Heidi Adkisson, Principal Designer & Partner at Blink

Heidi Adkisson

Principal Designer

Heidi Adkisson is a principal designer. She has been leading complex projects since Blink's inception, delivering strategy and design for hundreds of clients, including ISB, Garden City Group, NASA, Moen, and Providence.

Heidi has over 20 years of software development experience working with large-scale system implementations. Her experience includes requirements analysis and interactive design, working with established companies, such as AT&T Wireless and Microsoft.

Heidi has a master's degree in human-centered design and engineering and an MBA from the University of Washington. She has a bachelor's degree in anthropology from Colorado State University and an associate degree in web/multimedia design from the Art Institute of Seattle. Heidi is a member of ACM SIGCHI and Puget Sound SIGCHI.

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Object Modeling for Designers: An Introduction

Heidi Adkisson

As a user experience designer, it can feel as though I am waging an on-going, never-ending battle against complexity, especially when working on enterprise systems. A popular route to simplify an experience is to implement a design system. Design systems are essential, but what I hope to show in this article is that a design system alone — particularly if it’s primarily a component level design system — does not guarantee a simple, consistent experience.

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Enterprise UX: A State of the Union

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For anyone who regularly designs enterprise software (raising my hand here), you have likely been asked to move a dated, difficult-to-use interface to a modern user experience.

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Rolling out the Radical Redesign

Heidi Adkisson

For years I’d heard references to the Winchester House—a mansion built over many years by an eccentric heiress without any master build plan. It is well-known for its oddities such as as doors and stairs that go nowhere and windows overlooking other rooms. A couple of years ago on a Blink project I wound up staying less than a mile away from the famed mansion. Of course I had to go!

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Grappling with Platform Strategy

Heidi Adkisson

Why would Apple seemingly limit what could be developed for the browser? In theory, to push developers towards developing native iOS apps. Thus, yet another shot was fired in the web app vs. native app discussion.

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Considering Continuity: The Seamless Experience

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Recently, I did something I hadn’t tried before: I was “reading” a book in two separate formats on two different devices.

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Three Steps To Better Dashboards

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Not that there is anything wrong with making a dashboard visually appealing—it’s a key part of the user experience. But I’d suggest an approach to designing dashboards that begins with the what before getting into the specifics of how to present the display.

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Work Practice Matters

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The person hovered over OmniFocus at the start of each day? Yes, that would be me. Rewind 20 years and there I am again, but this time lugging about a three-ring Franklin Planner. Suffice it to say that planning and I go WAY back.

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Using the Livescribe Smartpen for Research

Heidi Adkisson

Stakeholder interviews, user research, user testing—all are integral to our approach on a Blink design engagement—and all require superior note-taking skills. Enter the Livescribe Smartpen. I’ve found the Smartpen to be an invaluable tool for note taking of all kinds, but particularly for note taking during research.

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Increasing Your Chances of Successful Design Decisions

Heidi Adkisson

In the ideal world, every design decision would be informed by user research or usability testing. But in the real world, that’s not always possible. Sometimes, you just have to rely on your own internal decision‐making abilities. Below are some tips we’ve found helpful for increasing the odds of a successful user experience, regardless of the resources available for a project:

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Real-World User-Centered Design

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A couple of months ago, I was part of a panel discussion on “Real-World User-Centered Design.” The topic was the outgrowth of questions from a more introductory forum on user-centered design (UCD) principles. After the introductory forum there were still many burning questions—specifically, how do you adopt and adapt UCD principles to real-world organizational constraints?

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Minimizing Usability Risks in Web Applications

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In the year 2000, there were two neatly divided user experience worlds: the world of the web and the world of desktop applications.

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The Art of the Conceptual Prototype

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If you’re not familiar with mind mapping, it’s a handy way to visualize ideas and the connections between them for all sorts of contexts.

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Making Design Collaboration Work

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At Blink, we feel one of the greatest strengths we bring to clients is the extent to which we leverage our internal expertise—and work with clients—in a collaborative way. But effective collaboration is not a slam-dunk. The key is to tap into individual competencies and perspectives in a way that improves the outcome rather than hinders it.

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Objects and Actions Analysis

Heidi Adkisson

Objects and actions analysis is a method of documenting what data (objects) need to be manipulated and what functions (actions) can be performed on the objects. A key benefit of the analysis is representing system functionality without consideration of how the interface needs to look or behave.

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Matching Prototypes to Research Goals

Heidi Adkisson

One of the most important parts of planning for any type of user research or usability testing is a clear set of research questions: what do you want to find out as a result of the study? It seems like an obvious step, yet sometimes this is overlooked.

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Characterizing Users and Usage

Heidi Adkisson

At Blink we create behavioral profiles, along with key scenarios, to characterize users and usage.

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