My work in design spans design research, education and practice. While I have enjoyed a long career as a design professional, my work is now focused on producing new knowledge through research and engaging design learners as they grow their skills in framing and solving problems.
Designing synthesizes research and creative activity to produce products, services, and systems people use. Many of these outcomes impact millions of people every day such as the Apple iOS visual interface, Uber’s ride-sharing service, and directional signage in hospitals around the world. Experience Design endeavors to facilitate valuable and meaningful use scenarios by creating products, services, and systems that align with users’ physical characteristics, cultural backgrounds, and emotional states. I apply an experience design mindset to my teaching, research, and service activities at Miami University. I design a wide range of learning experiences for people in different life stages with diverse learning styles to develop future experience designers. I facilitate learning experiences that promote the practical sensibilities, analytical processes, creative abilities, emotional sensitivities, and social skills required of design professionals. I developed xdMFA, the design research-intensive MFA in Experience Design which combines on-site and online learning modes—a model that no design research-based MFA in the world offers. I teach face-to-face, online, hybrid, and study away courses that integrate experience design theory with making.
I categorize my research activities into three Experience Design-related areas: Advancing People-Driven Design, Interpreting Experience Design Scenes, and Developing Experience Designers. My experience as a design practitioner for over 15 years gives me an understanding of practical constraints that grounds my research. My work is focused on end-of-life choices and topics in aging, specifically enabling people who have been underserved in southern Ohio and northern Kentucky to record their advance care planning wishes in harmony with their values. I integrate findings from this research into my teaching where new research methods and processes become content for coursework. The connections I have developed as a Scripps Gerontology Research Fellow have enabled me to share People-Driven Design approaches with colleagues across the university. Findings from my research and publishing informed the development of an area-wide assessment plan aimed at facilitating experience-centered design education. As Graduate Director of the MFA in Experience Design and Lead Faculty for the Communication Design area, a significant portion of my activities is administrative. Through service to the university and community, I improve experiences for the people whom our programs serve. With an experience design mindset, my position and activities are always driven by advocacy for the unique abilities, differences, and possibilities people and design possess.