• Research: usability interviews, competitive analysis
  • Collaborating: global teams, community teamwork and co-leading
  • Leadership: design lead, design producer.
  • Skills: designOps, product design, theme development, design systems, UI, UX.

As part of the Automattic theme team, I worked on various themes and also focused on theme user experience. I was part of default WordPress themes also. I was a full time contributor to WordPress for many years, focusing on the editor, Gutenberg.

Theme experience

The problem: the experience of theme browsing and use is complicated

One of my biggest focuses whilst at Automattic before moving to work as design lead on the new editor, was on theme experience. I started working on the theme team. In this hybrid role I created themes and designed them. From there, I began focusing on a foundation theme called _s (underscores), to try and solve the problem of redoing things and save time.

The solution: create tools that make browsing easier and starter themes that unify themes

As my work progressed I moved onto trying to solve a range of issues from theme browsing through to how to create themes in a more systematic approach. This all was starting to lay the foundations for my approach moving into the editor as I began to really focus on patterns and how themes were doing too much.

Designing themes

I was lucky enough to be part of the theme team and not only work on default themes but also create a number of themes for release used by many people on WordPress.

I got to work on a number of default WordPress themes along with extensive testing of themes and the experience. This all gave me great insights as I moved to focus on the editor.

Design Operations

The problem: how do you bring DesignOps to an open source project?

After focusing on themes and the editor, I moved into design operations. My objective was to grow this within open source. I supported a team of designers as their producer leader. It allowed me to both support design leads in the space and designers of all levels. I also overtime implemented systems to support the global network of contributors to design in WordPress.

As part of this work as a Design Producer in Open Source I worked on hiring, workshops and focused also on feedback empowerment.

The solution: empower leads, establish patterns and systems, create a culture of feedback and communication, start a design system

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