Product Designer | Feb 2021 - present
As the sole designer at the company, I’m responsible for modernizing the user experience of a product first designed in 1998, which includes establishing a new design system, conducting research with our user base and driving our integration of accessibility best practices, including the use of semantic HTML, screen-reader best practices, and plain-language usage. This requires developing and investing in quality working relationships with my colleagues across engineering, support, and sales, as well as with DemandStar’s CEO.
Ad Hoc, LLC
Senior UX Designer: Front-end Specialist | January 2017 - January 2021
Ad Hoc is a federal contractor that got its start during the healthcare.gov rescue. I was a relatively early addition to its design team, and over the course of four years I worked on contracts for VA, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and GSA Fleet while also supporting internal Ad Hoc projects. Because my roles on each contract varied so widely, they're presented here as individual posts.
Ad Hoc: GSA Fleet
UI/UX Lead | Oct 2020 - Jan 2021
GSA Fleet is a brand-new program, responsible for modernizing vehicle fleet management software for the US government. After being put forward as key personnel, and running the bid UX team, I began work as the UI/UX lead for GSA Fleet in October 2020. I ran a team of five designers and researchers, who are responsible for defining the user experience for a brand-new, modern fleet management platform.
Ad Hoc: CMS End-Stage Renal Disease Quality Reporting Program (EQRS)
Senior Designer: Front-end Specialist | Aug 2019 - Oct 2020
EQRS -- End-stage Renal Failure Quality Reporting System -- is an effort to modernize the three legacy systems that CMS uses to determine how clinicians are performing, with respect to rendering care to renal patients. I rolled on to the project mid-stream to provide subject-matter expertise in human-centered design and research practices. As one of three designers, I ultimately led the redesign of a substantial chunk of the EQRS ecosystem: the Quality Incentive Program. In an effort to standardize the user interface across EQRS, I also advocated for and eventually rebuilt the program's design system, with the intent of leaving it so that it might be picked up easily by another dev or designer.
Ad Hoc: CMS Quality Payment Program (QPP) & Website Development Support (WDS)
Senior UX Designer: Front-end Specialist | Aug 2018 - Aug 2019
Splitting time between QPP and WDS, I advocated for and supported a pair of design systems at different levels of maturity. The QPP design system was only an idea when I began work, and I spent a fair amount of time auditing the UI and working with the development and design teams to bridge gaps in understanding and need. By the time I left, we had a prototype system in development. The WDS design system, on the other hand, was already in active use when I joined the program. The work was to advocate for its use across CMS properties while simultaneously maturing the system itself. As a team of two, we focused on socializing the system to people unfamiliar with design systems as a concept, while also considering best practices for governance, growth, and component deprecation.
Ad Hoc: Vets.gov (now VA.gov)
Senior Designer: Front-end Specialist | Jan 2017 - Aug 2018
Working in concert with the Digital Service at VA, I helped to design and validate a variety of forms and services on Vets.gov, including a Discharge Upgrade tool that helped over 100,000 Veterans regain access to their benefits. I also originated the design system, affectionately known as Formation, working directly with two engineers to get stakeholder buy-in and bring the system into production. I was ultimately able to use the design system to support the Vets.gov/VA.gov brand consolidation, using it to rapidly code prototypes of the new VA.gov homepage.
Independent Design and Development
Senior Designer: Front-end Specialist | 2007 - now
I provide freelance design and development skills to individuals, small businesses, and agencies. Lately, I've been supporting a pair of Shopify websites for two women-owned small businesses with very different sets of needs. Ellen Hoffman is a longstanding client of mine, a jeweler who at the end of 2019 decided to move off the Wordpress e-commerce platform I'd set up in 2015 to Shopify, looking to ease the back-end management of her business, Ellen Hoffman Designs. When COVID hit, I heard from the owner of Pied Piper Kids, a 50-year-old brick and mortar children's store in Baltimore, MD. Facing the possibility of losing her business when the city shut down, she wanted to replace her decade-old webpage with a Shopify storefront. We were able to launch her store inside three weeks, and it remains online even as her brick-and-mortar has reopened. One of my longest-running projects is BorderStories, an independently produced documentary series that launched in 2008 and remains online. In 2017, I pulled down the original, Flash-based site I'd built while traveling with the documentary team and replaced it with a much more lightweight site that houses the YouTube cut of the documentary.
Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University
Analyst | 2016
As part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative, spent 11 months doing on-site city government assessments, determining how cities collect and use civic data. The team would then use that information to build custom plans to help cities use their data to more efficiently reach their municipal goals. Because of my design and development background, I also handled GovEx’s internal tech projects and provided feedback on external consultants’ design work.
Code for America
Fellow | 2015
Worked with Miami-Dade County, applying best practices in user experience and modern software development to facilitate the way the government and its residents interact with one another.
Senior news designer (‘11 - ‘13). Designer (‘08 - ‘11) | 2008 - 2013
Responsible for infographics, maps, charts, and long-form multimedia stories for CNN.com, including coverage of the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections and other major news events. In my last year with CNN.com, I partnered with our resident health writer to pitch and launch CNN Lightyears, a now-dark space and science blog on CNN.com. I wrote stories for Lightyears, while also finding other writers to provide content and editing others' work as appropriate.
- Human-centered design practices: designing and building for responsiveness and accessibility, facilitating user research and discovery exercises
- Design systems: originating, growing, and maintaining new and existing systems
- Rapid prototyping with flat files or in code
- Content management: Wordpress, Shopify
- MA, Museum Studies - Johns Hopkins University
- MA, Journalism & Communication - University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
- BSc, Mass Communication - Boston University
I knit, sew, metalsmith, and generally like to make things. I'm also a private pilot, love space exploration and speak fluent Spanish.