Michelle Brown

Michelle Brown

Michelle believes that good design is like silence. You never seem to notice when it’s there, but its absence is always missed. With a thorough understanding of end users, Michelle Brown creates these silent designs that support users through every step of their journey. She delights in crafting pleasurable experiences through a variety of research and design methods and is always pleased to use her knowledge to take designs to the next level.

Her experience spans wireframe creation, usability testing, persona development, design feedback, and card sorting. As an Experience Architect, she has proven that she can meet aggressive schedule objectives and deliver actionable results.

Michelle has a MSc. in Computer Science with a specialization in Human Computer Interaction and is an Experience Architect at Akendi, a firm dedicated to creating intentional experiences through end-to-end experience design.

Author Archives: Michelle Brown

Beware of UX Charlatans

Beware of UX Charlatans

The television faith healers of the digital era. The Rise of the Charlatans A lot of companies are becoming more familiar with the terms “UX”, “User Experience”, and “Usability”, and this is great! There’s a growing community of people who are beginning to see this as an essential part of the design process. However, asRead more

The Three Steps to Time Management Success

The Three Steps to Time Management Success

I’m going to break a bit from my usual discussion of improving experiences to talk about a more universal topic: time management. This is essentially a basic human life skill. Despite that, a lot of people struggle with it. Fortunately, successful time management only involves three steps: Know how you work Know what the workRead more

Transit Usability Issues Force Me to Turn to Crime

Transit Usability Issues Force Me to Turn to Crime

I have a confession to make. I’m a little obsessed with transit systems. Though at this point I think it’s a time honoured tradition at Akendi: NYC, GO Transit, and TTC. I recently went to visit my sister in Sydney, Australia. I spent some time surfing and admiring kangaroos, however I spent even more timeRead more

Why is it so hard to vote in the US election?

Why is it so hard to vote in the US election?

What really goes on in the voting process for many Americans? For those of you living under a rock, the United States is having an election on November 8th. As this date is rapidly approaching, I thought I’d cover the difficulty some American voters will need to face in order to get their votes in.Read more

Apple: Two terrible and two brilliant design decisions

Apple: Two terrible and two brilliant design decisions

Apple is often hailed as the gold standard for user design. There are a couple of things that they have done very well and then there’s a few really terrible decisions they have made. Let’s start with the good, because there are a number of Apple designs that I appreciate. THE GOOD 1. Mouse ShakeRead more

Designing for the Whole Experience

Designing for the Whole Experience

My Presto card promises a lot. I’ll be able to travel on the TTC (public transit system in Toronto) using a single card. No more stashes of tokens or piles of change. The system, as it is currently implemented in Toronto, fulfils the basic technical requirements. I am able to use my card to enterRead more

This Complex Washing Machine Reveals How NOT to Design Icons

This Complex Washing Machine Reveals How NOT to Design Icons

A case study in what happens in the absence of good UX I was waiting for the elevator one morning when joined by a man I hadn’t seen before. The first thing he said was not ‘good morning’ or ‘hi’, it was “do you have a washing machine in your apartment?” Unsure where he wasRead more

Auto-fill Your Taxes [Review]

Auto-fill Your Taxes [Review]

After having a miserable go at taxes last year, I vowed to make this the best year yet. I had heard about a new feature called “auto-fill my taxes”. So I signed up for an online account with the CRA. The Setup  The most difficult part of this whole process is the setup. There isRead more

The Seven Deadly Sins of Automated Phone Systems

The Seven Deadly Sins of Automated Phone Systems

Automated phone systems, everyone hates them, everyone has to use them. These systems force callers through an excruciating menu system only to leave them on hold forever waiting to hopefully talk to a human before their call is dropped. These systems cause callers to repeatedly press ‘0’, be hostile when they finally reach an agent,Read more

Using the Wickens’ Model When Designing

Using the Wickens’ Model When Designing

Human cognition is an incredibly complex task that to this day is not completely understood. When designing a product or service, it’s difficult to keep in mind the complex processing that humans undergo as they encounter, not just your system, but also the world around them as they use the system. This is where modelsRead more

What do Tamagotchis, Furbies, and Smoke Alarms All Have in Common?

What do Tamagotchis, Furbies, and Smoke Alarms All Have in Common?

The Tamagotchi As a young child in the 90’s with no dog, I desperately wanted a Tamagotchi. Desperately. The pocket-sized virtual pet promised all the love and companionship that I had been missing out on. Everyone in my class seemed to have one and they looked so fun. So, I put it at the topRead more

Stop “Improving” My Bathrooms

Stop “Improving” My Bathrooms

If the goal of technology is to make our lives easier, then why am I trapped outside of a bathroom by a fancy electronic door lock, unable to enter the password even when I know what it is? The large black screen stares at me in silent judgement as I repeatedly press my finger intoRead more

Making Things Un-Usable (For Some)

Making Things Un-Usable (For Some)

At the hospital where Dr. Henri J. Breault worked in Windsor, Canada, a parent rushing in with a poisoned child was a daily occurrence. Medical teams would hurry to pump the child’s stomach before it was too late, but they didn’t always have enough time. These poisonings were caused by children getting access to pillRead more

How to Avoid Disaster and Save Lives

How to Avoid Disaster and Save Lives

On April 26, 1986 a sudden explosion lit up the night at a local power plant. The operators were ill equipped and unprepared for the situation that they now had to contain. They spent the next few hours in confusion running around trying to get a grip on what had happened, as the surrounding populationRead more

Please Let Me Go – The Usability of Flight Booking Systems (Pt. 2)

Please Let Me Go – The Usability of Flight Booking Systems (Pt. 2)

Exhausted from your exploration of the WestJet flight booking system, you, Andrée Aumond, are looking for smoother sailing and greener pastures with Air Canada. You hope to find a good deal on travel to see your son’s family in Orlando, Florida. Before you can relax by the beach though, you have to battle online bookingRead more

An (Unintended) Exploration of Tax Software Usability

An (Unintended) Exploration of Tax Software Usability

I had the questionable joy this year of trying out, not one, not two, but three tax return applications online to file my Canadian taxes. This is not because I really like filling taxes, but rather, it took me that long to find a good application. Now, in years previous I’d always happily and easilyRead more

The Power of a Good Story

The Power of a Good Story

It was a dark and stormy night and Lynn Weston couldn’t figure out how to turn off her computer. She had just gotten a new Windows 8 system and was concerned about it being damaged in the thunderstorm. Ever since she had heard about her neighbour’s TV being fried in a storm last year, LynnRead more

Improve Desirability: Improve your Experience

Improve Desirability: Improve your Experience

As I fought to run away from a sudden hoard of attackers before they killed me, I accidentally pulled out my cell phone holding it up so that it completely blocked my vision with a map of the town. I continued to run blindly into the darkness as I struggled to put the phone awayRead more

The Perils of Choice (and how to avoid them)

The Perils of Choice (and how to avoid them)

One Saturday in an upscale supermarket in California, shoppers were greeted with an extraordinary display of 24 types of jam to sample and buy. These exotic jams ranged from peach to kiwi and shoppers flocked to the display to sample some of these new and interesting flavours. What they didn’t know was that this wasRead more

Please Let Me Go – The Usability of Flight Booking Systems (Pt. 1)

Please Let Me Go – The Usability of Flight Booking Systems (Pt. 1)

Your name is Andrée Aumond and you wish to book a flight from Toronto, ON, Canada to Orlando, FL, USA for two weeks, leaving the 15th of July. You want to spend some time with your son’s family on the beach and relax. The only problem: You have to figure out these flight-booking sites first.Read more