Arwen is a Lead User Experience Designer based in Charlotte, NC, USA.
user research • information architecture • product design
Ekos: wine harvest management
The Ekos Product team identified a key blocker for us to break into the wine market: supporting the harvesting and processing of grapes. As part of a team, I led the research and design for a new, mobile-first harvest management module in Ekos.
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"Arwen is the best designer/architect/product person I’ve ever worked with. I recently stopped saying she’s ‘one of’ the best, and I’ve just accepted that she’s at the top of the list of all the talented people I’ve worked with in my career. It’s simply a fact...She is truly a visionary product designer, an excellent communicator, and a natural teacher who helps her colleagues improve every day."
—Will Hortman, Head of Design, LeanTaas
Understanding, then designing
To illustrate my approach to user-centered research and design, I’ve created my own version of the Double Diamond popularized by the U.K. Design Council. All engagements are different and may not require this comprehensive approach. However, the overall process stays the same: understand the situation, define needs and goals, generate solution ideas, test those ideas, and refine until goals are met.
My take on the design double diamond concept
Users are people. Designing something both usable and useful for people requires getting to know them first. My research efforts start by getting to know the people involved: their goals, frustrations, typical day, and such.
Depending on the project, I may employ additional generative and evaluative research methods. I have conducted on-site contextual inquiries, ethnographic research, usability testing, task-based assessments, and more. I am an advocate for the effectiveness of interactive workshops, both for internal teams and with customers. I often craft custom workshop activities based on popular techniques, such as affinity mapping. The deliverables are usually insight reports and documentation — journey maps, task flows, storyboards, etc. — that are valuable for designers, stakeholders, product managers, and engineers alike.
Above: one of my favorite storyboards from my work at Rubbermaid Healthcare. It conveyed the urgency of a particular problem, encouraging the team to prioritize a user story they had previously dismissed.