Every designer begins somewhere, whether we've fallen into our role as a designer or created a purpose-filled plan to get where we are today. My journey has been a mixture of purpose and following the winds of change.
As far back as I can remember people have told me I'm wildly creative. However, as a kid, I explored careers such as a Pediatrician, Marine Biologist, Art Historian, and an Audio Engineer. Intensely curious about the world around me with a hunger to learn that has stayed with me to this day, it was in high school I got my introduction to design. Within the R.O.P. (Regional Occupation Program) Graphic Design class I was introduced to the printing press, photography, screen printing, and digital design.
While going through college, I worked hard bouncing between Audio Engineering and Digital Design working for the British Car Magazine, California's Great America (where I worked concerts for such names as Oingo Boingo, Fleetwood Mac, and Coolio), and StudioFX. After the internet boom & bust, I moved briefly into the mortgage industry. Then headed to graduate school at Parsons School of Design, where I studied Information Architecture, User Experience Design, Physical Computing, Fashionable Technology (now called Wearables) & Game Design. It was at Parsons that I would fall in love with User Experience Design.
Renata Phillippi is a user experience designer with visual chops who has worked in the web industry for 10+ years. She specializes in information architecture, interaction design, usability and user research.
Renata has created experiences for the Fortune 500 to small startups including Technicolor, Adobe, MTV Interactive, & Electronic Arts. She lives in San Francisco, California, where she leads a User Experience team for a mid-sized firm.
Renata develops innovative solutions with critical thinking, creative problem solving while taking into account multiple perspectives and has created the following experiences:
- The first Colbert Report full episode player
- The online gaming space, Electronic Art’s Origin, which won a Media Arts Award
- The original design for Max Play, which led to funding
- Overhauled the Insightly mobile apps to increase reviews in the app store from 1 star to 4
- Moving a Human Capital Management (HR) application from a Windows app to the cloud using responsive design.
- Redesigned the Real Estate Center for a fortune 500 which resulted in an increase of pre-qualification leads in the Real Estate Center from 150 to 441 (294%) within 3 months after redesign
She is a thought leader in the design community recognized for contributions to organizations, books, and new ideation.
Every designer has a tendency to say "It depends" when asked how they would approach a design problem, which also seems to be my favorite phrase. I'd then list a series of questions I'd need answers to such as:
- Who are the users and what are their needs?
- What are the business goals?
- What data if any do we have on user behavior?
- Do we have a budget for usability and user research?
Then working alongside development & product management, we'll go through a series of wireframes sketches to hi-fidelity prototypes, testing along the way, to arrive at a solution. Depending on how the company develops products, I'd either hand off to visual design or to development.
Below is the process flow diagram I created for Ascentis to demonstrate how UX integrates into product development.
Companies I've Worked With
Cities I've worked in
I've had the unique opportunity to move around and/or consult within different cities around the world, which has been the most amazing opportunity to learn not just professionally but personally. Being faced with different ideas and approaches really challenges your thinking and pushes you as a designer. Below are some of the experiences I've had.
New York City
After I finished my graduate degree from Parsons School of Design, I stuck around in NYC for another year to enjoy the city. During that time I worked freelance for MTV Interactive / Comedy Central working on the Colbert Report full episode player and various game projects, several agencies such as; Publicis, Huge, Wunderman, and several small startups.
Houston gave me the opportunity to experience rodeos, country music, fried everything and Tex Mex. I also worked on a project with Adobe, Delloite, and Sysco. We were looking to overhaul the food ordering system for Sysco's clients to make it more user-friendly and to help create a closer connection between Account Managers and their clients from mom and pop restaurants to large national chains.
While in London I saw some great plays, enjoyed a lot of Chicken Tikka Masala, got introduced to "Football proper" and worked on some fantastic projects. I helped build a recruitment application that utilized (dumb) mobile phones to help the people of Africa look for work and worked on the precursor project to Jaime Oliver's "Teach Every Child About Food".