Personal work

Inspiration comes from anywhere

Infant Kardex developed with nurses at Intermountain Healthcare

Keep both eyes open

"No person truly becomes a fool until they stop asking questions." -Charles Steinmetz (Electrical engineer)

Empathy comes from serving. When the stories of others become ours, we are both enriched. I am a UX craftsman, serving as scout leader, community theater stage / program designer, commute cycling advocate and a civic and religious volunteer. It can be hectic at times, however, in each role I gain valuable insights, broadening my perspective.

Patents, Medical kardex, Landscape design, architecture

Pennies on the sidewalk

Annie Dillard, author of "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek," exclaimed, "Nature is like one of those line drawings of a tree that are puzzles for children: Can you find hidden in the leaves a duck, a house, a boy, a bucket, a zebra, and a boot? Specialists can find the most incredibly well-hidden things."
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Patents

While most of my patents are still pending and relate to ecommerce, one of my favorites was inspired by watching my teens using their mobile devices. Coupling 2 low-energy sensor grids, I elevated the interactive region above and around the screen, enabling predictive interactions (near and far gestures) and environment recognition by topography.

Illustration of interaction with sensor grid
Illustration of interaction with sensor grid
Patent cover page

Medical Kardex

While my wife worked at Intermountain Healthcare as an RN, I noticed the pile of index cards she emptied into the trash after her shifts. She shared that the scribbled notes documented medications, care received, and progress for patients. After a 12-hour shift, documenting the unwieldy stack could take an extra 30 minutes, for which RNs were not paid.

Over the next 2 months, I volunteered with nurses at 3 hospitals to create a new kardex:

Benefit Feature
More time with patients Check boxes and data fields require less time to complete
More thorough / consistent notes Filling in the care-process model standardizes notes and highlights uncompleted tasks
Less chance of missing important clues Common issues, such as mother / baby Rh compatibility, are laid out for comparison
Less overtime Kardex can be unfolded, punched, and included directly in the patient record
More comfortable No more bulging scrubs; 1/2 sheet per patient - less cumbersome than standard kardex and thinner than index cards
Look more professional Patients and families perceive the RN as better prepared if using professional-looking forms

The experience revealed how care differed by hospital. The kardex spurred discussion and cross-pollination between units, leading to standardized care incorporating the best ideas from each hospital. Word spread among the nursing community and the kardex was adopted by many hospitals in Salt Lake County.

Nurse filling out kardex
Kardex developed for Intermountain Healthcare
Common kardex - lots of writing required

Putting UX to the test at home

Before starting construction of our home, I diverged from the standard layout and designed living spaces based on our family's lifestyle. Keeping track of our activities over 1 month, several patterns emerged:

  1. Nearly 75% of our waking time was spent in the kitchen
  2. While in the kitchen, the person at the sink spent nearly 30% of their time looking outside
  3. Roughly 20% of food preparation included stocking and retrieving ingredients
  4. With the exception of Christmas and piano practice, the living room was unused
  5. People gathered outside the upstairs bathroom at night; family prayer, reading stories, and singing occurred here
  6. The transition from the garage to the house was used frequently to dress / undress
  7. Rooms in which windows made up less than 25% of the wall space were avoided

Based on these findings, I designed a layout that included:

  1. A massive 20x20' kitchen, with 2 gathering hubs and oversized windows above the sink
  2. No hallways, all bedrooms were connected via a room-sized "hub" that allowed for bean-bag chairs and bookshelves
  3. A flattened pantry consisting of a wall of cabinets located central to the garage-kitchen route and adjacent to the dining table
  4. A living room reduced to accommodate a piano and a Christmas tree
  5. Oversized windows in all rooms
Exterior of Home
View of kitchen with 2 over-sized windows above sink
View of eating area with bay-window for dining

Taking UX outside

Why do yards have lawns?

In Utah, unused stretches of Kentucky blue grass are commonplace. Departing from the Better Homes and Gardens approach, I developed a usable yard.

To begin, I studied professional and government landscape architecture, pouring over textbooks, studies, and government guidelines. Furthermore, the planners at the University of Utah and city of South Jordan were excited to share their research on the evolving discipline of xeriscaping, a form of drought-tolerant landscaping using native flora.

Since the yard would be used by my wife, children and their friends, I asked them to help me compile a list of activities they wanted to do in the yard. Using this list and the federally-recommended space allotments for outdoor activities, I designed 5 multipurpose living areas to accommodate volleyball, badminton, tent-camping, picnicking, playing hide and seek, growing fruits and herbs, and more. Some highlights include:

  • I removed the sidewalk and front stairs, replacing them with a 10-ft wide ambling entrance with an integrated semi-circular front step to encourage sitting (this became the gathering area for kids in the neighborhood)
  • To provide the recommended water for each exposure, I designed and built a 16-zone xeriscape watering system.
  • To provide the topography needed, I hand-built berms throughout the yard, using 12 cubic yards of fill dirt. From this, I sifted the rock needed to build stream-beds criss-crossing the landscape and providing flood protection
  • 42 trees, selected based on drought-tolerance, year round coverage and required maintenance, provided depth, shade, and fruit for the yard

Results

When it was all finished, there was very little waste (95% less than average yards), and while it contained 42 trees, winding walkways, and two bridges, the three-year cost of the yard was hundreds less than the standard, Kentucky blue-grass, maple-tree yard common in the area.

View of backyard, with curved walkways, dry stream beds, and bridges
View of backyard from under Asian-styled pergola
View of layout from Google Earth-note contrast to adjacent yards
Detailed measurements for walkway
Tree plan for backyard - Note the placement of the evergreens to provide color throughout year from view areas in house
Main pipe, valve and head layouts for irrigation

Recyclable toys

Open minded, open-hearted.

Watching my children and their friends play, I realized toys have a limited lifespan:

  • 1-2 weeks: Child plays with toy daily
  • 2-4 weeks: Child ignores breakage / loss of parts; may change play (broken dump truck is now used as makeshift bucket)
  • 4+ weeks: Child's attention has been captured by other toys, toy goes into "bin"

I noted that un-defined toys, such as boxes, blocks, or non-specialized Legos had longer life spans.

Inspired by these findings, I started a local volunteer effort where we help kids build toys out of recyclable materials. Not only do children and their parents get to plan and build something together, but when the toy has outlived its usefulness, every part can be recycled. Projects have included:

  • 10ft-long aircraft carrier
  • Red-Baron bi-plane
  • Model-T Car (with benches, doors, and steering wheel)
  • 4-foot long battleship

One of the projects, a 5ft-long spaceship, dubbed the "Deep Space Explorer" or DSE, was featured on Amazon's campus.

Front view of the DSE
Picture of ship in the hall
Picture of ship in the hall
Picture of ship in the hall
Picture of ship in the hall