I reduce complex problems into simple solutions that make people more efficient at work.
When things are going well, my day is a balance: - Meeting with partner teams and deconstructing their needs into problems my team can solve - Providing guidance and inspiration to other teams who need our design patterns to solve a problem - Working hands-on with designs, experimenting with alternate information architectures and visual treatments - Participating in or reviewing the results of research with our customers.
To be a successful senior-level designer, you must be capable of dealing with uncertainty. Many of the big problems that need solving are not well-defined, and rarely do people approach you with a clear plan for how to solve them. In particular, background in improvisational theater has given me an edge in dealing with uncertainty, with yes-anding problems, in empathizing with difficult colleagues, and with changing my perspective to find new solutions to particularly difficult challenges.
Here's the first step for middle school students
Exercise your brain by looking around you for technology that doesn't work well or frustrates you. How might you change it to improve your own experience or the experience of others? Try starting with your microwave or an email account. What would you make better?
"You can't switch careers, people won't appreciate your diverse experience."