The Nerdery is a custom software design and development firm in Bloomington, Minnesota, with offices in Chicago, Kansas City, and Phoenix. It started out as a dev shop for agencies, later added design, and has expanded into strategy. "Nerds" include devs from a wide variety of tech stacks, business analysts, strategists, designers, researchers, content strategists, project managers/scrum masters, and quality assurance engineers. Clients range from community colleges to tech giants (Google) and other national and international firms (like Verizon and 3M).
I counted myself lucky to work with brilliant engineers, designers, and researchers, and others, as well as with clients who were willing to leverage technology to improve their customers' experiences.
Below I list out some of the projects I worked on, and where possible I link to the publicly available end product. If you want more details or examples of deliverables and design artifacts, please feel free to get in touch.
Support the dining experience of Market Grille customers by providing easy online ordering.
Process Flows, Wireframing, Competitive Analysis, Analytics Review
November 2017 - March 2018
Lead designer & researcher for iOS app, Android app, and website
Hy-Vee initially engaged The Nerdery to revamp their Flagship app. As our partnership grew, Hy-Vee tasked The Nerdery with creating a best-in-class food-ordering app and website for their Market Grille restaurants, an early leader in the emerging “grocerant” category (where grocery stores have a restaurant attached to them).
Hy-Vee's Market Grille app (App Store|Google Play Store) and website had already been built and launched by the time I began working on it. Most of the work I did on it is not yet publicly available so I can’t write about it here (get in touch). But here are some features that are in the production app and website:
Hy-Vee is a Midwest grocery chain and is among the top 30 US private companies.
Support the shopping experience of Hy-Vee customers.
User research via analytics and in-store interviews, design, usability testing
May 2017 - March 2018
Lead designer & researcher for iOS and Android app
Hy-Vee engaged the The Nerdery to rebuild its flagship app natively for iOS and Android. This rebuilt app launched in September 2016. Hy-Vee's app (App Store|Google Play Store) has deals, coupons, lists, a tool for monitoring a fuel rewards program, and a section for renewing and transferring prescriptions, among other features. This app has more than a quarter million monthly active users.
By the time I was brought on to the project both apps had launched and were in the App Store and Google Play Store. Features the team accomplished after I joined included:
A major enterprise software company (project under NDA).
Build out a new, flexible, cloud-based ERP for a national grocery store.
User research, information architecture, design, usability testing, agile sprints
Sept. 2015 - Feb. 2017
Lead designer for 2 teams, supporting role on 3rd team
Most ERPs have the following flaws:
Our co-development partner was a national retailer that allowed for a great amount of independence in each of its regions and even at the store level. They also had the need to quickly and easily add new attributes (like gluten-free, for example) as they brought in new types of products. We sought to build an ERP that would fit their needs, and most likely the needs of many 21st century companies.
Working in separate workstreams, we researched, designed, and built out separate parts of the overall Item Management component of the ERP, followed by other components. I led UX first on the Hierarchy team, then on the Supplier Portal team, and finally I supported the UX lead on the Pricing team. It was satisfying to conduct research with users at different retailers and suppliers, produce designs that matched their workflows and mental models, and then test with those same users.
Today the Item Management piece of the ERP is being used everyday by the co-development partner. The Nerdery remains engaged on the project, but the designers have ramped off after helping to build up the client-side design team.
This was my first project at such a large-scale: around 40 developers and 7 designers from The Nerdery were involved, with more on the client side as well. It was also my first project to follow an agile methodology (excuse me, I mean, an agile mindset 😉), though really we did run through a few flavors of agile. I enjoyed working closely with the product owner and the developers. The sprint rhythm could be challenging from a design perspective, but so long as we stayed a sprint or so ahead and collaborated closely with the developers, it worked out fine.
Lastly, from a user research perspective, we really benefitted from having a co-development partner who was eager to make sure the ERP would work well for their employees. Access to these users proved crucial in testing a complex piece of software.
Kalahari Resorts is a chain of waterpark resorts, including the largest waterpark in the US.
Redesign the website to better support customers researching a visit to Kalahari Resorts.
User interviews, tree test, design, prototype testing
March 2017 - May 2017
Lead designer & researcher
Kalahari Resorts wanted to update its website to make its visual appeal more in line with its premium waterpark resort experience. They also wanted to make it a mobile-first site and better help customers plan out their visit.
We interviewed people who visit waterpark resorts like Kalahari Resort and others in the Midwest and on the East coast. From those interviews we understood that customers appreciated having images and videos that let them see what it was like to visit Kalahari Resort. We also a discovered a "job-to-be-done" that was underserved by existing waterpark resort websites: helping the customer plan out their visit in a way that was easily shareable with family and friends who would be coming with them. Thus was born the shareable wishlist feature.
Anoka-Ramsey Community College serves Anoka and Ramsey county residents (in the Twin Cities).
A total overhaul and modernization of the website, which had not been redesigned since 2008.
User interviews, survey, tree test, design, Axure prototype
June 2015 - September 2015
Lead designer & researcher
Anoka-Ramsey Community College had not updated their site since 2008. In addition to having an outdated UI, they knew they were in need of better content governance to prevent a repeat of the 8,000 pages that had accumulated on their site.
Working hand-in-hand with an external content strategist, we interviewed prospective students, current students, staff, and faculty, to understand what each audience needed to accomplish when visiting the website. A tree test helped solidify the new navigation pattern. And the content strategist helped content creators by coming up with voice and tone guidelines and a content governance plan. See more details (especially around the accessbility work we did) at The Nerdery's case study on the project.