A picture of me

About me

I have a Master's degree

My career started in grad school. At Indiana University I learned how to observe people, understand theory and develop concepts that make experiences useful, usable and exciting.

I've led multiple company flagship products

From Kohl's to Nationwide and now Possible I've led design for some of the most important products at each company. I've delivered small projects with impossibly tight turnarounds and huge projects with hundreds of stakeholders.

Most recently, I built a credit card

At Possible I led our effort to make credit accessible for everyone. Working at a startup means wearing multiple hats, at Possible I was able to design the physical card and mailer, write design requirements and have a voice in our company vision.

I'm looking for something new

I'm open to new opportunities that allow me to have a big impact on a small design team.

My focus is on interaction design but I've built a well rounded generalist skillset over nearly a decade of design work.

I also freelance

I'm available for new projects

Check out my freelance work →

An illustration of my design process and how a North Star vision changes over time

Design with a North Star in mind

Start with a vision that guides the project to some greater purpose. It's not a contract but a direction that the team, and the stakeholders, can get behind.

Learn by doing

After prioritizing and delivering some of the efforts, we can be critical about the vision. What works and what doesn't? More importantly, why?

Refine the strategy

Building a North Star vision doesn't mean pausing work. It's about consistently moving and discovering the path forward with stakeholders and customers.

The Possible Card

Launched 2022

Accessible Possible Card concepts

Building a 0 - 1 credit card to break the debt cycle

Possible’s mission is to make finance fair. The customers are part of underserved and underbanked communities. Most customers have a low credit score or no credit at all. The company grew from 80 to about 120 during my time there and the design team fluctuated from 3 to 1 to 5 designers.

300,000
Waitlist customers

Understanding the customer, the business and how we can help

The card built on the success of the loan. Cardmembers can pause their payments and pay the full amount back over time. Unlike a loan, the card has no interest. Plus a revolving line of credit can improve a credit score more than a series of loans.

The loan product and the card product were very different. The loan relied on Autopay. There were no transactions to record. Payments were a specific amount and scheduled during sign up.

In contrast, the card needed to be activated. We had to show transactions, the balance, the payments, the payment dates and offer service options for fraud or lost cards. We reused the design system that was created for the loans but we had to expand on it.

89%
Customer satisfaction score
A view of the Possible App dashboard on an iPhone

Wearing many hats

In the spirit of a startups, we've been figuring it out as we go. I've had to fill in with Project Management skills and figure out how print design works on plastics on top of designing the experience and defining our vision.

Read the story

X minute read

Kohl's Cart and Checkout

Launched 2021

A picture of Kohl's Cart and Checkout on an iPhone
A journey map of the Kohl's purchase process

Redesigning the entire experience based on customer feedback

For two years we tore down and rebuilt the foundation of what every Kohl's customer would see and, hopefully, few would notice. I created a modular e-commerce experience for one of the largest retailers in America. The work we did is core to the future of Kohl's and a great story of a cross-functional team dedicated to the customer.

$100 Million
Sales increase
217%
Conversion increase

Removing every friction point we could find

The last update to Kohl's Cart and Checkout was made in 2014 in a waterfall process, with plenty of compromise. In 5 years features were bolted on, often with bespoke solutions for mobile, tablet, desktop and kiosk.

Customers expectations have changed since then, the gamification of sales and discounts is seen as a painfully opaque process. Often a customer will tell us they just want to know what they're paying. E-commerce was no longer a novel idea in 2020.

Customers know what a transaction should look like and the overwhelming options that Kohl's offers only add to the cognitive load, pushing sales away from the site.

An example of documentation explaining modules in the Kohl's Checkout experience

Documenting and making it real

One reason we had to start over was the diminishing returns changes were expensive and time consuming. To be successful we had to account not just for the immediate impact but the years of work that follow.

We landed on a modular system, each core idea has a self-contained module. The modules stack into pages. When something isn’t relevant, it’s not displayed. States can be changed, added or removed without changing the entire page. Customers can focus on a single primary action in each module.

Pivoting for the 2020 pandemic

Our summer was very busy, our team of 4 ended up releasing 16 live tests in 16 weeks with several more ready to go. We also released Save for Later and several other smaller updates in the same window.

Overall, we made the company about $90 million in incremental revenue with our goal being $150 million for 2020 (defined pre-pandemic). We were well on our way to meeting that goal and incrementing our way to our redesign.

After launching the full redesign conversion rates rose by 4% within the first week. What we thought would be a long process of monitoring turned out to be an instant hit with our customers.

Read the whole story

X minute read

Building a flagship mobile app for a growing market segment

Nationwide Insurance asked me to lead some of the most talented people I've ever worked with as we redesigned and launched the flagship mobile app. I was the advocate for the customer with 7 development teams, a short budget and very little time.

We launched a beautifully modern experience so customers could pay their bills, file a claim and share their insurance ID cards. And it was modular so the business could easily deliver new value.

The Nationwide App

Launched 2017

A view of the Nationwide bills, policies and claims screens on an iPhone

A client driven design process

At Nationwide the user experience design team is a consultant. We were 100% billable and, like an agency, if we lose a client because we don't deliver, we need to find a new client to pay our salaries. For this project, design discretion lies with the business. The process is driven heavily by the development teams and the goal is to get something out of the door.

Read the whole story

X minute read

Kohl's Save for Later

Launched 2020

A screen showing the Kohl's save for later experience on a laptop

Adding a customer favorite feature after a 10 year wait

Customers at Kohl's often need to carefully manage a budget. Often they'll have to buy some school supplies now and wait until payday for a pair of shoes. Without a way to save those items, it's incredibly difficult to remember and find them again a few weeks later.

Read the whole story

X minute read

Nationwide Design system

Launched 2018

Examples of the Nationwide design system on a laptop

Building a system to work with 7 product teams at once

There's little hope of staying ahead of 7 development teams with only one designer. I had to think on my feet and see patterns before they were reused.

I used that quick thinking to build a design system. I could spend time with the high value problems and let our developers build other screens without wireframes.

Read the whole story

X minute read

Let's talk

Hi@DesignsByJoel.com

Copy

Back to my portfolio