I was first exposed to UX prinicples in a cognative psychology class in 2002. After finishing my psychology degree at The Ohio State University, I thought I would be heading to grad school to pursue a Masters in I/O Psychology, but the more I learned about that field the less it felt like the right fit for me.
After moving to Cincinnati, a family friend recommended I apply to the schoold of DAAP at the University of Cincinnati. Entering the Digital Design program there brought a whole new way to leverage my psychology degree in solving user problems. Throught their Co-Op program I gained exposure to a wide variety of design opportunities — small agency work, 3-D modeling & rotoscoping, and enterprise solutioning. My last Co-Op was at J.C. Penney where I built out a strategy for templatitizing generative product overview content to enhance their online shopping experience.
As an employee at J.C. Penney, I worked on the physical extension of their digital storefront and building out their mobile point-of-sale solution. I also produced prototypes for RFID-based contactless payment systems and leveraged eye-tracking to build a ditital mannequin that could give price points and paired pieces of clothing to each shopper.
After a few years, I moved over to Southwest Airlines. I started as a contractor and worked on the redesign of My Account. After being converted to an employee, I worked on designing the Hotel and Car shopping experiences. One of my favorite projects was our Low Fare Calendar — this was one of the first projects where we leaned on bio-feedback in usability testing to help guide a design direction. Since 2017 I have been leading the UX Research & Design team, where we guide ehnahcements and updates to digital experiences across Southwest.com, the in-flight entertainment portal, Southwest Business, Southwest Cargo, and multiple internal tools.
One of the challenges I am most proud to have helped solve at Southwest Airlines was building out clear career pathing for the UX Designers and Researchers. When I started leading the team, there were only four design focused roles available, which limited potential for both employee and business growth.
As J.C. Penney was transitioning their stores to meet the needs of their customers, I was asked to look in to new ways to integrate the digital and physical shopping experience. One of the experiences I proposed was leveraging screens to bring the mannequins to life and reduce the need to have in-store associates update the store layout as often.
I lead a team of designers and researchers to build out simple, contextually relevant, and anticipatory experiences to meet Customer needs and business objectives. One of the major initiatives I took on as a leader was to build out the career pathing beyond Senior Designer for those that want to remain as individual contributors. We have also imparted a culture of testing and my team is regularly tapped to help Product Owners identify high-impact improvements through biometric usability testing.
I worked on an internal-facing technology team to develop digital solutions for in-store associates and prototype new technologies. During my time at JCP I helped build out the first generation of in-store mobile point-of-sale technology. I also designed digital sales tools for the custom window covering and Sephora teams, as well as built out the internal tool design system.
My education at DAAP focused on using design as a tool to solve a problem. Everything we did was based on how does the end product result in a better experience for the user. They wanted to teach us how to think critically about a problem so we could be successful in any field of design.
During my time at Ohio State, I augmented my Psychology education as a lab assistant and worked on psychology studies looking at how music effects memory and cognition.