Chris Stepanek, Designer in Taipei, Taiwan
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Chris Stepanek

Verified Expert  in Design


Taipei, Taiwan
Toptal Member Since
April 5, 2019

With over twenty years of interactive agency and product design experience, Chris has produced a range of solutions for clients such as Starbucks, Walmart, Verizon Wireless, and Expa. He has an extremely varied project history, a deep technical fluency, and an industrial design and architectural background that allows him to move easily between the realms of theory and practice to create clear and engaging design solutions across channels.


Work Experience

Product Design Lead and Strategist

2019 - PRESENT
  • Brought in as a UX lead and SME (subject matter expert) on multiple projects with a global management consulting company.
  • Facilitated weekly workshops with C-level leadership across American Fortune 500 companies.
  • Developed a go-to-market strategy, product experience, and visual identity for a logistics startup.
  • Designed key branded features for a new crypto currency's wallet app.
  • Developed the user experience of a member portal for a prominent US business association.
  • Worked with multiple consulting agencies to augment their teams and offerings for clients ranging across various industries.
Technologies: Figma, MURAL, Miro, Sketch, Webflow

Design Director

2020 - 2020
  • Helped to define the product roadmap during the volatility of extreme change during COVID-19. Quick onboarding gains for the mass influx of new users were a top priority.
  • Focused on deep research and strategy for a legacy core product feature and how it should evolve in the coming years.
  • Provided an outside perspective and design mentoring for a talented team of designers based in Argentina.
Technologies: EnjoyHQ, FullStory, Marvel, Sketch, MURAL

Head of Design

2016 - 2019
  • Established and managed the internal design group.
  • Developed a practice methodology that applies design thinking to all parts of the service and product offering.
  • Led the integration of user testing and analytics gathering within all areas of the product.
  • Developed and policed a brand system for the company and multiple acquisition companies.
  • Partnered with the product team. Pioneered the design on multiple major product initiatives that helped to define the 3-5 year product roadmap.
Technologies: React, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Zeplin, Sketch, InVision

Product Design and Strategy Director (Consultant)

2016 - 2016
Intersection Co.
  • Led the project team (one of three on the account) responsible for looking at what "digital" meant for Walmart and their next-generation stores.
  • Partnered with a multidisciplinary and skillset team made up of architects (Gensler), planners (Black/Walmart), developers (Intersection/Walmart), and marketing (Walmart).
  • Primarily focused on strategy and vision type work with multiple Walmart business unit heads.
  • Performed weekly scrum style presentations to project leadership and Walmart client stakeholders that covered weekly milestones, new work, gaps in knowledge, and tracking to project timeline.
  • Worked with my counterparts at Gensler (the architects on the project). We explored the use of VR in order to quickly prototype ideas and concepts.
Technologies: Sketch, Adobe Illustrator, Google Slides

Senior Product Designer

2015 - 2016
  • Served as the lead designer and was responsible for all digital product design for the kitchen display system (KDS) portion of the company.
  • Led the physical design of the KDS implementation within the physical kitchen, including prototyping, testing, and installation.
  • Designed and co-architected (with the lead developer) the complete back-end CMS that powered the product platform using Bootstrap.
  • Ran multiple testing scenarios, including playtesting of concepts, user testing of the KDS in the kitchen, and live product (food delivering to customers) shifts.
Technologies: Bootstrap, Node.js, Adobe Photoshop, InVision, Sketch

User Experience Director

2012 - 2015
  • Acted as the UX director on Verizon Wireless retail, Starbucks, and American Express Serve.
  • Provided web, retail, or immersive brand experiences for PIMCO, Desigual, Leading Hotels of the World, and Verizon Wireless eCommerce.
  • Co-ran the design group and was responsible for all weekly design staff resourcing, training, and performance evaluations.
  • Contributed to internal multi-office AKQA internal knowledge presentations focusing on topics such as UX considerations for retail design, agile/lean UX, service design, and product design methodology.
Technologies: Apple Keynote, Axure, InVision, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign

