designing, I still spend a lot of time improving the application with HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

My designer brain

Professionally, I've been focused primarly on design for the last three years as a user experience lead for Accolo. Before that I was always splitting my team between application design and development. Looking back, I realize I've been interested in the user experience for a long time. I've always been a very empathic person and even majored in psychology until I realized that listening to people's problems was not my cup of tea. My experiences as an application developer made me realize how passionate I was about designing and building user interfaces. The user interface was my favorite part by far. Programming was almost just a means to the oh-so glorious end: communicating with the user.

It wasn't until I started building web applications in 1999 that I began to really cultivate my designer side. As an engineer at PeopleSoft I learned solid fundamentals on designing enterprise web applications, but didn't really have the oppurtunity to spread why wings creatively. After PeopleSoft, I became the User Experience Lead at Accolo. Accolo offered me a great oppurtunity to drive improvement of their application user experience and apply all the skills I had been accumulating.

When I'm not too busy with my day job I welcome some freelance web design work to give my mind a change of pace. Variety is indeed the spice of life when it comes to designing. Please feel free to contact me if you have a project to discuss.