x.ai

As Senior UX Designer for x.ai, a New York based startup focused on building a digital personal assistant for scheduling meetings, I was responsible for building design and user research practices in a tech focused environment.

When I was hired in 2016, I was the first ‘traditional’ UX designer on staff, joining an AI Interaction Designer who focused on the conversational email UI. I set out to build scalable design systems as well as infuse the company culture with user-centric thinking. Here’s how I went about it –

Creating Design Systems

A primary need of any startup is a scalable approach to UI design. At x.ai, I took the lead on ‘my.x.ai’, the UI-based companion to the conversational email interface. When I inherited the site I found few overarching rules to govern interaction and visual design decisions.

I started to define our system by performing a a design pattern audit, creating a basic style guide, and collaborating with Engineering to clean up the CSS structure and create systems to ensure design integrity moving forward.

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Creative Facilitation

My second step was to infuse the Product Management team with design-minded processes.  I did this through facilitating feature kick-off sessions, product ideation sessions, and interaction design whiteboarding sessions with the team. By leading these sessions I introduced the team to a human-centered design process. The Product Managers have continued to use these tools an techniques in their own product design process with consistent results.

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Establishing a User Research Practice

Prior to my arrival, there had only been a single round of user research of any kind performed early in the initial product creation. I started a user research practice to enhance our understanding of our current customer behavior, as well as to inform product design decisions ahead of major feature designs.

Next, I focused on evaluations of interaction designs and assessments of new features through usability testing. Once again, this was a new process at x.ai, but one that was welcomed.

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