Consulting Services (freelancing)
I returned to freelancing in 2017 and it was a very informative experience. I gained insights into the inner-workings of businesses and learned new design tools and software. And most importantly, I learned how to place myself organically into an organization and become a strategic asset and bring real value to their product. It’s about mastering listening, tuning my consciousness and thinking positively, and leaving the ego-driven “I want” at the door.
While freelancing, companies came to me asking me to solve the problems with their product, the problems their customers have, and the unpleasant moments when the software product fails to address the customer’s needs. A single problem propagates throughout all levels of a business: the client has a problem, which means that customer support is overwhelmed with tickets, which means that the company has an issue, and the company management must resolve it. How? By improving the customer experience (UX) to be more intuitive for the user. I’ve learned that by empathizing with the user the solution comes easily.
I improve UX through constant communication with developers and managers, as well as through numerous iterations of proposed design solutions supplemented with user research. The overall picture starts with the customer journey and task flow, usually done as a pencil and paper sketch at first.
My clients know or sense they have issues with the functional flow, UI flow, or with screen layouts and visuals. They don’t have the resources in-house to redesign it. They introduce me to the product and ask me to identify bottlenecks (if unknown) and to create the design solution. At the beginning I am an observer, watching the process and the people working and interacting with the product. After discovering the user pain points, using my skills and heuristic expertise I ideate the solution design through a number of iterations.
McKinsey & Company introduced me to the Concept Sprint, which is essentially their adaptation of the Google Ventures Design Sprint. This project taught me about how there can be a need for UX with no GUI at all. Of course, there is some CLI and command line involved and even serious VB programming in Excel, but no in-house grown graphical user interface. I also created personas and user journeys, which were integral to defining the features and functions of the product.
Other Freelance Projects
This job began as a pure iPhone application project: I created an online prototype in InVision cloud with about 30 screens. Then I did an analysis of the business requirements: what technologies are used now, what needs to be added, what needs to be removed, and what resources may be needed in order to ensure this iOS application gets released.
I was also hired to perform a pixel-precise tune-up of a WordPress theme and plugins with three different sources of CSS injection, which needed to be responsive and be displayed properly on both mobile and desktop platforms. This job incorporated both design and engineering.
My largest client was a software company for co-working spaces. This project involved a good deal of UI design and a lot of extensively detailed design solutions.
My main design toolbox is Sketch, InVision, Principle, and Photoshop. Sketch is where I digitize my design solutions, creating task flow diagrams, use-cases and scenarios, user journeys, UI flows, wireframes, mockups, icons, and simple clickable prototypes. I use InVision to imitate user actions, allowing navigating between full screens or popups. In InVision, I publish online clickable handoffs to share the ideas with product owners and developers. Here is one example of a prototype I’ve made: New Member Setup Wizard.
Mobile design using Sketch: loyalty points (Wells Fargo assignment). Example of what can be designed in an hour.
I use Principle for Mac to demonstrate motions and animated actions, such as micro-interactions. This YouTube playlist shows some of my work-in-progress interactions (9 short videos, < 1 min) made with Principle for Mac.
Ultimately, my job is to deliver value to both parties: to the end-users and to the business. For the customers of the business, its usually about creating an enjoyable experience, and for the business, profit is usually the goal. Aligning these two values is the definition of the success. Let me know about your project. I am interested in helping you!