angela frakes

About /

angela_oct1a.jpeg

I am a Product Designer in Ann Arbor & Detroit.

I just finished my Masters in Interaction Design at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. I have an interdisciplinary background: a BA in Art History and Math from Kalamazoo College and professional experience in non-profits, fashion, and higher education.

Get to know me by reading below, connecting on social media, or emailing me. Je parle aussi le français 🇫🇷

 

What I do and how I do it:

design

USER RESEARCH / the foundation of any good design. Interviews, focus groups, surveys, auditing, personas, and benchmarking all add up to inform and shape a well-developed and user-centered interface.

INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE / I was born to simplify super complex systems. I thrive in multi-layered excel documents and sitemaps that look scary at first but through a process that includes card sorting, taxonomy systems, and user testing come out as streamlined navigation systems and digital environments.

INTERFACE DESIGN / sketches, wireframes, responsive grid-based, mockups, HTML/CSS prototypes: from the structure to the graphics and interactions of a digital interface I am vigilant about the consistency of visual, textual, and structural elements throughout a design.

USER TESTING / I follow an iterative product development process employing everything from paper prototype testing to high-fidelity prototype testing. Once a project is delivered, though, I'm not finished — continual improvements can be made with further tests and analysis.

methodology

EMPATHY / I employ quantitative and qualitative research methods, persona development, and contextual inquiry to understand user behaviors and motivations. I am a superb listener and strive to accommodate every end-user’s needs, leveraging results from research to inform solid solutions.

CONSISTENCY / I am vigilant about the uniformity of visual, textual, and structural elements throughout a design and a product family. I hold others accountable with well-outlined style guides and pattern libraries.

EXPERIMENTATION / I keep a spirit of positivity where creative exploration is celebrated and where we learn from things that don’t work — all the while staying faithful to brand identity in order to communicate credibility.

ADAPTATION / I create legible wireframes, mockups, and prototypes to facilitate an iterative product development process. With user testing and analytics observation both during the project lifecycle and post-mortem, I stay flexible and adapt to the needs of users.

& more

CONSULTING / so far, my freelance work has primarily focused on content strategy with clients building websites for local businesses. I am a strong communicator and am eager to engage and educate others, from users to stakeholders, on how important a solid UX/UI can be.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT / I have led several teams as a project manager in an agile process. I am a superb listener and strive to accommodate both the strengths and needs of my coworkers.

FRONT-END DEVELOPMENT / I am a new, but strong, coder and constantly improving my HTML, CSS, JavaScript writing. I am familiar with various CMS including WordPress and Drupal and have built custom themes for several clients.

TOOLS / in my arsenal: Sketch, Adobe XD, Adobe Suite, UXPin, InVision, Axure. I am a very quick learner and can easily adapt to new software as needed.


What I do besides design:

education

ART  HISTORY  / learned to look for and answer the who, what, when, where, how, and why questions posed by artworks (and, as a result, by any problem). In my Art History BA and Masters I delved the deepest into Conceptual Art in the 1960s and 70s and sought out the non-white, non-male artists who were overlooked in the canon.

MATH / not something that came 100% naturally to me, but I adore the symmetry and elegance of calculus and linear algebra. On my way to getting a Bachelors in Applied Mathematics I began to learn how to code, which paved the way for exploring web design.

ART  / I started out by making very methodical line drawings and developed a practice of recording minute details, first of architectural spaces and then more conceptually of my everyday life. One professor called me "neurotic" when for one project I recorded every single thing I did over a 24 hour period. At least I can say I can commit.

work

RESEARCH / with two theses in art history, academic research assistant jobs, and foundation research for non-profits under my belt, I have developed strong research habits and see it as a vital part of a successful project.

DEVELOPMENT / working in the non-profit world I learned how to develop and implement strategies for fundraising, internal organization, and communication. I consulted with various NGOs on mission statements, elevator speeches, and organizational vision.

RETAIL / taught me many valuable lessons about visual presentation, customer interaction, and management practices. I am vigilant about standards and I create methodical organization systems to optimize inventory circulation and display products in the most appealing and engaging way, based on customer interaction and the statistics of what is selling and what is not. I see it as a cousin of UX design.

& more

FRANCE / just a few months spent with an amazing family in central France turned into a total of four years (on and off) living in the country and fluency in the language. French culture and croissants will forever be a part of me.

PHOTOGRAPHY / both analog (Pentax K1000) and digital (Fujifilm XT-10), mostly to record details from my daily life and my environment. See some of it below and more of it here.

CREW / rowing made me a supportive teammate and a stickler for precision. The simultaneous structure and fluidity of the sport shaped much of my philosophy on life, work, health, teamwork, and the environment.

THINGS I LIKE / my dogs, punk music, knitting, biking, all books, jigsaw puzzles, ice cream, two dots.