A little bit about me... Meredith Kench

I am a driven and passionate User Experience Practitioner (I hate the word "expert" because it's so subjective) that loves all facets of design, usability, and product planning. Over the last 14 years, I have designed and developed user interfaces and websites for companies ranging from small start-ups to established brands such as WebEx and Cisco. This includes writing product requirements, detailed functional specifications, creating workflow diagrams, wireframes, and high fidelity mockups / prototypes.

I truly love what I do for a living - how many people can say that? Web 2.0 and emerging 3.0 technologies have made what I do even more fun because I can push the limits of design, not to mention social media tools have given us a whole new level of interaction. As many have said before me: UX folks aren't just interior designers painting walls and rearranging furniture, we are architects that help build the space from the ground up.

My philosophy is simple:
Functionality doesn't matter if people don't know how to use it, or can't find it! User Experience Designers that can see the big picture play an essential role if you want to build products that work and people want to use.

To me great user experiences need to be simple, easy, relevant, and fun. Simple designs make it clear what is expected of the user. Products that are easy to interact with keep users coming back and relevant content means they'll stay engaged longer. Fun happens when users enjoy interacting with your site. Why shouldn't the tools you use for work be fun?

The people who use your products also visit Facebook, Amazon, Google and Twitter - they expect you to have the same level of quality and ease of use as these sites. You only get one chance to make a first impression. It’s all about great/fun user experiences. But, this only happens when designers understand how to bridge the gap between science and art and make it truly magical. That’s where I come in.

Why the name DJDivaDesigns?
In addition to loving all things nicely designed (and usable!) I am a huge music lover. In younger years DJDiva was a nickname friends had given me due to the thousands of cds I owned. I was frequently put to work DJing parties which I have to say was quite fun. My love for music still continues - now digitally - my itunes library contains close to 90,000 songs! Perhaps it's just my alter ego. :-)

