Design Lead

Saar Byrne

I work hard. My interests include design, politics, tribes, culture, psychology and interventions. Mainly, how these cross over and how we should intervene, how we can design.
Linkedin | CV pdf | Portfolio pdf

Design Mindset

In short, I like to understand the issue, challenge the problem, sketch solutions, test the designs, develop the design, release and do it all over again. And I'll essentially utilise any combination of that process depending on the context.

At the heart of everything I do is the person using or interacting with the product or service. Wherever I have worked I have brought that principle with me and even with a lot of experience now I think it even more important.

Designing applications for users in healthcare, development, sports and culture I've had the privilege of researching and learning how people work from all around the world, for different languages, for different perspectives and for different motivations. What I have noticed and what I have spent a lot of time understanding is human behaviour. I've coupled my applied learning with a strong understanding of psychology and culture, lenses which have helped me shape my understanding of the users of products and services I was designing. What are the contexts in which people work, why do they do certain things and what do they want from those actions?

I'm not an armchair designer, I prefer to get out and talk to people or look at evidence as a way of understanding and defining a problem. The understanding fuels the ideation, it enables less wasted time in meetings, increases chances of success and most importantly helps the user do what it is they need to do.

There are many topics I could cover here, but that's where a chat is probably better. If you want to chat give me a shout my email is byrne.saar@gmail.com.

Questions for understanding the problem:
  • Who is this for?
  • What are they trying to do?
  • Where are they trying to do it?
  • When are they trying to do it?
  • How are they trying to do it
Ways of defining the problem:
  • Personas
  • Journey Map
  • Concept model
  • Needs statments or Jobs To Be Done
Questions for defining the solution:
  • How does this solution relate to the system it inhabits?
  • Web, native or other app?
  • How should the content be displayed?

Roles


Product Designer

My main role is to design and I have always thought this the most important part of my job, creating useful and intuitive software.

User Researcher

Originally, leaving college, I wanted to be a journalist. It was that point in time I honed my research skills, conducting interviews, following up ideas, defining content and searching for any underlying motivations and, subsequently, truth. This naturally led me to have a strong foundation in user research and now I always conduct my own user research, running interviews, card sorting exercises or usability tests.

Design Lead

I have always lead projects but now I lead the design team, of 5 and growing, at Kitman Labs. I have always had an interest in helping others designers grow and an appreciation for giving feedback or advice. At Kitman Labs I've had to formalise many processes around this aspect as we were not mature. Things I've had to operationalise include, standardising hiring questions and rubric, standardising levels and growth planning for design team, 1/1 structure and the design system roll out.

February, 2017 - Present

Kitman Labs

Product Designer & User Researcher

Working across the Kitman Labs product range, web, iOS, Android, 3D, on all things user experience, from understanding to testing to release and monitoring.

April, 2015 - February, 2017

IBM Watson Care Manager

Product Designer & User Researcher

Watson Care Manager gives care workers a platform to deliver the best possible care to their clients so they can achieve a better quality of life, whatever the circumstance.

January, 2015 - April, 2015

IBM (Austin, Texas Area)

Product Designer & User Researcher

Working in the Design Studio in Austin, a number of new hires were brought to Austin Texas to learn the IBM Design Thinking framework. Here we worked intensely and quickly on a number of projects, whilst also being taught Design Thinking methodologies.

January, 2014 - February, 2015

ActionAid

Product Designer

Creating microsites, brochures, leaflets, along with content strategy, UX and UI. My role involved meeting with the ActionAid team and developing ideas and marketing schemes with the production of digital and print pieces.

May, 2011 - January, 2015

Saar Byrne Design & Development 

Designer & Developer

Working as an outsource option for SMEs. Designing and developing a range of media from digital to print. I worked on many projects, small through large.