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Michelle Brown

Michelle Brown

Experience Architect

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.

Beware of UX Charlatans

By Michelle Brown

14.09.2017

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...

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The Three Steps to Time Management Success

By Michelle Brown

13.07.2017

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...

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Transit Usability Issues Force Me to Turn to Crime

By Michelle Brown

16.02.2017

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...

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

By Michelle Brown

07.11.2016

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...

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Apple: Two terrible and two brilliant design decisions

By Michelle Brown

13.09.2016

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...

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Designing for the Whole Experience

By Michelle Brown

18.08.2016

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...

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Auto-fill Your Taxes [Review]

By Michelle Brown

22.03.2016

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...

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The Seven Deadly Sins of Automated Phone Systems

By Michelle Brown

28.01.2016

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...

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Using the Wickens’ Model When Designing

By Michelle Brown

19.01.2016

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...

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Stop “Improving” My Bathrooms

By Michelle Brown

03.09.2015

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...

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Making Things Un-Usable (For Some)

By Michelle Brown

27.08.2015

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...

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How to Avoid Disaster and Save Lives

By Michelle Brown

30.07.2015

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...

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An (Unintended) Exploration of Tax Software Usability

By Michelle Brown

09.07.2015

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...

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The Power of a Good Story

By Michelle Brown

02.07.2015

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...

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Improve Desirability: Improve your Experience

By Michelle Brown

25.06.2015

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...

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The Perils of Choice (and how to avoid them)

By Michelle Brown

23.06.2015

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...

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