Originally started in NUVention Web, a software and entrepreneurship class at Northwestern, Podium is a web platform that helps professionals get feedback on important presentations like sales and funding pitches. It allows users to post videos of dry runs of their presentations, share them to anyone with an email address, and receive feedback that’s automatically time-tagged to the relevant part of the video.
I am 50% of the development team for Podium, and was involved in pretty much all the decisions made about it, from business model to branding to technology. I developed the logo and color scheme for it, and have worked on the back end, front end, customer service, and integration with external services like Mandrill and Amazon Elastic Transcoder.
Podium is still active today and has been used by notable organizations like the Techstars incubators to help their members sharpen and perfect their pitches.
During my first quarter at Datascope Analytics, the City of Chicago opened their Data Portal with lots of civic information, and started the Apps for Metro Chicago (A4MC) competition to encourage developers to make use of that data. To learn the Python/Django/jQuery/HTML stack that Datascope was using at the time, I built inThirty and entered it.
InThirty is an interactive web app that arose out of the concept of "neighborhood shopping" - looking for where to live in a city based on an area's accessibility to certain amenities. Rather than simply focusing on the amenities available in a neighborhood, we chose to focus on the amenities (in this case, parks and libraries from the city's database) one could reach in 30 minutes (hence the name) by any means necessary- transit, walking, or biking. We displayed this information in neighborhood heatmaps and also allowed users to input any address in the Chicago area to see the specific metrics for that location.
InThirty took 3rd place in the Transportation round of A4MC. You can read more about the process of developing inThirty in the Datascope blog post, and see what Nathan Yau had to say about it in the FlowingData blog post.
inThirty Heatmap Interface
For my Microprocessors senior design project at Northwestern, I was part of a team that developed the Gamma Handle, an ergonomic steering wheel attachment with touch sensitive controls to allow stroke survivors, amputees, and others to safely drive a car with only one hand. There are existing solutions out there for this purpose, but none offer an ergonomic way to control critical functions like turn signals and the horn without removing one's hand from the handle. The Gamma Handle features integrated electronics and buttons that lay under every finger which can wirelessly send commands to the car.
Over the course of two quarters, we iterated the design of the handle externals using 3D printed parts, while developing the electronics on a 16-bit low power PIC24 platform. By the end of the class we had a functioning prototype, featuring a handle with touch buttons and a battery-powered PCB inside which could send commands via Bluetooth to a receiver PCB connected to a plexiglass 'car'.
For the team I lead software design and implementation efforts and also contributed to design decisions and technical writing. I wrote C code for the PIC to manage the button inputs and Bluetooth wireless communication of the handle unit, as well as power management logic.
Moving from the delicious brunch, noodle, chicken, taco, and Mediterranean restaurants in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood to the sad fast food reality of Chicago's Loop was somewhat of a shock to the employees at Datascope when we moved into a bigger office in 2012. Lucky for us, dozens of unique food trucks roam the streets of the Loop- if you can find them.
Rather than have to skim through Twitter timelines to figure out which trucks would be nearby on a given day, we built a web app to do the heavy lifting for us. lunch.datascopeanalytics.com (also known as Lunch?) reads in tweets from nearly 90 food trucks every few minutes, parses out locations like street corners and skyscrapers in the Loop and at the University of Chicago's Hyde Park campus, and locates the trucks on a map to easily show the user who's nearby. People with favorite trucks can also click their favorites in the sidebar to zap to the truck's most recent location and see its recent tweets.
Rather than try to build out highly complex NLP logic to ensure our app could parse schedules, times, misspelled street names, and other corner cases, we chose to make the actual Twitter data highly visible to the user– at a glance, they can see the tweets we used to infer a location and confirm for themselves whether the truck is still at that location.
When I joined the National Team of the nonprofit Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) in the summer of 2013, the group had a logo and a shade of green, but little else in the way of a polished or consistent brand. From my very first contacts with the team at a retreat during that summer, I set about building a visual identity and branding guidelines and materials for the group, including logo variations, typographic families, a color palette, and supporting materials to help members of the national team implement designs.
I led a brainstorm with the entire National Team to nail down six key adjectives that capture how ESW perceives itself as an organization and wishes to be perceived by the public. Building off of those core values, I went through iterations with other members of the team and a graphic design professional to develop a color palette, choose open-source typographic families that fit the group's needs, and develop an iBook/PDF Branding Guide for general consumption by the national team and the organization's hundreds of student and professional members.
Leading a discussion on brand DNA with the National Team
(I'm on the right edge of the photograph)
DsA Loop Office
In my second quarter at Datascope Analytics, the company was moving offices to Chicago's Loop and I took on the task of leading the design efforts of the new space. Using expertise from an interior design project done in my 3rd quarter at Northwestern and the Stanford d.school's phenomenal book about creative workplaces titled Make Space, I created a modular workplace for the company that allowed employees to redivide the space on the fly as projects began and ended, and gave space for people to commune and relax or get away and focus.
I wrote 2 blog posts documenting the final design for the Datascope website, further detail is available there.
Lunch space + mural
Long lunch table and couches for eating together and casual conversation about projects
Cube of Solitude
Soundproofed glass conference room for client meetings and focus time
Modular high-top tables and stools to keep people on their feet, and nesting homemade whiteboards on casters for lots of brainstorming space
Early SketchUp concept
Daykeeper is a concept hybrid task/calendar app which I designed and prototyped as part of a team for EECS 330, the Human Computer Interaction class at Northwestern. As a team we interviewed several busy Northwestern students to learn about how they manage their time and tasks, and found a common pattern was to block out periods of time on their calendar for specific tasks.
We drew sketches, storyboards, and wireframes of an app that would allow users to place tasks from their task list onto their calendar seamlessly, allowing busy students to block out the free time in their days for specific tasks. After the designated time for a task passes, it drops into "Limbo" - a list which users can review at the end of the day to mark what they successfully completed and reschedule things that didn't get finished to free time the next day.
My first design project at Northwestern, Fall Quarter of Freshman year, was for Neighbors United in New Possibilities, a neighborhood nonprofit in Chicago's Roger's Park neighborhood that ran an after school program in a greenhouse at Gale Math and Science Academy. The greenhouse had tile floors which didn't slope to the drains and not enough space, and our group of 4 was tasked with designing new greenhouse benches that could hold more plants while keeping water off the floor and directing it to a drain.
Our team went through the whole human-centered design process, talking to our clients and visiting the program, brainstorming many possible features for the benches, researching existing products and materials, and building a full-scale prototype (at reduced length) in the Ford Prototyping Lab at NU. I was involved in all of these steps, and additionally was responsible for drawing our design in SketchUp.
Final render of table
(wooden slats would have perforated metal over the top to rest plants on)
Cutaway view of drainage slope/channel
Early ideation sketches
Green Cup Scoring
Each year, SEED (a sustanability-focused student group at Northwestern) runs Green Cup, a competition where dorms and greek houses compete to reduce their energy and water usage.
I devised a scoring system for Green Cup 2013 and wrote a Python script to take in energy/water usage spreadsheets and calculate biggest losers and winners and outliers every week.