In 2018 Evernote embarked on their first major rebrand in nearly a decade, partnering with renowned agency Design Studio who had provided their vision for clients such as Twitter and Airbnb.
I joined the internal brand team as Design Director, overseeing how the new visual language would apply across the marketing website.
My remit would expand, however, into making final decisions for the logo, type and illustration style. Working alongside the Executive Creative Director and leaders of the product, content and brand management teams, I helped push the design system to a place that not only served marketing purposes, but kept users at the forefront of our exploration.
Key to this process was not simply providing a new visual skin over the existing website. My direction to the marketing team was to use the brand refresh asan opportunity to revisit wayfinding for better site navigation, and more robust content pages so that users might make more informed decisions on which plan best suited their needs. Within a compressed timeline we were able to field user testing results that would aid in creating a better journey towards downloading the product.
The design system and the marketing site are still evolving to this day and, under my direction, will aim to be more reductive and simplified for a cleaner and more concise experience.
Old Navy Retail Innovation
The Old Navy Lab Store is a small retail footprint located in their headquarters, where they look to push the limits on what future retail experiences might look like before launching them in actual stores.
It was here that I directed two parallel projects, the first being an in-store shopping app that served customers both on the sales floor and in the fitting room. The second would be the interactive Denim Wall, a large touchscreen that would allow customers to peruse styles and size fits via video.
The previous iteration of the shopping app offered little guidance for customers and provided minimal interaction, much like its companion fitting room app. Our first step was to facilitate user testing of the app with paid customers. Those results informed much of our design output, which now gave consumers a clearer path to their shopping bag through simplified navigation and high-visibility collection browsing.
For the fitting room display, which initially had 2 main actions: “Call an Associate” and “Change the Lighting.” We actually thought these were good to kickstart a better experience, but we knew it could be better.
A natural next step, we felt, was to implement RFID tags into garments and have readers in the fitting rooms that could sense a customer’s items and “feed” them back visually via the in-mirror display. With this, they would be able to request additional patterns, colors or sizes, ultimately reducing the back and forth of the fitting room experience.
Along with the sales floor and fitting room kiosks, we also designed a large interactive display for perusing denim styles and fits. The value in the Denim Wall, as it was more commonly referred, was that customers could see those different styles on a diverse group of models through high-quality videos. While the development of this was a challenge, using proprietary touchscreen technology, we managed to provide a seamless and engaging experience for those in the Lab Store.
Project Ara was an ambitious endeavor brought about by the ATAP team at Google that sought to change the way we mobile users think about, and interact with, handheld devices.
The hardware frame would be modular, allowing consumers to swap out displays, processors, batteries and cameras, while leaving space for third-party modules, promising for a truly customizable product, all but removing the need to upgrade to a new device every year or two.
As Principal Designer at Parade, I led our team through software design tests for the device manager that proved out the various states of ejecting, installing and updating modules on the phone.
The marriage of physical and digital was the big challenge, as we needed to make a connection between a front-facing display with rear-facing, tangible modules.
Haptics, mnemonics and a dedicated ARA button were some of the solutions we worked through to provide the clearest signals for module management
Benefit Cosmetics Brows Experience
For Benefit’s Brows Experience, “Wow Your Brows”, the goal to educate and excite consumers about the benefits of self-styling eyebrows was a fun ride, but it wasn’t easy. We also needed to promote a new lineup of quality products.
For this particular effort it was all hands on deck, learning more than we could’ve ever imagined about eye brows and the importance they carry for many of Benefit’s customers.
I helped lead the team through a creative exploration of the customer journey, starting blue sky then coming back down to earth. We realized we needed to consider the high-resolution imagery we would be surfacing to users—on the web and not in a native app.
In the end we were able to engage a diverse clientele through an addictive scrolling experience across a diverse portfolio of models, making the DIY approach fun and easy to use.
Google Spotlight Stories VR
Spotlight Stories is a 360º storytelling experience for your mobile device, putting viewers in control of what they see. We designed the premiere version of this app for Google’s I/O Conference back in 2015, and they asked the Parade team back to evolve the app, with a focus on designing tor Daydream, their mobile VR platform.
I led alongside my team, navigating new territories largely revolving around user experience within the virtual reality space. We spent explored environments to gauge the comfort level of our users. UX, in this instance, didn’t just mean navigation or placements of actions. It now meant, “how does it feel, physically and mentally?” We needed to consider horizon lines—if the z-axis was the slightest bit off, users would experience dizziness or a sense of unease, or that they may be falling. As for the size of the environment, it couldn’t be too vast. This would make users feel alienated. Too intimate of space, they would feel claustrophobic.
