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"Designers solve problems. They create objects that people can touch, click, build on, admire, and even fall in love with. Designers fix things that are broken, build things that are new, and create systems for people to use."
– @jgadapee, Creative Director @Radius

 

 

Hi, I'm Carolyn. 

Thank you for visiting. 

"What does a Director of Product User Experience do?" Confusion in the industry these days is common. The role of UX leadership is often mistakenly viewed through the lens of creative UI design, animated interaction design, and coding/UI engineering. The tactical and strategic practice of managing product UX is something else altogether. Do you recall having a sense of delight or satisfaction interacting with an app on your device when it did exactly what you needed, how you needed it? This is UX. As a principal specialist, I create smart experiences for humans interacting with technology by way of empathetic and immersive, functional and beautiful product architecture – design architecture. Information architecture. Usability architecture. My core execution is coalescing features and functionality to form intuitively usable products – via any technology, any platform. As a Director of Product UX, I bring multi-disciplinary specialists together, empowering them to do their best work in service of both the user and the business. We create software, smartly designed for more pleasure, less pain.

Part of my job is to also make the complex software development process great for the people with whom I work. Collaboration, communication, flexibility, empathy and professionalism – this is how we get it done, minimizing inherent chaos, meeting our shared goals. I inspire innovation, play and informed exploration throughout the user-centered iterative design process, grounded in best practices, balanced by business insights, with a never-waning focus on our users. 

Approach:
My approach to UX is rooted in problem–solution; balancing business needs with user's experience at every level. Before taking on a project, I start by asking:

  • Why are we making this? What are we aiming to achieve?

  • Who are we making it for? (Do they actually want or need it? Are we creating the opportunity to need it?)

  • Does this already exist in the market, and if so, how can we make it better?

  • If the product exists but is not meeting expectations, I perform a heuristic to diagnose it’s challenges and identify a roadmap for improvement.

  • If your teams and design org are also finding themselves challenged, finding a way through to a more functional, collaborative, cohesive team environment is also a specific specialty consulting service I provide.

Core Practice Areas:

  • Product Discovery & Kickoff; UX Strategy – Research – Planning

  • Creative design, hiring and managing designers, defining the org’s creative process

  • Systems design for global software, enterprise, defense, healthcare, STEM & beyond

  • Exploration, prototyping, concept design, futuristic UI

Sectors of applied focus for innovative human factors & product design:

  • Spatial UX, AR/VR/MR

  • Autonomous vehicles + associated technologies (LIDAR, Geospatial, etc.)

  • Cognitive Systems, Machine Learning + AI

  • Connected Hardware & IoT, Robotics, UAV

  • Blockchain

  • National Defense: Aerospace, Military, DoD

  • Education and Advanced Training Techniques

  • Physical interaction (voice, gesture, eye tracking, haptics)

  • Federal, Cyber Security, InfoSec

  • Games, Simulations, Entertainment

  • Healthcare, Science, Genomics, Neurotechnology & BCI

I am drawn to real world challenges, the big stuff that impacts our lives and well-being, and that of our world; to invest in humans and companies that are transforming the world positively using technology.

Interested in working together? Reach out – drop me a note! 


What it's like to work with me? 

A few quotes from my recent co-workers, managers, peers and clients…
I am so very honored and grateful for their infinitely generous words. For more reviews, please visit my LinkedIn profile. 

"I had the pleasure of working with Carolyn in the early days of Meta. She helped us conceive of a whole new way of interacting with technology through augmented reality. She is great at synthesizing input from stakeholders into a UX strategy, and she is one of a small number of people who understand 3D user interfaces and how the digital and physical worlds meet in AR. I'd love to work with her again."
– Soren Harner, Chief Product Officer, Meta; VP of Engineering, Mulesoft


"I've worked with Carolyn at a few places now [Blitz, NcSoft, Meta], and it's always a pleasure. She's a consummate pro with a laser-focus on users and their needs. If you have a complex problem to solve, Carolyn has the skill and experience to find the solution. Quickly, and correctly.

Why do I recommend her? Because Carolyn has an innate mindset to think from a user experience perspective. This is a very rare quality. Lots of people can use OmniGraffle or UXpin and throw together some wireframes. They might even look polished. But what's far more important in a user experience designer is the subtle thinking that goes into the experience. How does the thing work? Where are the hiccups in the system? Pretty wireframes or other docs may not get you where you need to go. You need deep focus on the complexities to make the overall experience simple. So you need Carolyn. She is hard-wired to think through every problem with that kind of nuance. Like someone who is born with insane musical ability or gnarly math skills, it's just the way she thinks.

The UX mindset is something you can't train into someone. It's just there or it's not. So if you have a chance to hire Carolyn, you should close your browser right now and go do just that. Highest recommendation."
– Brendan Works, Principal Program Manager, Microsoft – HoloLens Group


"I have worked with Carolyn for more than a year at Meta HQ. We carried on many HCI-UX research projects together. Carolyn is an incredible blend of unleashed creativity and analytical, detail-oriented UX expert. Her experience spans across many different tech products, so that during the period we worked together at Meta it was immediate for her to master the uncharted territory of AR-UX and design incredible experience.

I met Carolyn in my transition from academia to industry, and I couldn’t have better luck in finding a colleague whose expert advice, always delivered with a smile, got me on board at twice the speed I could ever hope."
– Stefano Baldassi, Senior Director | Analytics and Neuroscience at Meta


“As the director of mobile development, I worked directly with Carolyn on UX/UI design for an iPad app. It’s hard to start with anything in particular because there are so many great things to talk about after working with Carolyn. The easiest thing is the final product. Carolyn’s work is meticulous, and her designs are innovative and spot on to what one would expect in this space. She not only takes the time to understand the product she is producing for, but she obviously understands the technology and innovations that go into making it work effectively. She is only satisfied with 110% effort, and it shows in the quality of her work.

Working with Carolyn on a day to day basis also couldn’t be easier. She communicates effectively, and is constantly available for feedback. Her understanding of developer’s needs is also quite exceptional. She is very in tune with the needs of end users, and delivers a product and design that makes final implementation exceptionally easy. I look forward to working with Carolyn again in the future.”
— Basem Elsokary, Dir. of Mobile Software Engineering, Health Symmetric, Inc,; Senior Dir. of Technology, Device Development, Beachbody


“I have had the pleasure of working with Carolyn in many different capacities... I was previously her hiring manager at SK+G Agency, and have also been managed (and had the honor of being mentored) by Carolyn as I began my studies in UX/IA.

To say Carolyn is a competent Senior UX Designer would be a drastic understatement. I’ve seen her take the most convoluted and complicated projects and create documentation that is not only understandable, but actionable by every member of the team. She is always open to collaboration and always willing to listen, but also comes to the table with with a plan. She’s not someone who will meekly accept your thoughts but will challenge ALL your assumptions on a project, making the end product not just good, but excellent. She picks up concepts quicker than almost anyone else I know.

I count Carolyn as a mentor and colleague whom I know will not only do their part but help everyone on the team. She is one of the most skilled UX professionals I’ve ever encountered.”
— Jim Duong, Managing Director at Five & Done Dallas