I’m a Product Designer with an extensive background in designing (and building) applications and websites for all different types of use cases. I’m also a keen adventurer, snow skier and beer drinker – love them hoppy ales! If you’re keen to learn a little more about my background in design/business then have a read below.
Design degree and my first design job
I started out as a website designer when I first entered the design world post-university (Bachelor of Applied Sciences w/ Hons) at a Saas company called JobAdder. These guys were seriously disrupting the recruitment industry which was plagued with manual processes, much like Xero has disrupted the accounting industry. Working for a company that had 5000 active users daily, I quickly realised I was less fascinated with the visual appeal of interfaces and more obsessed with how things functioned.
- Did the flow make sense?
- Where’s the information hierarchy?
- What’s the primary action we’re wanting the user to take here, and conversely, what are they actually trying to achieve at any given moment?
I found that, over time, I got better and better at understanding user problems at their root before even thinking about crafting solutions.
Jumping ship to startup life
After working with JobAdder for a while, I (somewhat) naively jumped ship with a bunch keen lads to work on our own startup project. The concept was essentially identical to what’s now known as medium.com, except we were building it from scratch with next to no money (in comparison) and learning how to run a business at the same time. (Read more about this on StartupSmart). Not only was I designing the interface and mapping out user flows each day, I was also appointed to steer the company, raise our seed rounds and handle all ends of the business alongside my co founder.
It was a wild ride of exceptional highs and the lowest of lows.
In hindsight, the exposure to startup life, running a business and the skills I learn’t from it were invaluable to where I find myself today.
My Unique Value Proposition
My UVP sits with my ability to bring a multi-faceted, hands-on and practical approach to any design team, with the ability to lead from the front too. Where some designers will obsess over the small stuff, I’m able to see the bigger picture and realise that releasing a well rounded skateboard, is better than a half-finished sports car with all the bells and whistles. Focus on the core issues, deliver solutions to those first, then improve with delight.
Nowadays I’m leading a small team of designers and looking after a large set of products under the WPMU DEV brand. While I still get to design things daily (yay), most of my value is spent advising on user experience issues, and managing the high-level direction of our product suite.
Whilst I’m not the greatest wordsmith, I have tried in the past to communicate some of my ideas on this blog but have always found it difficult to motivate myself to do. I much prefer discussing ideas and concepts over a hoppy pint on a Friday afternoon. If you’re in my area, give me a bell and let’s hang.
A couple of awards I’ve snagged:
2017 & 18 – Smush (one of my plugin designs) won the top prize at Torque Plugin Madness competition two years running.
2013 – Named a Future Maker by StartupSmart
2009 – Received Annie Aiken Memorial Award for highest-achievement in BAppSc.
2008 – Won Best Use of Design Award at National Business Review Audacious Business Competition