Building a Persona Spectrum instead of a User Persona

The Brief

Simplify our configuration page for QuickBooks: Users cannot configure this add-on application without our direct help guiding them through the questions. How can we best help the user install and configure the application on their own?


What does the feature look like today? Why?

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My client started a business as a consultant for Unreal Engine (UE4) development and built several game play systems that he could sell in the UE4 marketplace. He asked for a website to promote his business that matched his level of talent.

The Research

Unfamiliar with the UE4 gaming culture, I needed to understand his users. Who paid money for UE4 material? Who were the users that enjoyed this medium as a hobby? My audience was going to be game designers and developers but also game studio execs who needed a piece of game quickly. …

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Write, design, produce. My days start, end, and run on gratitude and voracious discovery. Each day, it is easy to see the glorious colors and magnificent design in the world.

My worldview is constant abundance. There is always more to give. We should not take for granted that we are safe, secure, and our wants are minimal. Show this gratitude by sharing abundance.

Let’s give of what we have because there will always be more. Be it food, shelter, time, talent, treasure, love, beauty, patience, kindness, goodness. There is always more in this world. Make room for it.

Our world…

How a release notes nightmare became a rewrite opportunity

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Cisco Release Notes circa 2009

Release notes are a thankless job. Even teams with solid release note practices say release notes are a necessary evil to record what changes happened to your product and when they went out. The current trend on the internet asks software teams to treat the notes like they are a marketing tool and to promote your brand through the exciting changes to your product. In the words of the great and powerful Seth Godin, “Tell your story.” But what a jump from “fixed this broken thing” to telling a product’s story sprint after sprint.

In working through your product’s story…

Building electric duck designs

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I asked myself “how do I stop being so scared?” That’s it. Sitting at my desk between my “emotion a day” calendar and “complaining is not a strategy” poster, chewing on my fingernail, watching my cursor blinking at me from a blank page, I pivoted over to Medium to type “what am I afraid of?”

I have no excuse for fear. I have deep talents for writing, learning, studying, analyzing, creating, and getting to the heart of any problem before me. I have intentionally grown these talents in my career and life.

I don’t settle. I don’t run from a…

ChickTech OC High School Kickoff: UX/UI Workshop

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The slide deck for the workshop

The future of tech depends on our technology feeling less and less like tech. As users are surrounded by devices and software as a part of their daily tasks, they expect their technology to be easy to use and a delightful experience.

There is no excuse in 2018 to tell users to “just read the documentation” to use a software application. The future is not only usefulness and usability — but a desirable and delightful experience.

Pablo Picasso famously said:

It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.

So I said…

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The Help Center for my project management software employer had been abandoned because DevOps was already balancing the workload of our web application and our public website. The support team’s site was another location to maintain. With this in mind, it looked like this to our customers:

A case for Information Architecture

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Designers just make stuff prettier, right. They’re all graphic artists. Wrong! Seriously wrong. Many designers are graphic artists by background. They have good taste. They know what looks pleasing and what doesn’t look pleasing to the eye. I am NOT that kind of designer. I am far too left-brained for that. Instead, I want something pleasingly useful. I want something so elegant to use, the user doesn’t feel like it’s been designed.

Up until this point, I have shared with you my steps to research a problem, draw insights from this research, and answer the “how might we” question.


An App for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

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When given a problem, start brainstorming solutions. Something great will come out of that smattering of ideas. This is wrong. I previously explained how I better understood the Whole Foods customer, and how understanding your user leads designers to a series of solutions. These steps below outline how understanding your audience brings you to a series of solutions, and iterating those solutions brings you to your best ideas.

Solving a problem in the service industry

After building upon our understanding of our user and recognizing themes, opportunity areas, and answering the “how might we” question: Ta-dah! First diamond of the double diamond design theory:

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Who is a Whole Foods customer, really?

Assumptions vs Facts

I know how users experience my software. In my role as a project management software project manager, I knew how to ask good questions and build a case for the feature we should design next.

You can do design without research. You can also drive blindfolded. But both have expensive consequences and usually end in being upside down in a ditch. ~Dylan Wilbanks

Once I learned to backfill my knowledge of my product with my knowledge of my user, solutions start to present themselves at the end of the first diamond.

Maggie Campbell, UX designer, product manager, life-long learner, weeknight warrior, chronic over-thinker, deficit levels of attention

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