7 years of experience focusing on desktop and mobile product design. I use heuristics, user-testing, and animations to create my solutions.

Portfolio

Process

Conducting the Research

Having enough context and doing the right research can make all the difference in the successful implementation of a product. For me, this usually involves looking at publications, analyzing best practices & competitors, and interviewing target users. From the information I gather, I jot down my findings and start creating user persona, storyboards, and user-flows. It's also vital to consider and discuss business goals at this point, to ensure mutual understanding between all stakeholders.

Occasionally, team brainstorming sessions or even a design sprint may be necessary depending on the scope and scale of the project. After the data and information has all been recorded, I filter out and refine the ideas for creating a requirements document.

Defining the Requirements

After condensing the research down to the personas/storyboards/user-flows, I present them along with other key findings to the development team and any stakeholders. It's not always enough to be just "good", or "in accordance with best practices or industry standards", so I try to work in extra value for the user that isn't offered anywhere else; sometimes this involves taking risks, but it can also just be ensuring fast and iterative cycles that continuously adapt and improve.

If necessary, it's at this point that compromises need to be made between business and user needs. By having both a technical and business understanding, I can consult and resolve issues here between parties. When all is said and done, I create a requirements doc, tasks, and issues, using a project management system (be it Asana, Atlassian, GitHub, etc.), and assign them to team members appropriately.

Creating the Plan

I usually start off with a site map or information architecture flow to help organize the requirements visually. Creating something fast and sharing with peers is a great way of fine-tuning the details. I also test experimental hypotheses (How-Might-We's, stretch goals) at this point too, and user-test certain user interactions and flows.

Designing the Interface

Wireframes, mockups, prototypes. All with rapid review and iteration cycles in between. I make and share designs as quickly as possible to garner feedback and perspectives. For certain interactions or interfaces, I code the prototypes myself for interactive prototypes for "pixel perfect" design, animation, and timing.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well an interactive prototype is worth dozens of hours of meetings and deliberation. Why show, when you can experience?

Polishing the Experience

Small issues can pile up. Some issues are so small, they can get ignored entirely. While there are definite benefits to having faster development cycles, it's good to stop every once in a while to take care of all the little things that can turn into huge problems later on (e.g. responsiveness, localization [i18n], accessibility [WCAG 2.0], design inconsistencies, etc.). During this time, I provide mentorship to the developers/designers to train everyone to be more attentive and to follow design/development guidelines.

Validating and Improving

Conducting stability/stress tests, and re-evaluating the UX on a production server is crucial, as new problems can be uncovered that didn't exist before. I also conduct regular user testing and data collection to monitor the health of new and existing features. It's a good opportunity to learn about the ever-changing needs of users, while identifying pain points.

Metrics are an easy way of revealing trends and issues, but the hard part is recording and looking at the right data. I can filter out the noise to reveal what the biggest issues are, and prioritize them using a value vs difficulty decision matrix.

It goes without saying that design is iterative; no solution is ever perfect. After testing and issue documentation, I start all over again — unless there's new problems to tackle!



My Core References

I owe a lot of what I know to online publications and literature. Here are some of my favourite and most useful books:

Honourable mention goes to Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman and Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug, which were the books that got me interested in UX.

Skills

Areas of Expertise

  • Product Design
  • HTML/CSS/JS (React)
  • User Testing
  • Accessibility

Resume

Charles Wu

UX Designer
Phone: +1-647-767-6126

Summary

Digital user experience designer with 7 years of experience. Has an engineering background and worked as a developer before transitioning into UX. Focused on discovering user-problems, and designing & iterating on solutions to build impactful products.

UX: Product Strategy, Design Systems, User Research, Responsive & Accessible (WCAG 2.0) Design, Wireframing & Prototyping, Information Architecture Design

Dev: HTML, CSS (SCSS, BEM), JS (React, Ember), Git, Python

Experience

UX Designer | Highline BETA

Jul 2018 – Jun 2019

  • Analyzed Female Funder traffic metrics and redesigned the site, which increased user engagement and conversion rates.
  • Created Highline Beta’s design system, increasing the design & development team’s consistency and efficiency.
  • Conducted user research to validate solutions for a new venture in the CPG industry. Coordinated with directors to define growth targets and customer experience. Iterated & implemented designs, exponentially growing the monthly customer base.
  • Designed and built the 100+ Accelerator site in React, which increased content clarity, branding, site metrics, SEO ratings, site accessibility, and mobile responsiveness.

