Tell me about a design where you set out to solve a business problem.

To me by definition UX is the art of problem solving, so I would say that every day and every job I’ve had to problem solve. I believe the key is total transparent communication. That is why when ever I’m in a leadership role I set a example by always being transparent. Always admitting what I do not know. I might not know everything, but that doesn’t make me a bad leader or a bad designer… rather, it makes me one who continues to grow. Once that space is created I can then proceed to create a path towards a viable and sustainable solution.

At Availity the main problem was breaking down silos and tons of hidden agendas by senior level management. Understanding that the only way to get buy in, in a very hostile environment is to validate your findings. Numbers never lies and numbers and stats are huge and sometimes the ONLY way to get buy-in and results.

What are the basic philosophies or principles that inform your design?
I could talk about F pattern design and grid based layouts or various design methodologies. However, to me the main thing that drives me is “purpose.” All great designs have purpose. They key of UCD is to always keep the needs of the end user front and center.

What questions do you need answered before you start designing an experience?
An experienced UX professional understands that the discovery period is crucial in developing the correct questions. It takes:
Real-world Observation
Trend Analysis
Knowledge of emerging trends
Understanding niche markets
Discovering if there are any opportunity gaps
Conduct rigorous consumer research if necessary
Undergo preliminary market research
and finally develop and Assumption Persona Development workshop and find ways to validate those findings… Then you ask questions if you still have any.

How do you stay current on UX innovations?
I’m teaching myself to become a front-end-developer and that will allow me to better understand key members of cross-functinal teams. I’ve always cross-pollinate with other UX professionals, and joined UX teams. I was a regular speaker at JAX-UX and joined Balanced Team NY. I’m authoring a book in UX entitled “UX, Keep It Simple.” And I read any book on UX I can get my hands on.

Is there anyone you admire in the UX field?
I’m friends with some of the top UX professionals and members of the TED Talk community. Currently working with Aaron Becker (TED TALK) and Steve Blanks (Godfather of UX)… and I’ve worked closely with people like Sean Rad (CEO Tinder). These are all members of the UX community that I really admire.

What are some of the UX designs that inspire you?
I’m a huge fan of blogger Aarron Walter ( http://aarronwalter.com/ ) – I love the simplicity of http://saltsurf.com/ and the editorial look and how well it stands as a responsive site. Same for http://www.nixon.com/us/en/ — Of course although never visually stunning amazon.com is still the industry go-to site for e-commerce best practices, so is tigerdirect.com –