My hope is to empower other facilitators, and department leaders to shed the bias that in-person workshops are the only and the best way. Throughout my career, I have led and participated in workshops of all sizes and haven’t had the opportunity to facilitate a fully remote workshop until the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual workshops have typically been seen as the ugly duckling, far inferior to the in-person, large conference room format. …

In this post, I will showcase a model that I developed as a result of experimentation to integrate design into agile successfully. My experience as a UX designer started in design-centric companies but evolved into working for software consultancies, where I started working in agile. This model emerged out of a pure desire to satisfy the fast-paced, MVP lust without compromising design methodology or craft. If you are a Product Manager, Product, or UX designer who works in engineering-driven companies, and is looking for a way to start integrating design into agile workflows, this post will help.

An Agile Design…

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How we re-envisioned a product that increased user acquisition by 43% and helped transform an organization to a user-centered mindset.

About the project

Participate, a professional development organization for teachers had just acquired a tech startup it needed to help them connect educators so that they can share knowledge and resources. Previously known as VIF, the company rebranded, adopting the Participate name and essentially became a software product company overnight. Now they needed to learn how to operate like one.

My role

  • Workshop facilitation
  • User research lead
  • Interaction design lead
  • Research & design team leadership

The goals

The goals were multifaceted. On a product level, the goal was to reimagine the website with a goal to increase user acquisition. On an organizational level, the goal was to…

Here are some projects from my past that have roots in branding and graphic design.

Black Gold Records

Branding and packaging concept design for a coffee house that streams vinyl tunes. Deigns include, branding and logo, menu, to-go-bag, business cards and re-purposed clothes pins as bag clips.

I believe that collaboration, curiosity, and desire make anything possible, and that product teams can unleash creativity that leads to world-changing innovations.

I am a product designer and strategist with more than eight years of experience designing digital products. I follow a human-centered approach, and help my teams do the same. I fall in love with the problem as much as the solution, and I enjoy connecting people so we can build world-changing products together.

Designing an easy to use mobile app experience that is accessible and loved by everyone.


This project was designed and developed during my time as Lead Product Designer with Table XI. Disability Action for America, a political action committee, came to us with a loosely defined digital product to get more people with disabilities to go out and vote. While they weren’t sure what they wanted to build, they did know they wanted to launch by the November 2018 elections. As with any new endeavor I had a lot of questions.

They hired us to help them concept a minimul viable product, create a product strategy for implementation and design and build the MVP. The…

Too many companies realize why they should do user research too late, when they’ve already missed out on opportunities to make product development more effective, deliver high-impact launches and capture market share.

At the start of a project, it’s easy to fall back on myths: That user research is expensive, time consuming, or simply a waste, because people believe they know enough already. In each case the opposite is true. Kicking off a project with a strong user research process gives you the foundation for everything else you build. …

5-Day User Research Sprint

We know what user research is and why it has value. The next step is learning how to conduct user research in cost-effective way that still delivers maximum impact. A sprint is a user research methodology that allows you to gain insights on a target audience in just one week. The user research process works in any industry and for companies of any size, and it’s repeatable — if you need more insight or help understanding another group, the same process can be used each time.

A sprint is a great way to incorporate user experience research techniques into your…

Yana Carstens

Founder & Principal Design Strategist

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