My Journey at Peak Democracy: From Design Leadership to Product Management

The purpose of this post is to outline my journey at Peak Democracy, to share what I’ve learned and express my enthusiasm at the next stage of my career as I take on a new role as Product Manager & Lead Designer at Peak Democracy (now a part of OpenGov). Backstory In March, I began consulting for Peak Democracy—a company on a mission to build public trust in government. Their business centers on a web-based product called Open Town Hall, which is widely considered to be North America’s leading online civic engagement platform. Open Town Hall was

Are Smartphones The Cigarettes of Our Generation?

What if the very tools that have the greatest potential to change the world are also crippling us from doing so? The Problem of Smartphone Usage Here are some stats to illustrate my thinking: The average smartphone user checks their phone 221 times per day, starting by checking their email and Facebook at 7.31am[1]. US consumers now spend over five hours per day on their phone. That amounts to 76 full days in a single year[2]. While the exact figures vary depending on the source, smartphone usage statistics have continued to increase year-on-year. This trend represents one

What is The Holy Grail of UX Design?

This week in my mentorship session with James Box, my good friend and design mentor, we discussed what he considers “The Holy Grail of UX Design’. The Problem One of the problems I have been facing in my work at Peak Democracy recently is that I’ve conducted almost a dozen user interviews in effort to build empathy for our users, but I don’t know the best way to uncover meaningful insights from those interviews. I have almost ten hours of interview recordings and troves of notes that I wrote while users spoke. I asked James to help me

How To Run A Product Design Playback: A User-Centered Perspective

Last week I had the great pleasure of launching the MVP of a product whose design I've been leading at Peak Democracy. Peak Democracy is a 10-year-old Bay Area company on a mission to build trust between local governments and their residents. Every week, I’ve been meeting with James Box, my mentor and good friend who is the Director of UX Design at Clearleft. In this week’s session, we critiqued the MVP and also touched a bit on running successful playbacks. Playbacks James suggested that playbacks should: Frame the problem we as a team are trying to solve

Fluffy Edges & The Black Box: A Mentorship Session With James Box

Over the past two weeks I've had the pleasure of reigniting my mentorship with James Box, Clearleft's User Experience Director and all-time awesome guy to work with. I've decided to write a blog post every week as a reflection from my week's sessions with James to help me internalize the concepts we discussed but also to share what I've learned. In my current contract, I'm leading product design for a Bay Area company called Peak Democracy. This role has surfaced a myriad of complex challenges that range from a tactical level (interaction design, front-end development, project management, etc.) to a