I have dedicated my life and 20+ year career to better understanding people and computers and to finding the best way to allow both to interact. I’m a User Experience specialist, which in my mind, simply means that I work to make the interaction between people and computers as seamless as possible. If the best-designed interfaces are the ones that you don't notice, then I spend my days making my contribution as invisible as possible. To achieve this, I am a strong proponent of evidence-based design that relies on user research. I've learned that my work and that of the various teams I support is best guided by objective data that is guided through a collaborative process involving all project stakeholders. I strongly believe in the power of teams and the wisdom of the crowd.
I practice a strength-based design leadership management style that capitalizes on what my team members are truly great at. It’s based on the work of Don Clifton and discussed in the book “Strengths Based Leadership” by Tom Rath. Due to the positivity and optimism of this approach, employees respond with greater workplace engagement and professional success.
There has been a lot of work in recent years to have designers follow the agile software development model. Interestingly enough, I still find that the alternative approach, the waterfall model, is commonly used, especially at certain points in the UX design process. In this article I take a deep look at the two models and when to strategically use both.
Read time: 11 minutes
In this article, I discuss the process that I follow as a UX designer. Each of its four stages is discussed in detail and I map out how the process adapts to the different development methodologies—agile and waterfall.
Read Time: 4 minutes
When it comes to organizing the personnel on a design team there are three different approaches. Understanding the available options is the key to managing your creative resources effectively. Read on for an explanation of each, their pros and cons, and when to use each one.
Read Time: 3 minutes
The Gestalt principles explain how human vision is wired to perceive shapes, figures, and objects. In this article, I explain how that guides my UX and UI work. (Part 2)
Read Time: 3 minutes
The Gestalt (German for shape or figure) principles of visual perception were created by a group of German psychologists, including Carl Stumpf, in the early 20th century to explain how human visual perception works. It explains that human vision is wired to perceive whole shapes, figures and objects and not disconnected edges, lines and areas. These observations guide my work as a UX and UI designer.
Read Time: 10 minutes
I recently started using a “smart” elevator. Unfortunately, it isn't that smart. It reminded me of a conversation that I had with my friend Gavin Lew about how important UX is when it comes to AI. It also got me thinking about a few key design principles from Don Norman’s book The Design of Everyday Things like affordances, signifiers, mapping, and feedback, which I explain in detail.
Read Time: 4 minutes
An empathy map is a helpful tool that allows UX professionals to better understand people. Important user considerations get mapped out in these documents—including the user’s thoughts, feelings, actions, and words. As such, empathy maps are a popular and helpful tool that fits well in the UX repertoire.
Read time: 3:57
I continue my observations from a recent trip to Europe, focusing this time on the user experience of two grocery shopping experiences that vary greatly in their usability and what they ask of their customers.
Read Time: 2:41
More insights from my talk with thought leader Gavin Lew about several topics, including artificial intelligence and how product designers can innovate AI by using UX.
My career has been distinguished by a wide variety of accomplishments. I began designing online interfaces in 1995 while I was a graduate student at the Art Center College of Design and working at the Los Angeles Times on their first Web site. Since then I have designed hundreds of projects for well-known companies (including Audi, Louis Vuitton, the New York Times, the Smithsonian Institute, Glamour, UniCredit, Bank of America, McKesson, Visa, Pfizer, Merck, and Zappos), managed two of my own design firms (Chroma Design and Cognigencia), worked as a senior design executive at Oracle, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Motorola. I’ve taught at three different universities, won over a dozen awards and hold two patents for user interface innovations while designing the National Geographic site.
In recent years my career has taken on an international perspective. I'm currently located in San Francisco, California and until recently was working from a second office in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I have worked on individual assignments in Paris, London, Tokyo, Beijing, São Paulo. In the US I have also lived and worked in New York City and Los Angeles.
Macy’s Social Shopping App
I have a broad range of skills, which is a result of the length and evolution of my practice. I pride myself on being a hands-on designer while also be equally capable of leading teams. For me, the two go hand in hand. My management style is to lead by example.
Computer Human Interaction
Information Architecture (IA)
User Experience (UX)
User Interface Design
User Research & Testing
“Ryan took our un-styled v2 product and in just a few days he developed a beautiful new design for it. Over the course of 8 weeks we went back and forth iterating on the design until all stakeholders were satisfied. The product of his work reflects his expert domain knowledge, eye for detail, and mastery of UX design.
It was always a pleasure working with him and I hope to have the opportunity again!”
— Jay Taylor, Senior Director Of Engineering, ThreatStream Inc.
“It’s rare that you come across standout talent like Ryan. I have the pleasure of often collaborating with Ryan on many interesting Customer Experience topics and I am constantly impressed by his extensive experience in designing and assessing digital experiences across different industries.”
— Davide Di Labio, Manager, Presso BearingPoint
“Ryan consulted as a manuscript development reviewer for books for the interaction design and information architecture profession. He provided excellent technical and editorial critique which resulted in a much improved product every time. Hopefully you will have a chance to get him to help you, too.”
— Diane Cerra, Executive Editor At Morgan & Claypool Publishers
“Ryan brought a depth of User Experience knowledge to his consulting work on Prevention.com. Ryan was also able to dig deep into mastering the intricacies of some fairly complex vendor data integrations, which helped inform his excellent interface recommendations. He was also always extremely professional, organized and prepared. I enjoyed working with Ryan, and welcome the opportunity to work with him again on future projects.”
— Beverly May, Director, Product Development And Consumer Experience, Rodale