User Research & Design Thinking

I love learning how people use things, especially when they use them in unexpected ways.

The majority of my professional and personal-interest research has looked at online and real-world spaces and how people interact with and intermingle the two. Over the past decade I have developed a deep understanding of how people use spaces – move through it, and improvise or change the use of spaces to serve their needs, both in the real world and online. My studies of space, movement, and interaction with one’s environment include audience and visitor research, parkour, and play, and online settings such as Facebook, forums, and YouTube videos.

I have primarily focused on technology products, and love tracking high-tech tools and devices that make the world a better place, like self-shading windows or imaging fabric, or electronic skin.

I continue to present on this and related topics at conferences, and publish white papers.

I also explore all of these ideas and more in my blog Mental Flowers.

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After having been involved in several website redesigns, managing and maintaining Facebook pages for corporate and non-profit organizations, home construction projects, and other user-centered projects over the years, I’ve learned that there is no “right answer” that fits everybody’s needs or preferences, and that understanding the user FIRST is crucial to a successful product or project.

As well as my professional training, I have almost 20 years of informal experience in theater, set design, and presentation, and have been an avid photographer since age 3. I can discuss the importance of the feel of a cup in one’s hand with ceramicists, the mood of lighting on a stage, or the flow of a web page design with graphic designers with equal comfort.

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