Maureen A. Barlow

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I'm a UX Designer & Researcher in Boston

I've been fascinated by user-centered design since I taught myself hand-coded HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. By designing software, developing websites, and creating eLearning courses, I learned the importance of not only good visual design and coding, but also quality user experiences that help users do what they need to do — and do it well.

My professional expertise includes 7 years in UX, 6 years in eLearning, and over 10 years in web development and design. I also have a Master of Science in Human Factors in Information Design from Bentley University. Interestingly enough, my bachelor's degree is in zoology and I worked for several years as a molecular biology researcher before I took the plunge into UX. As such, I feel that my UX research techniques benefit from my scientific experience, and make me a more well-rounded user experience researcher.

I am a hard worker who enjoys using humor to interact with colleagues and diffuse challenging situations. I appreciate opportunities to make a difference. I'm also very friendly and my enthusiasm shows in my willingness to help others. If a colleague needs assistance solving a UX problem, I'm always there with a helping hand. I love presenting information in groups and at conferences, and I work diligently to keep my UX skills current.

About Us

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Portfolio

Usability testing for high-fidelity Axure prototypes

Company: Harvard Business Review
Timeframe: June - October 2016
Role: Lead UX

Mobile screenshot Usability test task document

I conducted remote, moderated usability testing using a high-fidelity Axure prototype created by my interaction design colleagues for Harvard Business Review's newest digital content structure: The Big Idea. This project featured a completely new way to present digital content, and I was tasked with getting feedback from users about the content structure and interaction. The project was conducted within an Agile framework over eight sprints. The first series for The Big Idea was launched in mid-October, and the second one is planned for late January 2017. Find out more about The Big Idea on HBR.org.

Usability testing for Slack bot design

Company: Harvard Business Review
Timeframe: July - November 2016
Role: Lead UX

Test bot implementation Usability test task document

I led the UX research for Harvard Business Review's brand new bot for Slack. I started out by conducting moderated usability tests while acting as the bot in Slack direct messages with users to get early stage feedback about what users would expect and how they would interact with a chatbot. The bot was created in an iterative process while usability tests were ongoing, culminating in usability tests on a working implementation of the bot. The bot was officially launched in Slack in August. You can download it on the bot's Slack page, and read about it on Digiday.

High-fidelity Axure prototype creation & usability testing for e-commerce page redesign

Company: Harvard Business Review
Timeframe: March - April 2016
Role: Lead UX

High-fidelity Axure prototype UserTesting usability test tasks

The e-commerce pages for HBR.org needed to be redesigned because previous usability tests showed that the option selection process was cumbersome, and it was difficult to view product descriptions. I created high-fidelity Axure prototypes and conducted unmoderated usability tests via the UserTesting platform over three phases of the project. After each phase, I adjusted the prototype to account for the high priority recommendations from usability testing.

Specifically, I redesigned the format, language, and copyright permissions selection processes. Subsequent unmoderated usability testing (phase 4) showed that the format and language sections were now much easier to use. There is still some user confusion as to when copyright permissions come into play, and this is something we have to look at for future redesigns.

Low-fidelity Axure wireframe creation for website redesign

Company: Inflexxion, Inc.
Timeframe: May - November 2015
Role: Lead UX

Axure wireframe Final design

I was the lead UX expert on this project, and I was responsible for conducting the user research, designing the low-fidelity wireframes in Axure for the entire site, and collaborating with the interaction designer and development team throughout the project.

The user research consisted of interviewing users to determine the current pain points regarding use of the site, as well as their immediate and overall goals in visiting inflexxion.com. After understanding the current in-house workflow for converting site visitors to potential and actual customers, I created a high-level structure for the interaction throughout the site, as well as documentation of the use cases. I then designed the site map and information architecture for the site. After this was complete, I moved on to creating the actual wireframe structure for each page using Axure. These wireframes were used by the interaction designer and the development team.

UX research & Balsamiq wireframes & usability testing for desktop software feature

Company: MathWorks, Inc.
Timeframe: May 2012 - October 2014
Role: Assigned UX expert for development team

Balsamiq wireframe

At MathWorks, I worked on a feature of Simulink, a graphical programming language tool for modeling, simulating and analyzing dynamic systems. Customers had requested an easier way to assign data to a particular part of a model, where in the past customers had to either assign the data manually or create a custom script to do assignments automatically. With this new feature, which launched in October 2014, customers were able to assign data to a model easily.

