Summary

I design and build high quality software that people love to use, and I wrote a book about it called Making It Right.

My main focus is on helping teams develop their user experience and product strategies, and I help make the strategy real by designing and building products that deliver measurable business results. I further help teams create and execute software development processes that are efficient and tailored to the unique needs of the business.

I spent 7 years in Silicon Valley and then moved to Cape Town, South Africa for 4 years. I moved to Portland, OR in April 2014.

Specialties:

  • Product Management
  • Product Strategy
  • User Experience Design
  • Product Discovery (personas, customer journeys, UX strategy, etc.)
  • User Experience Research (usability testing, contextual inquiries, concept testing, participatory design, etc.)
  • Information Architecture
  • Content Strategy
  • Interaction Design (wireframes and prototypes)

Relevant links:

Experience

Product Manager — Wildbit — April 2016-Present

Product Manager for Postmark, a fast & reliable transactional email platform for web applications. Responsibilities include:

  • Product strategy and vision
  • Roadmap planning and execution
  • Customer and industry research

Product Design Director — Jive Software — October 2014-April 2016

Director of Product — HealthSparq — April 2014-October 2014

  • Led the Product team responsible for our Unified Search product (searching for doctors, finding cost and rating/review information on doctors and facilities, discovering different treatment options). Responsible for product strategy, prioritization, roadmapping, process improvements, and feature definition/design/development.
  • Led and grew the User Experience Design team for all Healthsparq products. Responsible for hiring, UX strategy, design process, and day-to-day design activities. See Our Product Design Process for more background
  • Led the product and design teams to release the first version of our Unified Search product in August 2014: a single interface to search for health care providers and costs, bringing an e-commerce experience to health care.

Director of User Experience — Flow Interactive — May 2012-April 2014

Responsible for user experience design & strategy projects, business development, and training. This included:

  • Finding and securing new clients for the business, and maintaining positive client relationships.
  • Client and project management on several UX projects simultaneously, including management of the internal team on each project.
  • A variety of hands-on user experience design activities, including usability testing and user research, information architecture, content strategy, and interaction design.
  • Development and conducting of training on User Experience Design and Product Management.

Selected clients:

  • Mr. Delivery Redesign — full UCD process, mobile-first redesign
  • Juniva Redesign — personas, customer journey mapping, interaction design, graphic design, front-end development
  • Obox — usability testing (see the client’s write-up of the process: The User Experience Experiment)
  • Vumi Go Redesign — personas, customer journey mapping, interaction design, usability testing, graphic design
  • Direct Axis — contextual interviews, personas, customer journey mapping, UX strategy
  • AlwaysOn Redesign — full UCD process, mobile-first redesign (for the hotspot authenticated experience)
  • Discover Africa Redesign — Product Discovery, UX strategy, full UCD process, mobile-first redesign
  • ificould Redesign — information architecture, interaction design
  • Primedia — user research, UX strategy, concept development
  • Design Indaba — Product Discovery and Product Management coaching

Some writing about our process during my time at Flow:

Head of Product & User Experience Design — kalahari.com (later acquired by Takealot) — December 2010-May 2012

Led the 13-person Product & Design team responsible for the end-to-end user experience of kalahari.com. This included:

  • Product Management of all front-end and backoffice product lines in the kalahari.com ecosystem through their entire lifecycle (vision, strategy, design, development, measurement, and maintenance)
  • User experience design for all user-facing product lines, including information architecture, user research, content strategy & SEO, interaction design, and visual design.
  • UX training and consulting for other MIH group companies in Africa, Middle-East, and South-East Asia (including Dubizzle, BuzzCity, Lelon, LevelUp!, Pricecheck, and 36 Boutiques)

Selected accomplishments:

  • Established a successful product development process from idea conception and prioritization to processes for design cycles, functional specifications, and technical implementation
  • Introduced a systematic approach to user-centered design, including user research and UX-driven interaction & visual design
  • Created the Product Council, a cross-functional body of leaders who steer the prioritization and roadmap for kalahari.com
  • Ongoing redesign of the entire kalahari.com front-end through regular, incremental improvements to the user experience.
  • Some success metrics:
    • Checkout redesign: 7% increase in completion rate
    • Registration redesign: 18% increase in completion rate

For a detailed discussion of what the team accomplished in the first year, see Case study: the user experience of kalahari.com, one year later.

