User Experience Researcher, Spire Digital, October 2017-March 2018

• Designed and conducted user experience research for digital product agency including user interviews, contextual inquiry, survey development, and usability testing to make strategic recommendations
• Directed research teams for large projects, organized data collected by a multi-person team
• Coached clients in problem definition, strategy, and feature prioritization for digital products through design and UX methodologies
• Collaborated with designers, product owners, and developers
• Wrote epics and user stories catalogue for use in MVP product roadmap
• Developed best practices for post launch lean/agile UX research
• Experience with startups and enterprise companies in financial services, aviation, real estate, insurance, legal services, technology, consumer products, and startup investing

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Sample Projects


Project 1: Real Estate Services, medium size startup
Challenge: Moving scheduling and ordering system online
Methods:
-Stakeholder interviews (1.5 days at company)
-Contextual inquiry with the telephone scheduling team
-User interviews with 8 real estate agents already using service
-Top task survey asking respondents to choose 5 most important of 30 features generated from research
Outcomes:
-
Research report sent by CEO to everyone in company
-Prioritized feature list used as basis for design
-Continued collaboration with designer and stakeholders to determine workflow for system
-CEO requested I attend all design meetings due to my insight into customer needs and workflow order/priorities
-Client hired Spire for development of product based on strength of research and design

Client testimonial: "It pays to have a PhD in your corner. We were fortunate to have Rachel on the team assigned to us for a project with Spire Digital. Rachel led the research aspect of the project which ultimately led to the UI / UX and design of our new ordering system. Rachel exceeded all expectations when it came to surveying and interviewing our clients and internal staff. She was incredibly courteous and patient with everyone she worked with and presented communicated and illustrating her findings in an easy to digest presentation and report. Thank you, Rachel!" --Kori Covrigaru, CEO, PlanOmatic

Project 2: Financial Services, enterprise company
Challenge: Salespeople need a single web app to collect materials from many different online sources after company merger for sales presentation on ipad
Methods:
-Stakeholder workshop to discover main categories of information (sticky note exercise asking everyone to create the categories they thought the web app should contain, then put on board and voted with dots)
-User interviews with salespeople on most important materials, workflow, and pain points
-Survey for salespeople including most important features and categories, key materials, usability with ipad
-Created journey maps for current process and proposed journey map with new solution
Outcomes:
-Categories from workshop and interviews formed basis for web app categories in design
-Effective collaboration with designer and client on prototype to best address user needs
-Satisfied client who reached out to Spire CEO with positive testimonial, possibility of ongoing engagement

Designer Testimonial: "Rachel is a joy to collaborate with on projects. The research expertise she brings to the table is unparalleled. I had the amazing opportunity to work with Rachel at Spire Digital where we put our heads together to tackle our clients challenging problems. Rachel's strengths are in bringing a critical eye to each project where she questions everything. She isn't afraid to push back and propose different directions which makes her an asset to every client project. I learned so much from Rachel every time we worked together and I hope to have the opportunity to do so again in the future." --Becky Pierson, Product Designer, Spire Digital

Project 3: Aviation Services, enterprise company
Challenge: Diagnostic tool for troubleshooting wifi connection while in flight
Methods:
-Stakeholder interviews (1 day), internal team and customer support
-10 user interviews with aircraft directors of maintenance and technicians
-Led feature prioritization/categorization workshop with internal team to determine main features for prototype
-Usability testing with 8 users with prototype
Outcomes:
-Successful mediation with 20+ person internal team from different divisions of enterprise company
-Research directly informed design (troubleshooting categories and features) for web app tool
-Research findings requested for presentation to company top leadership

Project 4: Insurance Services, enterprise company
Challenge: Discover most important categories for proposals in P&C (Property & Casualty) insurance
Methods:
-Stakeholder interviews and existing proposal examination
-Online card sort using Optimal Sort to structure user interviews, conducted interviews
Outcomes:
-Recommended list of pieces to include in a tool for proposals in insurance industry

UX Lead Testimonial: "We brought Rachel on to define and lead our research processes at Spire Digital, and in a short time, she had made a significantly positive impact on many projects. Rachel is a gifted researcher who possesses a great combination of passion, thorough analysis, and communication skills. She was a tremendous help and a service-oriented professional who was able to build and maintain important client relationships, work with relative autonomy, and precisely communicate her findings with the rest of the team. All of her work was completed with favorable results despite deadline pressure. She’s passionate about “the why” and thoroughly understanding a problem, and I appreciated her determination to understand the best way to integrate UX research into a lean product development process. Rachel’s impressive anthropological background made her a valuable member at Spire Digital, and I’m confident she’ll be an asset to the next team she joins." --Garrett Kroll, Director of User Experience, Spire Digital

Project 5: Consumer Product, established startup
Challenge: Build on an existing educational product for veterinary professionals to create a consumer-facing digital product for pet owners
Methods:
-Stakeholder interviews and interviews with advocates of the existing service
-Directed a multi-person team to recruit and interview over 40 pet owners about existing challenges, use of apps and services related to pet care, and willingness to pay for pet-related educational resources and services
-Three surveys regarding feature prioritization and main user needs
-Competitive research on online education services and pet-related digital products
Outcomes:
-MVP recommendation geared towards millennial customers
-Instead of investing in development of fully built-out educational platform, client followed my recommendation to test two courses and gain feedback on other possible features before committing to the build

Project 6: Angel Investing Services, early stage startup
Challenge: Improve the relationship between entrepreneurs and investors through a digital product
Methods:
-Retained client when previous design work was not effective through in-person client visits and user interviews with entrepreneurs to test core value proposition
-Competitive research on similar products
-Collaboration with designer to create prototype based on desired features
-Wrote epics and user story catalogue based on prototype for use in product roadmap and estimates
Outcomes:
-Client chose to develop with Spire instead of a remote team already engaged because of my and designer's involvement in the project
-Client is validating product concept through testing rather than rushing to develop

Chief Product Officer Testimonial: "Rachel is passionate about understanding human behavior and the drivers that cause customers to purchase and derive value from products...or not. Her ability to apply anthropological research and science to new product development, affords Rachel unique insights on customers not often derived in traditional Lean product development research. Armed with these insights, Rachel helps early stage ventures and large organizations alike hit targets or fail quickly." --Nick Coppolo, Chief Product Officer, Spire Digital