This new feature had to be user-friendly above all, which was a challenge because the software was so complex and multi-faceted. Customers had to be able to quickly and easily assign their data – whether from a MathWorks file type or an Excel spreadsheet – to their model without having to do any manual string entry or custom script development. It was important that customers also be able to preview their data before assigning it, and to easily see which data were assigned successfully.

I was also tasked with designing the interaction and workflow of the "toolstrip," the interactive top section of the interface. This feature was one of the first in Simulink to utilize the toolstrip design that was launched in MATLAB (the companion software to Simulink) two years before.

Learning Management System (LMS) Design & Implementation

Company: Tufts Health Plan
Timeframe: February - June 2010
Role: Lead Web/eLearning/UX developer

Screenshot of LMS home page

At Tufts Health Plan, I worked with Taleo Learn to design the interface, interaction, and graphics for a new LMS. We named the system “Coolidge” after Coolidge Square in Watertown, the headquarters of the company.

The most important step was the first one: to take a complete inventory of both the learning content and the content that existed on the current intranet site for the Corporate Learning & Development group. We then categorized all content for use in Coolidge, and assigned course content to a learning catalog — which drew from the categorization structure in the system — and other content to a rough site map structure. We did this first before we set pen to paper, so to speak, to design the interface.

The goal of this project was to produce an interface and user interactions that allowed learners to easily find learning content by browsing the learning catalog or using the system's search tool. In addition, the interface was designed to allow managers to easily manage their employees' development using the system.

Resumé

Download PDF file

Skills

Professional

  • User-centered design
  • Human factors engineering
  • Usability testing
  • Requirements & task analysis
  • Contextual inquiry
  • User interviewing & focus groups
  • Wireframing & prototyping

Technical

  • Axure, Balsamiq, Omnigraffle
  • Photoshop & Illustrator
  • Dreamweaver

Education

Master of Science | 2012

Human Factors in Information Design
Bentley University
Graduated with distinction

Bachelor of Science

Zoology
University of Rhode Island

Experience

Senior User Experience Designer, February 2016 - present

Harvard Business Review | Brighton, MA

Conducting user experience research to improve HBR.org, including moderated and unmoderated usability testing, task analysis, user journeys, and user interviews.

Also responsible for training and empowering others in the organization to conduct their own unmoderated usability testing.

Senior User Experience Architect, April 2015 - December 2015

Inflexxion, Inc. | Newton, MA

Conducted user experience research to inform ongoing improvements and upgrades to existing product lines, and to establish the user experience for new products. Led the UX effort to redesign the company website, launched in November 2015, including complete set of interactive and responsive Axure wireframes.

User Experience Specialist, September 2011 - October 2014

MathWorks, Inc. | Natick, MA

Led user-centered design activities related to Simulink, one of MathWorks' products. Worked with an assigned development team to understand the user-centered design requirements and developed creative solutions for meeting those needs.

  • Created low-fidelity prototypes of UIs. Greatly reduced existing pain points that users experienced using Simulink without the new feature.
  • Conducted usability tests with customers using paper and digital prototypes.

Training & Development Specialist – eLearning, October 2005 - September 2011

Tufts Health Plan | Watertown, MA

Recruited to develop the eLearning strategy and offerings of the Corporate Learning and Development (CLD) group, which was responsible for developing 1700 employees in software training, product knowledge, and professional skills.

  • Developed the strategy, selection and purchase criteria, and high-level design to meet organizational learning management needs for the department’s five-year plan.
  • Designed, developed, and implemented the user interface, content, maintenance, improvements, and staged roll-out strategy for the five-year plan, ensuring alignment with departmental, organizational, and user goals for learning management.
  • Conducted usability testing using paper prototypes, focus groups, and card sorting to design user interface and content strategy, ensuring alignment with business and user goals.
  • Designed 65 eLearning courses and templates using Captivate, Camtasia, and Raptivity, and managed the development of the remaining 12 courses by contractors.

Speaking Roles

  • Usability Testing Training at HBR | Brighton, MA | December 2016
  • MathWorks UX Symposium | Natick, MA | October 2013
    "Changing the Way You Persuade"
  • DevLearn 2011 | Las Vegas, NV | November 2011
    "User Interface Design for Your LMS"
  • DevLearn 2010 | San Francisco, CA | November 2010
    "Learning, Learning Everywhere: Organizing Your Learning Content for an LMS"
  • eLearning Guild Annual Gathering | Orlando, FL | March 2009
    "Dealing with Difficult SMEs"

Contact

Email: mbarlow@pixelgem.com

LinkedIn: Pixelgem

Twitter: @pixelgem