Senior UX Designer | CareerJSM

Sep 2016 – Apr 2018

  • Mentored team members and led the company in best practices for UX through presentations and documentation.
  • Implemented accessibility and responsiveness standards across the platform, by conducting audits and adding automated testing.
  • Facilitated design sprints, which led to the creation/redesign of 2 features that improved user engagement and value.
  • Developed features with 2 other engineers using EmberJS, HTML/SCSS, and PostgreSQL.

UX Designer | DIVE Networks

Aug 2015 – Jul 2016

  • Researched environmental factors to optimize readability, creating standards and requirements for design components.
  • Hosted UX training sessions for the company, enabling engineering and product teams better design for customers.
  • Developed an automation script to detect visual bugs, increasing product quality and development efficiency.

UX Designer | Crowd Curio

Jan 2015 – Jun 2015

  • Researched and prototyped a citizen-science based platform
  • Improved user engagement by testing and optimizing different layouts and through added gamification elements
  • Designed information architecture maps, wireframes, and website, created with HTML/CSS/JS

UX Designer | McKinsey Digital, McKinsey & Company

Summer 2014

  • Created designs that visualized complex data, which highlighted insights and increased reading fluency.
  • Successfully pitched products to stakeholders with interactive prototypes (built with Framer JS).

UX Designer & Android Developer | Intelligent Mechatronics Systems

Fall 2013

  • Conducted user research and needs analyses to improve user accessibility, while ensuring safety and law compliance
  • Enhanced application interface and code optimization

UX Designer & iOS Developer | Ash City (acquired by alphabroder)

Spring 2013

I was responsible for the design and development of their debut iOS app. I researched and defined product goals for the app in order to increase sale volume. Independently designed, developed, and iterated on the app while presenting progress to management. Completed project within 4 months, increasing overall sales by 10+%.

Education

Systems Design Engineering, Option in Management Science

Class of 2015

University of Waterloo

Projects and Interests

Projects

  • Curio-X: Designed and optimized a citizen science and gamification project to digitally catalog plant images
  • BufferBox (acquired by Google): Led a team of 3 student designers and marketers for product growth
  • Proxima: Fabricated a glove to wirelessly transfer data via gestures
  • Focus: Built and published a study tool on Android
  • InFit: Developed a fitness tracking app to process biometric data

Recreation

  • In my free time, I enjoy rock climbing, photography, volleyball, biking, cooking, and drinking some neat scotch or whiskey.

FAQ

Some details about me

How did you get into design?

When I was a kid, I played a lot of Flash games, and when I eventually tried making my own game, it came out pretty rough. I moved on and learned Visual Basic 6, which was my first exposure to the drag-and-drop GUI, which was amazing! It began my career in building web experiences. Since then, I’ve learned more coding languages, developed more apps, but I also found myself spending more and more time designing interfaces and asking myself “How can this be better,” and “What does better even mean?”

Design methodologies have helped me figure out what the problems really are, but they've also helped me generate solutions—this is problem solving! And like brain-teasers, I just can’t get enough of them.

What does design mean to you?

Design means anticipating user needs. It is knowing what to present to the user, when, and how. Fail fast and fail often is a phrase I believe to be important and true.

How do you stay current on design patterns?

I read several curated news feeds like Sidebar.io and NNGroup, as well as posts from authors like Julie Zhuo. I draw inspiration from my hobbies as well, which include video games, cooking, climbing, and movies.

What tools do you use?

I like to use Figma for designs and mockups due to its flexibility, cross-platform nature, and ease of sharing. I use Illustrator when I need to make vectors though. For prototypes, I prefer to use HTML/CSS/JS due to development speed, accuracy, and its ability to replicate real results.