Experience

Somerville, MA (remote) 2009 - Present
Principal Product Manager Oracle
  • Came to Oracle through the Taleo acquisition.
  • Define Product Requirements and Functional Specifications for Oracle Taleo Learn.
  • Hold Focus Groups to socialize new product features, workflows, and design ideas, as well as gather feedback and conduct usability tests.
  • Conduct Market Research and Competitive Analysis.
  • Create Wireframes, and Design Pattern Library.
  • Design icons and graphics used throughout the product.
Somerville, MA (remote) 2009 - 2012
Director, User Experience, Taleo Learn
  • Brought on board to Learn.com (aquired by Taleo in 2010) to evaluate and improve the overall workflows and visual design of their SaaS LMS product.
  • Manage and design the UI/UX of Taleo Learn's product offering.
  • Define Product Requirements and Functional Specifications.
  • Attend Regional User Groups to gather feedback from clients about existing and upcoming product features.
  • Hold Focus Groups (in person and virtual) to socialize new product features, workflows, and design ideas, as well as gather feedback and conduct usability tests.
  • Conduct Market Research and Competitive Analysis.
  • Create Wireframes, and Design Pattern Library.
  • Design icons and graphics used throughout the product.
  • Develop functional prototypes of new features using XHTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
Burlington, MA 2007 - 2009
User Experience Manager, Mzinga
  • Leader of the User Experience team within Mzinga's Product Management group.
  • Managed and designed the UI/UX of Mzinga's Web 2.0 Social Media product offering.
  • Defined Product Requirements, Functional / User Interaction Specifications, and Use Cases / Personas.
  • Conducted Market Research and Competitive Analysis.
  • Created Wireframes, Workflow Diagrams, and Design Pattern Library.
  • Designed icons and graphics used throughout the product.
  • Developed functional prototypes of new features using XHTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
Burlington, MA 2004 - 2007
Senior User Interface Designer, WebEx Cisco
  • Managed and designed the User Interface for WebEx WebOffice, the company’s award winning collaboration suite, which had clients ranging from SMBs to the Enterprise.
  • Wrote Functional and User Interaction Specifications for Web 2.0 applications.
  • Conducted Usability Tests for new features.
  • Created User Interface Style Guide and Design Pattern Library.
  • Developed functional prototypes of new features using XHTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
  • Created Use Cases / Personas.
  • Member of the UI team that worked on the WebEx Connect product.
  • Coded CSS (which allows for over 40 color schemes), in-product emails, and splash pages.
  • Designed color schemes, icons, and graphics used throughout the product.
  • Fixed UI bugs in XSLT, JavaScript, and HTML using Visual Slick Edit and Visual Studio 2005.
Product awards and accolades:
Burlington, MA 2004 - 2005
Webmaster
  • Designed, developed, and maintained corporate websites, including: WebEx WebOffice (English, German, and Japanese), WebEx MeetMeNow (US and UK), and WebEx PCNow (US and UK) using XHTML, JavaScript, ASP, and CSS.
  • Illustrated icons and designed various images / billboards for corporate websites and various marketing collateral.
  • Designed and coded promotional / administrator alert emails sent to customers and potential customers.
Newton, MA 2002 - 2004
User Interface Designer, Clinician Support Technology (CST)
  • Designed and developed several cross browser web applications under extreme deadlines, such as: One Health Baby CareLink, Baby CareLink, and Cancer CareLink.
  • Created Design Pattern Library, Implementation Standards, and Product Style Guide.
  • Developed XSLTs for major components and coded all CSS and XHTML used in the CareLink web applications.
  • Developed JavaScript form validation for several complicated medical forms for premature babies and cancer patients, such as: patient and staff registrations, patient assessments, medication scheduling and recording, allergies, and side effects.
  • Created storyboards, workflow diagrams, and developed use cases/personas.
  • Used Illustrator and PhotoShop to create web-safe and optimized images, and Visual Source Safe for version control.
  • Designed icons, color schemes, and programmed HTML/CSS/JavaScript for various prototypes and corporate website.
Watham, MA 2002
Consultant, BackBay Technologies/Intepros
  • Developed JSP pages for several web applications, including Arrive 529 and Scholar'sEdge.
  • Wrote JavaScript validation code for HTML forms.
  • Created and maintained properties files that were dynamically included in JSP pages.
Bedford, MA 2000 - 2001
Software Engineer / UI Designer, Expound Inc.
  • Developed Schema, DTD, XSLT, JSP, and XML files used throughout the product.
  • Built user interfaces following the Rational Unified Process.
  • Created several product demos used to launch the company at DEMO 2001.
  • Developed and designed two incarnations of the corporate website.
  • Completed 56 hours of XML training in order to implement XML into the product.
Newton, MA 2000
Front End Developer, New Vantage
  • Coded HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and ASP for several sites, including Boston Private Financial Holdings and Boston Private Bank.
  • Collaborated with other team members to develop creative solutions for these websites.
  • Performed Quality Assurance on sites after code was completed.
  • Attended in-house weekly classes on ASP, SQL, and Flash.
Waltham, MA 1998 - 2000
Web Developer / Designer, toysmart.com
  • Developed and maintained ecommerce site using HTML, ASP, JavaScript, and CSS.
  • Designed and developed all specialty pages, specialty shops, vendor pages, and email newsletters.
  • Served as Internet Production Group member responsible for entire ‘Bookshelf’, which contained over 36,000 products.
  • Worked with creative team and Walt Disney to design Disney BabyShop.
Waltham, MA 1996 - 1999
Art Director, Next Generation
  • Designed weekly ads, collateral, direct mail, and supported business development with fresh new designs.
  • Trained all new Production Artists and assisted Production Supervisor with quality control within the department.
  • Worked with various vendors for printed pieces, attended press checks and photo shoots.
  • Attended focus groups and creative meetings to discuss the direction of campaigns and make recommendations.
  • Created and implemented all production systems and handbooks for department.

Education

Boston, MA 2001
Boston University
Masters Certificate in C/C++ Programming and Windows Development using MFC
  • Completed 40+ hours of class/training each week.
  • Participated in several group projects, in which we developed and designed real-world Windows applications under extremely tight deadlines.
Framingham, MA 1996
Framingham State College
Bachelor of Arts, Communication Arts
Concentrations: Mediated Graphics Design and Photography
Minor: Art

Professional Organizations

National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP)
Usability Professionals’ Association Boston (UPA)

Skills

User Experience, Product Design, Prototyping, Team Management, Product Management, Requirements Gathering, Market Research, Usability Testing, Social Media, Social Networking, Web 2.0 Technologies, Search Engine Optimization, Website Design, Agile Methodology, Information Architecture.

Software / Languages

Fireworks, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, OmniGraffle, Balsamiq, Homesite, Visual Studio, Illustrator, ImageReady, InDesign, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), HTML, XHTML, JavaScript, Active Server Pages (ASP), C/C++, DTD, Schema, Java Server Pages (JSP), Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC), Visual Source Safe, Rational Clear Case, Seapine Surround & Test Track Pro, Visual Slick Edit, XML, XSL, XSLT, XML Spy.