Since January 2018, I have been on a long-term engagement leading the UX team for Avista’s customer facing technologies group. I coordinate research and design activities, participate as a key contributor, and share my knowledge and skills across the organization.
Building Lean UX Practices
I have helped Avista’s digital products team incorporate user research, prototyping, usability testing, and user-centered design into its agile development process. Everyone on the team participates in learning about users, from formulating research questions to observing interviews and usability tests.
The product team focuses on understanding users and problems before moving into designing and building solutions. We talk to customers regularly and develop hypotheses about what they want and how to solve their problems. We then conduct tests to find out if various solutions are on target and continue to test every time we make a change. My work has transformed the team’s process and thinking about designing for people.
UX Leadership Philosophy
Research is a team sport
I’ve seen no better, or faster, way to get an entire team immersed in understanding users or usability problems than to involve everyone in research. It starts with group consensus around asking the right questions and continues with applying what what we learn in design and development. When teams start together and finish together, they build better products.
Share knowledge freely
Being a leader requires broad knowledge and expertise. It’s also about remaining curious, learning from those you work with, and being humble. I work to foster an environment where everyone learns from everyone else, while providing frameworks and processes for achieving excellent work.
Challenge people to grow
Professional and personal growth are important to everyone’s careers. I work hard to understand team members’ individual goals and provide opportunities and mentoring to achieve them. I am transparent about my own goals, challenges, failures, and successes. Modeling self awareness, vulnerability, and grit fosters a growth mindset and allows for learning from failure.
Effective UX teams are involved at the strategy and decision-making level. My job as a UX leader is to focus the entire product team, executives, and stakeholders on problems to solve—not merely solutions to implement.