melanie o'donnell | ux design portfolio march 2015

Download Melanie O'Donnell | UX Design Portfolio March 2015

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    building delightful experiences through strategic UX methods


    profile my process case study


  • Im a UX/UI Designer, positioned at the intersection of art & design. With significant experience in the art world, Im detail-oriented and have deep analytical abilities. I thrive on opportunities to solve complex problems; its in my nature.

    My UX philosophy is centered around content strategy and a deep empathy for the user. I love guiding decisions based on opportunities Ive identified in the research. My strong eye for visual design positions me to form these research-driven designs into beautiful, fulfilling experiences.

    I value collaboration and recognize the importance of a shared vision. I leave my ego at the door and empower my teams to deliver great user experiences.

    At a high level, my UX design process follows basic principles: research, design, test, iterate. The value I bring as a designer is in my market comprehension and philosophy, so this portfolio offers a closer look at how I build delightful experiences.


    The details are not then details. They make the design. -Eames

    You are not an advocate of your design; you are an advocate of your user.


    RESEARCH concept discovery & ideation

    user research synthesis

    DESIGN sketching

    usability testing iteration





    Synthesizing this information facilitates the refinement of the planned deliverables and the development of a product plan. At this point Ive defined key success factors and know who our users are and what we need to learn about them.





    This stage is where we define and research the design problem at hand. What is the current state of the concept/solution? Analyzing similar solutions and identifying strengths and weaknesses can become opportunities to leverage in the design. This context guides my design principles for creating a better experience for the user.

    The next step is to generate ideas about what solutions might be possible, to define the product more clearly. Is it viable? is it feasible? is it desirable?

    Understanding constraints and context is essential to determining the scope of the project. What attributes are going to be designed? What might make the experience delightful, and is that within the scope?

    business research & analysis, data collection, competitive analysis, stakeholder interviews, concept mapping, information architecture


    Approaching every new project with an open and analytical mind, I am focused on learning about the clients and users, peeling back the layers to best understand their needs and goals.

    What are the business requirements? What is desired?


    To build a great experience, its essential to fully understand the needs of the user. Through screener surveys and conversational or contextual interviews, Im able to discover their needs, goals, and fully understand their behaviors and motivations.

    I focus this part of the research on getting to the root of who the user is. When their pain points and needs are clear, the product can be designed empathetically and result in a successful solution. A design that is not founded on user research may not succeed.

    RESEARCH METHODS surveys, user interviews, contextual inquiries

    & observeask


    & analyze

    experience mapping, scenarios, concept mapping, storyboarding, personas, user flows



    Highlighted trends should validate the business goals. A strong research report can clearly define (or refine) the design plans going forward. Do the planned features meet the primary user goals?


    synthesizeWhen the user research stage is complete, I organize my findings and synthesize them. How do the user goals match the business goals of the enterprise?

    With the research, I am able to define major concepts, and develop personas and potential user flows. These visual illustrations of the research help inspire creativity going forward into the design process.



    With a thorough understanding of the challenge and its primary user base, I am able to develop high-level strategies leading into the design phase. Rapid sketching sessions, led by asking how we might accomplish certain goals, are effective in idea formation and further development of strategy.

    Sketching is an ideal way to communicate and explore strategies and concepts, without weighing them down with visual details that may be distracting.

    METHODS whiteboarding, ideation, developing task-flow diagrams, design studios, paper prototyping


    strategize& ideate


    & iterateevaluate

    With each phase in development of the design, usability testing should be conducted. Im always testing my designs. To determine whether a design is intuitive and simple to use, I observe and walk users through various tasks. These tests, done at varying levels of prototype fidelity, reveal problems in the design, whether in concept or in execution.

    Subtleties in behavior during testing are essential to the overall experience, so copious note-taking and recording of these sessions is critical. It allows me to accurately assess the status of the design and collect suggestions and perspective. I continue to refine the design until the experience is seamless.


    METHODS usability testing, data collection, iteration, critical thinking


    designOnce the design proves intuitive to users, it is ready to be built in higher fidelity. These detailed mockups and interactions bring the design to life and create a delightful experience for the user.

    The visual product should meet the design specifications and reflect the brand identity. The style of the design, including color schemes and typography communicate the values of the brand.

    DESIGN METHODS hi-fidelity wireframing, style tiles, graphic design, color &

    typography evaluation

    & build



    A glance at couple projects I developed as a UX Design Immersive student, & my role in each:

    kindle socialparagon sportscollaborated on

    research, led synthesis & strategy, sketching & usability testing,

    assembled final prototype and visuals

    solo project, research, built

    desktop prototype, performed usability


    work samples




    MY ROLEWorking with two UX designers, I managed the project as client-facing lead from kick-off to post-presentation wrap-up. I assisted with the creation and fulfillment of a robust research plan, synthesized the research and built reports to present to the stakeholders. I developed personas, user flows, created the app map and concept maps. I also sketched wireframes and built the prototype.

    Research Report (key takeaways, use cases, user stories, user-flows, personas)

    Designs: Product sketches, medium-fidelity wireframes, annotated wireframes and app map

    Usability Testing Insights Design Recommendations and Suggested Features Style Tiles A Clickable Mobile Prototype


    FoodtoEat is an online ordering and concierge catering platform that helps companies feed their teams delicious food from the best NYC restaurants, food trucks and caterers.

    We were asked to design a iOS mobile application that allows users to find restaurants and place online food orders. With a team of two other UX designers, I aimed to design a viable product that is aesthetically pleasing, user-friendly and leverages the companys differentiators.

    With just over two weeks to complete the design, we prioritized certain flows based on the business goals and most common use cases. We worked with their development team to better understand the technical limitations and requirements for the app.


    business analysis, stakeholder interviews, competitive analysisMETHODS

  • process & discovery


    Received ~60 survey results

    Conducted 6 in-depth user interviews

    Conducted 15+ competitive app usability tests with users (Seamless,, Chipotle, Foursquare, Eat24)

    Conducted 5+ group order and individual order usability tests

    The initial research gave us a general understanding of online ordering habits. When we dug deeper through interviews & contextual inquiries, we uncovered many pain points that people experience when using other apps to order food online.

    With these key takeaways, we were able to develop use cases, user stories, task flows, and personas.



    key screens: extended research


    We held timed sketching sessions to develop leading design options for several key pages. Each design studio was focused on exploring how we might achieve certain goals through design.

    After completing our initial competitive research, user interviews, and usability tests in the food ordering and group ordering space, we discovered an opportunity to strategize around the experience of opening the app and searching for food, since it is a key flow and therefore an opportunity for differentiation. We decided to dive deeper into researching and exploring design solutions around the home/food-finding experience. We c