Senior Product Manager — Yola.com — October 2009-November 2010

Led the team responsible for the product vision, strategy, design, and development of a variety of areas of the Yola user experience:

  • Main website: Led the redesign of the Yola website, resulting in a 25% increase in first-time visitor sign-up conversion and a 10% decrease in bounce rate
  • User account area: Led the redesign of My Yola from a basic sites listing to full-fledged account and site management area
  • All payment/checkout flows: Led redesign of payment screens that resulted in 28% increase in completion rate for domain purchases
  • Sign up and user onramp: Led redesign of sign-up flow that resulted in 44% increase in the number of websites published with Yola
  • Revenue-generating products (e.g, bundled packages): Led design and implementation of a revamped Pro package that resulted in a 280% increase in revenue from the package

Main areas of responsibility included:

  • Gather and consolidate user input, business needs, and technology needs to develop product roadmaps and requirements.
  • Develop functional specifications with a team consisting of design, engineering, business development, and marketing.
  • Define and report on success metrics for each product area and project
  • Ensure successful execution of product releases, manage feedback loop (user feedback, analytics, etc.).

Senior Manager, Product Health and Strategy — eBay — April 2005-October 2009

  • Responsible for the planning, execution and business impact of eBay’s Product Health program, which is a holistic research program that drives global product strategy and resource allocation through insights from a variety of user assessments of our site experience. We utilize surveys, true-intent studies, advanced in-page analytics, site logs/web analytics, and qualitative insights.
  • Manage the team that executes the program, and work with leaders across the design, business and engineering organizations to develop product strategy based on the insights, and provide success metrics to measure the impact of product changes.
  • Collaborate across functions to write and scope requirements for new products and changes to existing features, from product discovery through execution.

Previous roles at eBay include:

  • Manager, User Experience Research
    • Developed, and built the team responsible for, eBay’s Product Health program.
    • Managed the team responsible for all qualitative and quantitative user experience research related to the Selling business.
  • Senior User Experience Researcher
    • Responsible for all product survey research in the User Experience Research group at eBay
    • Designed and started executing eBay’s Product Health program, a comprehensive program to prioritize and guide product strategy and enhancements.
  • Staff User Experience Researcher
    • Responsible for all product survey research in the User Experience Research group at eBay.
    • Even mix between executing the research myself and managing vendors and internal resources to complete projects.
    • Work directly with designers, product managers, marketers and engineers to develop and execute high-quality research using the most appropriate methodologies.
    • Includes design, fielding, extensive analysis and reporting on results. Combine survey research with usability tests, ethnography and other qualitative methods.

Research Project Manager — Survey.com — March 2004-March 2005

Worked directly with a variety of clients to manage their market research needs from start to finish. Included design of research methodology, survey design, negotiating with vendors, sample development, data collection, analysis, and reporting.

Also responsible for data processing for all projects, using Excel, SPSS and WinCross to perform extensive analyses involving complex cross tabulations, regression, data modeling, conjoint analysis, qualitative data analysis, etc. Responsible for research and development of software and systems to improve efficiency in all departments.

Education

Curtin University of Technology (2001 – 2003)

Ph.D, Internet Marketing

Doctoral Thesis: Exploring New Avenues for the application of Social Network Theory to Marketing.

Stellenbosch University/Universiteit Stellenbosch (2000 – 2001)

M.Sc (Eng), Information Science, Cum Laude

Masters Thesis: E-commerce Web Site Evaluation – Developing a framework and method for the systematic evaluation of e-commerce web sites

Stellenbosch University/Universiteit Stellenbosch (1996 – 1999)

B.Eng, Industrial Engineering, Cum Laude