With all of this in mind we set out to deliver rapid VR prototypes to our clients to prove our hypotheses. This was the most crucial piece of our process, ensuring we were getting concepts in front of them often, so we had time to correct. No comprehensive documentation existed that explicitly told us. So, we wrote a Medium post on this ourselves titled, “Immersive Prototyping for VR.”
Natasha Noltimier, our lead IxD at Parade, led the charge on researching capabilities of interaction design tools and the hardware we were using, the Daydream headset. We primarily used Framer, which offered the code we needed and the community support to help us deliver quality tests and a final result.
Adobe Lightroom Product Design
At the project’s start, the Adobe Lightroom mobile app for Android was merely a port of the iOS experience. It was our charge at Parade to design an Android-centric experience from the ground up, and I led a team of interaction designers to get us there.
We navigated a combination of Material Design and Adobe's Spectrum Design System to find the right balance for Collections, Edit Modes, and ultimately Camera functionality within the app that supported RAW.
This is easily one of the most exciting and challenging projects I’ve had the chance to work on, collaborating with teams embedded at Adobe in San Francisco and New York to finalize the user experience and final visual layer.
Rangle Product Design & Branding
As Principal Designer at Parade I led the branding and product experience design for Rangle from concept to completion.
Rangle is an app that aims to take the pain out of event planning through interactions with your friends. Designed for both iOS and Android, our goal was to make it easy for all parties to rally around a theme, and place and time, through a simple voting mechanism via chat. We also introduced unique interaction patterns for a more sticky experience to which users could return.
A big part of this project was developing the brand in parallel with product design. We knew we needed to have something fun and engaging, with emotional moments of surprise and delight. We worked with seasoned brand designer Christopher Fairchild to develop logo, type, color and iconography.
At the project’s launch, we delivered an ambitious MVP to our client with many more screens than anticipated, laying the foundation for them to make incremental changes easily moving forward.
Formerly known as Slice, Rakuten Intelligence provides millions of their users with trusted online retail data and insights, so they might better understand their e-commerce landscape. The client approached us to reimagine their website to boost their own brand, while also unveiling a few new key products.
In the website’s previous life, it lacked a meaningful content strategy. To remedy this, we mapped out a new information hierarchy to offer clearer product groupings, allowing users to get the information they need.
From a visual standpoint, we moved Rakuten beyond stock photography and into a more ownable look and feel. Their newly introduced suite of products inspired us to create a system of abstract illustrations that would give each product page their own “identity”, while still connecting to a larger visual whole.
To do this we sought to bring in a dedicated illustrator to create this world—someone that had a history of working with big brands and could bring a unique vision. We were extremely happy to bring in renowned designer Ryan Putnam, who provided some great work for Dropbox, Stripe and many personal and inspiring illustration projects.
The website really came to life through these illustrations, with the homepage setting the tone for the style and shapes customers would see across the subsequent products. Each page feels like they have their own identity with unique color washes, but never disconnected from the big picture. The iconography is abstract and clever, while not distracting from the information.
Another really important piece of this project, however, was creating a design system for the various charts that showcase Rakuten's insights. These live on the company blog and get shared out to third party sites, so they needed to have a higher standard in execution.
At the project’s end, we delivered a truly ownable vision and design system for Rakuten Intelligence. Even after Parade’s involvement, new pages have popped up while building on the world we helped create for them.
TaxChat Product Design & Branding
TaxChat is a robust 2-sided platform for customers to align with tax professionals via chat, and upload the files necessary to file for their return. As Principal Designer, I managed our team through the strategy and design of this 2-sided platform.
We designed the experience customer-first, mapping journeys against various personae (e.g., Single, Married), to fully understand the actions we needed to surface to users for the most optimal path. At the time, we hadn’t seen a product of this nature to which we could compare. Using mobile devices to capture and upload documents in a secure manner, while also connecting with a CPA, was a nascent approach at the time of the project’s start.
For us, pairing with a CPA was our unique challenge to solve. We determined that “soonest available” would provide the best experience to keep users moving through to filing, and chat would be the core experience the app would revolve around. The other key piece of this, then, would be designing a dashboard for CPAs to engage and file taxes on their customers' behalf.
In tandem with product design I also oversaw brand development, partnering with trusted brand designer Christopher Fairchild. We knew Chris was the right choice to separate TaxChat from well-known brands such as TurboTax and H&R Block.
The product was eventually sold to Ernst&Young, proving that there was indeed a need for this utility.