Heidi Adkisson

Principal UX Designer & Partner

Heidi Adkisson is a Blink partner and principal UX 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 Masters in Human Centered Design and Engineering and an MBA from the University of Washington. She has a B.A. in Anthropology from Colorado State University and an Associate of Applied Arts in Web/Multimedia Design from the Art Institute of Seattle. Heidi is a member of ACM SIGCHI and Puget Sound SIGCHI.

Related Content

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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It’s Showtime for Apple Services

Heidi Adkisson

It was all about entertainment on Monday at the Steve Jobs Theater, where Apple announced a new set of long-awaited services.

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Enterprise UX: A State of the Union

Heidi Adkisson

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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One UX-er’s View of the Apple Watch

Heidi Adkisson

Having purchased an Apple Watch about a month ago and worn it daily since then, I decided it was time to toss my perspective into the ring, both as a user and a UX professional.

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Considering Continuity: The Seamless Experience

Heidi Adkisson

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

Heidi Adkisson

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

Heidi Adkisson

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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The Uphill Climb of Single-Purpose Devices

Heidi Adkisson

Having started my tech career in the cellular industry back in the era of brick phones, I’ve had a particular interest in the evolution of mobile devices. And I remember when the first Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) hit the market the burning question was whether PDAs should be stand-alone devices or subsumed into cell phones.

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WRAP For Better Design Decisions

Heidi Adkisson

WRAP consists of four elements: Widen Your Options, Reality Test Your Assumptions, Attain Distance Before Deciding, Prepare To Be Wrong

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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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How Useful are User Interface Patterns?

Heidi Adkisson

This past June, I attended the Usability Professional Association conference—the theme for which was Patterns: Blueprints for Usability. It provided the opportunity to hear a number of different perspectives on user interface patterns—and I presented my own thoughts on the topic as a conference presenter.

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Real-World User-Centered Design

Heidi Adkisson

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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Consistency: When Is It Too Much of a Good Thing?

Heidi Adkisson

Consistency in an interface is generally a good idea, but like many good things, it can be taken too far. Particularly in content-heavy web sites, pages with an overly similar look can make it difficult for users to get a sense of place. Too much similarity can also give a system an overall static feel. The key is to understand when a lack of consistency interferes with the user experience—and when it doesn’t.

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Minimizing Usability Risks in Web Applications

Heidi Adkisson

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

Heidi Adkisson

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

Heidi Adkisson

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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Keeping Page Layouts Simple and Easy to Scan

Heidi Adkisson

Complicated page layouts confuse users and cause them to overlook important content. Avoid this fate by following a few key design principles.

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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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800 or 1024?

Heidi Adkisson

Many sites are going wider, but should yours? There are several issues to consider before making the switch. Recently, several well-known news sites (cnn.com, espn.com, cnet.com, nytimes.com) have increased their page widths to 1024 pixels (more accurately 984, accounting for browser chrome). This naturally leads to the question: Should we increase the base resolution of our pages to 1024 or stick with 800?

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Seeing Red

Heidi Adkisson

Approximately 8% percent of Caucasian males have some type of color blindness (more correctly referred to as color deficiency). Despite this fact, major sites rely on users’ ability to distinguish red.

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