Redesigning beyond aesthetics to context, utility and speed

My role: User Research

Team makeup: One project manager, three software engineers, retail stakeholder

What I did: Uncovered pain points for retail workers through generative studies, created roadmap of opportunities, evaluative testing

The Problem

Tuft & Needle is a mattress, bedding and bedroom company that’s always been online-first. When they began opening retail stores a few years ago, they relied on checking out orders through the system on their dotcom website. This process became slow very fast, so a specific checkout app was created for retail. Design-wise, they thought to continue to riff on…

My role: Support, then Lead Researcher

Team makeup: Eric, Chris, Tamar, Aalap, Frank, Janna, Nora, Olesya, Doug. A majority of the team was remote.

What I did: Lead and mentored on user research best practices, lead Design Thinking workshops, interaction design

Olo’s online food ordering experience serves millions of people each day. Think the “enterprise-grade” restaurants: Wingstop, Applebees and Five Guys to name a few. Customers order online at these restaurants for different reasons. By the time I joined Olo, the team had embarked on a responsive redesign of the web app experience. However, little had been done to gain…

Making the exhaustive duties for restaurant employees a little faster and easier

My role: User research and design

Team makeup: One product manager, four software engineers

What I did: Spearheaded user research (quantitative and qualitative), established sprint cadence, defined MVP solution, lead branding workshops, kicked off company design system, reviewed code, evangelized Design Thinking

Imagine that a restaurant takes online orders on their own website, as well as from the likes of Seamless, Grubhub, Caviar and more. Rather than forcing restaurant staff to deal with all these separate ordering platforms, Expo funnels all these ordering sources into one device. …

A little delight for a lot of benefit

The Goal

Collaborative Fund is an investment fund that focuses on community-bettering startups. They were working with Sesame Street to raise funds for childrens’ literacy. We were hired to create an educational game that could serve a great cause — and have fun doing it.

The Solution

Playalong is an interactive true/false trivia game, starring Cookie Monster, that raises 1 cent every time you get an answer correct. Cookie Monster follows your cursor around the screen and throws a cookie into the cookie fund for every correct answer!

Where to go from a Concierge MVP

The Goal

WageGoal is a web app that alerts you when your bank account is in danger of overdraft. The app lets you withdraw funds from your paycheck before payday to help prevent the overdraft.

It’s a concierge app that my team and I built over a few months, and we needed an admin robust enough to serve our first customers.

The Problem

Our WageGoal admins are responsible for monitoring clients’ financial information and alerting them when it seemed their finances were going off track.

Bringing new audiences to a 100+ year-old accounting firm

The Vision

PriceWaterhouseCoopers provides accounting services to Fortune 500 companies. They’re seeking innovative solutions to diversify into new audiences and industries. My team was hired to explore problems small business owners face and how to leverage PwC’s expertise to solve them.

The Problem

On average, 75,000 small businesses close per year. The reason is not for lack of profit; rather, the issue lies in cash flow management and ability to convert invoices into real cash. Small business owners struggle to track and collect on their invoices.

The Solution

PwC’s Small Business Services track invoices and send reminders when payments are expected to come in. When a…

Tearing down the Wall of Bras and dismantling the Industry Sizing Status Quo

The Vision

We’re setting out to change the way women think about their boobs. Too long, women have been told their bra size is wrong. We’re here to celebrate body positivity and provide a service that enables women to feel their best selves.

The Problem

Women who wear bras daily struggle to shop for and discover a bra that truly fits. Walking into a department store or browse online, try on a hundred bras — the experience is a crapshoot, and tiresome.

Innovation for the financially underserved

The Vision

Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners is a nonprofit that provides B2B financial services to clients. The services are face-to-face financial counseling to employees.

Our team’s goal was to scale the counseling services on a digital platform.

The Problem

Full-time employed workers living paycheck to paycheck often make enough money to afford all their bills and living expenses, but their paydays don’t correspond to when their bills are due. They land themselves into debt when they use a credit card or a predatory loan to pay bills before their paychecks arrive.

The Solution

WageGoal tells you if and when your bank balance will hit $0 before…

I’ve seen a spectrum of founders and their perceptions on branding:

I need a logo for my business! I’ve got a fully crafted press release! Mission, mission mission!

Logo doesn’t matter! Early adopters care about brand! If it takes more than 10 minutes, I’m not doing it!

I think an approach to early stage branding lies somewhere in between. Even the most minimally branded company conveys at least the following: The promise (Unique Value Proposition), a look, a feeling, and a tone.

The company that I work at, Bra Theory, lives in an industry saturated with competitors. We’re trying to…

It’s rare to see the underbelly of enterprise software development. Behind every CEO’s story of success lies weeks, months, years of iteration, bureaucracy and (mis)communications.

I worked on the product team for a FinTech web-app for a year. While we uncovered many user insights and shipped many features, we returned to one critical feature again and again.

The Problem and Solution

The value proposition of the app was straightforward. For those living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to be prepared for unexpected financial shocks, the app allowed people to access their paycheck in advance.

Brooke Kao

NYC based Product Resdesveloper // @brookekao

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