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Living through a major remodel (and what it means to a product designer)

I was in third grade when my dad decided to remodel the house. This wasn’t just installing a new kitchen or throwing up room partitions — it involved actually tearing down walls, building new rooms and completely changing my childhood home. The front porch migrated to the western side, the garage was demolished, a bathroom was added, and our home was basically unrecognizable by the end of the remodel. The attic was the only room to escape alteration, either because it was a key part of the structural integrity — or simply because it had been forgotten about. The changes were meant to give us a better home — private bathrooms, more space, central heating & A/C, and a generally updated and better insulated structure.

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Designing for Axial Profiles

We set out to design user profiles for Axial members because we wanted to build a better networking experience. For background, Axial is a marketplace that connects companies seeking capital (or looking to sell) with those wanting to invest or buy. Networking is core to our world, and networking occurs between individuals. However, the product originally placed emphasis on the company rather than the users interacting with the site. Displaying identity, and retaining it across job changes, is very important!

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Stealing a Base in Product Development

In an ideal process, design would be working in close collaboration with engineering teams on short product cycles. Plenty has already been written about Lean & Agile methodologies in product development, so I’m not here to explain them further. It’s generally accepted that these methodologies are critical to the success of a modern startup. But is that always the case? Could it make sense to put those processes aside and run with methods that more closely resemble waterfall?

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Narrative is a Tool

“Don’t dismiss narrative as a tool.” That was the advice I gave two graduate students from my alma mater Saturday afternoon. They were working on a VR project that would create spaces that could be used to experience various emotions.

Selected Works

AxialProduct Design

CircleUp BrowseProduct Design

CircleUp User ProfilesProduct Design

WritingProject type

BetterBoxProduct Design