A presentation about my career progression from Art to UX.
Hello, I’m Tim Broadwater
● Certified UX Unicorn
● Horror Aficionado
● Poodle Owner
● Tattoo Enthusiast
● Volunteer UXer
My back story… in 13 Lessons
● From Lumberport, West Virginia
● Youngest of three (older brother and sister)
● Graduated college in 2001 / Art and Graphic Design
● First job out of college / Graphic Designer (at the place I interned)
Career Lesson #1:
There are business deadlines and
goals... it’s not always about
making things look pretty.
● Spent a couple years teaching Animation, Desktop Publishing, Graphic Design,
and Video Production / IADT
● Started graduate school / M.A. in Art
● Accepted a position as a Multimedia Designer / CET
CET & Graduate School
Helping make educational software (about volcanoes, Lego Robotics Program, flight
simulation, etc.) while pursuing my M.A. in Art taught me to:
● Collaborate with developers and subject matter experts
● Refine and focus my work
● Perform research to inform and strengthen my work
Career Lesson #2:
Multiple mediums like text,
imagery, video, and gamification
can work together to craft a
positive (or negative) experience.
Eventually the work wasn’t reliable and I looked for more stable employment
● Accepted a position as Web Designer / WVU SOJ
The web as a medium
While working at WVU I could transfer to different departments, schools, and units
● Content Strategy
● Pattern Libraries
● Style Guides
Career Lesson #3:
alone isn't the best
way to design
Eventually, after 3 years...
I worked on a WVU HSC dev team which made a LMS and CMS. This is where I
became familiar with:
● Product Development
● Product Life Cycles
● Dev Practices
● Project Management
● Sprint Cycles
● User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
Career Lesson #4, 5, 6:
● Product design without users is product
design in a bubble.
● Development = Implementation
(many devs don’t consider the user)
● Prototyping in code is the best way to
show interaction design to a developer.
UX isn't on the road map!
● I constantly yearned for something, I didn't know that it was UX at the time
● I begged product and web development to talk to our users, test our software
against users, and to ask users what they thought (so we could improve)
● I included UX into my practices – development, design, and research – and I
would walk others through the same process
First step into UX, officially...
After about three years on a UX-less software team, I accepted a hybrid position at
WVU Libraries as a Front-End Developer/UX Designer. I immediately started:
● Building out a usability testing platform and process
● Writing and conducting usability tests
● Combining both qualitative and quantitative user data
Before long I was...
● Conducting moderated usability test with TechSmith Morae
● Using Qualtrics to gather user feedback
● Analyzing data from University Relations.
● Making recommendations based on user data and insights
Career Lesson #7:
UX is not UI (and
that still needs to
Career Lesson #8:
UX can facilitate
Within several years...
● Improved web applications and websites through quantifiable metrics
● Started going back to school for Graphic Design and UX / SCAD
● Pursued UX certification from the NNg
Eventually I got a promotion to UX Architect – informing web decisions and web
development based on usability test results – advancing WVU Libraries’ digital
repositories and special collections. I was the only person at WVU with UX in their job
Usability Stir Fry
A recipe called in the ‘Website and
Web Services Assessment’ chapter
of the Library Assessment
My M.F.A. focused on the parallels
between usability testing and play
testing for games.
By examining the intersection of
Design, UX, and Gamification I
developed a educational game that
taught the differences between sex,
gender, and attraction.
Career Lesson #9, 10:
● If we aren’t testing then we’re just
● You may not get the results you want
from user data, user research, or
Library to eCommerce
After focusing on UX in a library environment – digital repositories, collections, and
services – I found myself wanting to do different work in the field of UX.
I accepted a position at Dick's Sporting Goods as a Senior UX Designer.
All hail the UX Team!
At Dick's Sporting Goods I was able to do the following:
● Function in a UX Team instead of being the sole UXer
● Collaborate with BAs, PMs, PdMs, UI, CX, and Dev
● Work on larger projects with a greater audience of users
● Focus on aligning business goals with user goals
● Utilize new KPIs (from Clicks to Conversion)
To help PM and PdMs...
By being able to refine my focus on just UX design and research, I was able to:
● Calibrate my LOE to different projects, timelines, and deliverables
● Deliver the user insights that made the most impact
● Execute multiple UX design and UX research projects
● Plug into different teams while filling different roles
Career Lesson #11:
UX is a conversation...
a conversation to get different
people working together…
to consider the user.
+17% Holiday Taxo
As DSG prepared for the 2016
holiday season, Senior eCommerce
Merchandising Strategy requested
user research on naming
conventions, content, and L0 / L1 /
L2 structure for the “featured”
UserTesting.com was used to
develop and administer remote
usability tests for Senior
Strategy analysis. Tests focused on
men’s footwear taxonomy.
100 Remote Users
50 Non DSG Users 50 DSG Users
50 Qualtrics All Tasks Ranking 50 Qualtrics All Tasks Ranking
25 Qualtrics New Features
25 Optimal Open Card Sort
25 Optimal Tree Test
25 Qualtrics New Features
50 Qualtrics Sentiments Test 50 Qualtrics Current Experience Test
● Label Auditing
● UX Audits
● Moderated Usability Tests
I started talking on UX podcasts, doing webinars, writing articles for LibUX, talking at
UXcamps, and advising other UXers through Slack and social media. Some examples
are the following:
● UX Quackery
● User Interviews to JIRA tickets
● Usability of the Switch
I also started use my skills for a couple nonprofits on the side, helping them redesign
or fix their taxonomy, while completing my UXMC through the NNg.
DSG was moving towards eCommerce independence with a lot of silos and gray areas
in regards to roles, responsibilities, and ownership. This lead to confusion about UX’s
role in the company, and the following perceptions and struggles:
● UX performs SIT / UAT
● UX does bug-finding
● UX and UI do the same thing
● UX is an unlimited resource
Career Lesson #12:
A UX Team has to have services,
policies, and workflows that are
communicated to other business
DSG to Leidos
I started working as a UX Software Design Engineer for a software development
company that has a same-sized UX Team, but working more tandem with developers
(not offshore developers).
2X UX Team Leads
Now I work incorporating Lean UX within SAFe sprint cycles, giving the developers
what they need through design thinking facilitation, usability testing, interactive
wireframes, mockups, or even style guides. Projects on which I currently work are:
● DMHS DVA
Career Lesson #13:
Get users in the process –
research, design, development,
redesign, feature mapping, etc. –
as early as possible.
I'm still finding it's an uphill battle to justify ux in the institution, even though there is
perceived value, they're still has to be some justification. I'm looking for employment
where instead of fighting the uphill battle to teach the value of UX… the value is
understood. I want to focus on:
● Delivering quality UX
● Being part of a great team
● Consultation to help others learn how to do UX
● Finding user data to answer problems and questions
The End… Questions? Thanks!
Visit www.timbroadwater.com for design work, white papers, and prototypes.