How I work

I optimize for daily use (or, regular use), and then see what things can be changed or added to aid in first-time use.

I aim to be respectful of the user’s attention, remembering that “the user is smart, but busy.” This product does not deserve anyone’s full attention all day. Users will know that they are being hoodwinked, coerced, or otherwise not being treated as full-grown adults.

The biggest competition for any product is, “not bothering to use it.” It’d have to be better than doing what already comes naturally—picking up the phone, walking over to someone’s desk, or pulling out a piece of scrap paper.

Users will feel fear as a strong, yet subconscious discomfort when they anticipate that they are about to be made to feel stupid, when they are about to be blamed for the consequences of the software’s own inadequacy. Such emotions are often mistaken for the user being “overwhelmed.”

Time is a dimension often missed in interface design; an effective designer will think through a design much like an animator would, “scrubbing” back and forth through screen states while spelling out a real scenario. Modern UX design tools miss this aspect.

There’s a lot of words in my documentation. Just as putting pixels down on a screen makes hidden problems obvious, the exercise of putting into words what the product is meant to do in a particular situation reveals any gaps, edge cases, and potential pitfalls, often better than any interactive prototype might do. Yet some of my best work had been delivered verbally, weekly, in front of a whiteboard.

  • Linguistic analysis tools

    Linguistic analysis tools

    I volunteered to spend several weeks with nerdy linguist-developers at SIL, an all-volunteer organization supporting language preservation and literacy projects among minority languages. SIL is best known today as the originators of the OFL (Open Font License), borne out of their Non-Roman Script Initiative (NRSI), which allows designers around the world to contribute to font…

  • Visual explanations

    Visual explanations

    I had a season where I was interviewing to join a mid-size technology company with some history. They had some misgivings about allowing their employees to engage in outside projects, so I suggested they clarify company policy along the lines of what Github proposed with their Balanced Employment IP Agreement (BEIPA), to encourage more enthusiastic…

  • Illustration & animation

    Illustration & animation

    Illustration and character design My earliest love was cartooning, in these two sticker packs created for the KakaoTalk messaging service. Character animation Acting out of a found piece of dialogue. The clip was taken from The Shop Around the Corner (the original film that You’ve Got Mail was based on). The setup, of course comes…

  • Visual design

    Visual design

    My childhood hero, somehow, was Joe Lertola, that illustrator who did all those “explainer” graphics for Time Magazine. Every new issue, I would dive right into looking for his infographic (before they were called as such) for the month. Figuring things out through diagrams became my everything. Graphic design Infographic to explain Github Balanced Employee…

  • Adaptive business process manager concept

    Adaptive business process manager concept

    Intended as a proof of concept, from field research and on-site interviews at Brose, Bosch, Bayer, Heidelberger Druck, Wabash Industries and a certain large U.S. Truck manufacturer. Berm Lee: conducting interviews and synthesizing personas, weekly interaction design presentations to the team on the whiteboard, guiding rapid iteration of prototype, quick visual design for prototype Core…

  • Optical cytometry

    Optical cytometry

    Control interfaces and management system for conducting experiments on cell samples, with automated cell counting and photometry. Reorganized and streamlined interfaces and workflows based on personas and roles. Berm Lee: Interaction Design, Visual Design iterations Design Team: Pilar Strutin-Belinoff, Nick Hausman Copyright © 2008 Lunar Design. May not be re-posted or re-distributed without written permission.

  • Striiv pedometer PC-sync

    Striiv pedometer PC-sync

    Health monitoring and motivation before the age of smart watches. A Tamagotchi-like pedometer with a built in game where you build out your forest with buildings out of the “energy” you collect via steps and stairs. The device had no wireless connection, so it had to be synced via USB. Copyright © 2011 Striiv Inc.…

  • Film production

    Film production

    I’ve spent a season diving into several production teams for commercial and art films, handling various roles such as field and on-set recording and mixing, music licensing, second assistant camera (with the slate and all), art direction, and data wrangling part of DIT. Two of the pieces below are directed by Jang Minseung (photographer and…

  • (more) Personas

    (more) Personas

    Though personas are best created based on dozens of interviews, ideally enough where the interviewers can begin to predict what might be said next, the act of crafting personas on the fly are a helpful thinking tool. Splitting personas, renaming personas, merging personas, and discarding personas become part of the process where we identify previously…

  • Marquee display mobile app

    Marquee display mobile app

    An app people could use to visually flash messages to the surrounding public, automatically advancing or manually controlled. This was a design refresh of an old app that was published to the Apple App Store, and already had some popular use. Personas Conscientiously-crafted personas result in being able to identify the primary persona, the main…

  • St. Jude Medical – ICD programming terminal

    St. Jude Medical – ICD programming terminal

    Nurses and technicians use this touchscreen device to connect with a patient’s ICD (Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillators), which needed careful calibration as to when to activate and when to stay quiet. If handled incorrectly, an ICD could kill a patient, or fail to save a patient when it needed to intervene. Visual renovation was a major part…

  • Social Opinions App

    Social Opinions App

    time-limited voting on assertions and counter arguments original pitch “A digital platform where two or more can come to find resolutions on arguments, discussions, or even general questions” All conceptual clean-up, detail interaction design and visual design: Berm Lee, in a total budget of 21.5 design hours Hand-crafted icons and graphics Originally delivered as sketches,…