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Product Design

Hi, I’m Michelle. I help teams develop user-centered products. Throughout my 20-year career as a User Experience & Product Designer, I've remained at the cutting edge of product development and design methodologies, championing a data-centered, validating learning approach and beautiful craftsmanship at the same time. Working with Agile teams in both startups and large companies alike, I help my clients determine who their market is, what their needs are, and how to develop the right product for them. I facilitate problem & goal definition; design & conduct research; design products and train product development teams to do all this effectively. 

 

user + product research

Understand the problems you’re solving. Products are solutions to problems, and you can’t solve them effectively unless you slow down and understand those problems. Luckily, my approach to research is to get you the deepest learning with the least amount of hubbub. I can design and execute research to get you quick answers that inform the state of your current product, or which direction to take a new one, as well as unify your team around the path forward.


product design

Create efficient, effective, and beautiful solutions. A lean, validated-learning approach to design is the most efficient way to build digital products. My approach favors rapid ideation and iteration at quick paces, evolving the product among layers of data-gathering. Once a path forward is defined, I’ll lead you through the process of designing quick, data-validated product solutions. Me and my team can handle all aspects of digital design, and we take pride in craftsmanship.


facilitation, workshops + coaching

Design sprints, team training, 1:1 coaching. You want to run a week-long experiment to get deep and quick learning on a hypothesis. Or, you want to institute better user-centered thinking across your organization. Your product development process would benefit from incorporating user research, but you don’t know how to institute it. Or, you have a lean or junior design team who need like-minded support to fare well in your organization. I’ve been a generalist in start-ups, a specialist in large companies, a “ux team of one”, and a design leader on a senior leadership team. I believe that tight teams move more fluidly and build better products. I also believe that anyone can learn anything if they have the will. I can design workshops, trainings, or support to build competency and understanding among your team.


philosophy

Collaborative is better. We make better things when we leverage each other.

Learn as soon as possible. Your ideas are hypotheses, which if wrong are expensive mistakes. How can you learn if it’s right, asap?

Understand the problem before you try to solve it. Solutions are hard, especially so if you’re not crystal clear on exactly what’s wrong.

Outcomes over process. Shiny powerpoint decks and pretty design files don’t keep your business afloat. Let’s focus on impact.

Quality counts. Loving the things you use is almost as important as what it does. Making it great is important.

The right way is the one that works for you. Leverage all the best thinking but don’t get caught in the dogma trap.

No Assholes. Life’s too short.

More about me


on working with me

Michelle is a unique talent. She excels equally in design, leadership and product strategy allowing her to work effectively with product teams as well as board room teams. As former colleagues, I’ve witnessed her strengths first hand and know her to be an asset to every organization she works with.
— Jeff Gothelf, Author Lean UX and Sense & Respond
Michelle is an outstanding and rare talent who has been invaluable to us in our product design process. She brings a potent mix of real-world experience, discipline with diplomacy, and satisfying creative solutions. She’s a great listener and communicator, and has raised the quality of our products tremendously. She is simply great at what she does.
— Daniel Seltzer, CTO, The Credit Junction
Michelle is a rare breed—she’s like hiring a team. She’s helped me create new products, crack tough UX nuts, pushed visual design envelopes, and solved tough product problems. Try finding a single person who can do all of those well.
— Brian Fitzgerald, Founder & CEO of Tinkergarten
Michelle is completely dedicated to doing a project the right way and committed to doing whatever it takes to get it done. She has the very unique ability to work independently or as part of a larger team with the same success. She will problem solve and try new things when faced with unexpected challenges. Michelle is passionate and knowledgeable about design from many perspectives—as a consumer of and commentator on beautiful design and photography, with an exquisite taste and style in her work and self expression.
— Andy Davidhazy, Independent Creative Director
Michelle is an absolute pleasure to work with. She has a great gift for thinking through complex user flows and coming up with simple, streamlined solutions. She is extremely responsive to all needs and always ensures that her projects are 100% at all phases from design to final implementation.
— Julie Roche, Co-founder & CEO of Burbio.com
Michelle is an amazing product designer. She ticks every box you would expect from a highly talented product designer – a creative problem solver with an eye for design, a great listener who builds empathy for users, the ultimate professional with a disciplined approach that allows her to pull the best out of everyone she collaborates with, and an openness to collaborate with product development teams and business stakeholders. She does not shy away from tough problems or tough situations and expertly navigates internal processes to deliver amazing product designs. I would not hesitate to hire Michelle in the future and highly recommend her.
— Angie Hanna-Bugueiro, Director of Product Management, Gap Inc.