Associate Creative Director

2012 - 2012
Frog Design Inc.
  • Served as the lead UX contributor to the 2012 Verizon Wireless eCommerce pitch work.
  • Worked through multiple rapid prototypes for an on-going social project for Gatorade that partnered with multiple internal Frog contributors from the research and industrial design teams.
  • Led the creative on the American Express Serve project, NY team. Responsible for weekly status, team resourcing, and creative reviews.
Technologies: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign

Associate Director of User Experience

2009 - 2012
Code and Theory
  • Managed, expanded, and structured a UX group in both the NYC and SF offices. Responsible for team resourcing, training, and evaluations.
  • Led the UX design for multiple Comcast projects ranging from set-top box UI to VOD apps and websites.
  • Contributed to additional project roles for clients such as Atlantic Records, AOL, LabCorp, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, and Vogue.
Technologies: Director, Flash, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Apple Keynote, Adobe InDesign

User Experience Group Lead

2008 - 2009
Draft Healthcare
  • Created, structured, and staffed a user experience practice within the agency while demonstrating the value of user experience design.
  • Worked with a range of projects including web, convention, tablet/CLM platforms, mobile, and overall brand strategy for clients such as Merck, Cephalon, Pfizer, Centocor Ortho Biotech, and Boehringer Ingelheim.
  • Integrated UX processes into overall agency workflows.
Technologies: Director, Flash, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator

Senior Information Architect

2006 - 2008
  • Worked as a senior information architect or interaction design lead on projects ranging from consumer advertising to publishing, along with a specialty in interaction design for mobile platforms.
  • Worked with clients such as Conde Nast, NBC Universal, Ford Motor Company, FedEx, Unilever, Pangea, and Prudential Financial.
  • Specialized as a general UX practitioner with a UI focus.
Technologies: Adobe InDesign


2001 - 2006
Design Consultant
  • Specialized in interaction design, information architecture, illustration, photography, and branding for a mix of clients including Victoria’s Secret, Island Def Jam, Blue Note Records, NBC Universal, amp’d Mobile, Oscar de la Renta, 3dm/Seismic Skate Systems, Patrick McMullan Photography, Adam+Eve, ImClone, Vivre, Double-Yolks, Perlier, MasterCard, and Scholastic Inc.
Technologies: Adobe Shockwave, AutoCAD, Flash, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign

Senior Art Director

2000 - 2001
IBM (NY Center for E-business Innovation)
  • Designed interactive media and led design team(s) for major clients in the studio.
  • Worked with a broad range of corporate, insurance, and media clients, including Dow Jones, BMW, Panasonic, Prudential Insurance, BMG, and St. Paul Re.
  • Helped to install information architecture checkpoints into the agency sales process.
Technologies: Lotus Notes, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator

Associate Design Director

2000 - 2000
Qwest Communications
  • Developed both visual design and information architecture for Swissotel and Anteye Inc.
  • Helped to move the thinking forward for "TV of the future" 10 years before YouTube was a thing, with a startup client named Anteye.
  • Revisioned complex online booking flows for Swissotel in the early days of eCommerce and years before it was the norm.
Technologies: Director, Flash, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator

Senior Designer

1997 - 2000
IconNicholson (NNY)
  • Designed varied interactive projects for numerous corporate, eCommerce, manufacturing, and pharmaceutical clients, including IBM, H&R Block, Motorola, General Motors, Prada, Sony, and Pfizer.
Technologies: DeBabelizer, BBEdit Text Editor, Director, Flash, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator

Industrial Designer

1996 - 1997
Guynes Design Inc
  • Joined a small design team and assisted in mechanical and architectural drafting, design of varied internal promotional items, construction of architectural models, large-format digital printing, and basic design for the web.
Technologies: 3D, Sketch, AutoCAD, MicroStation, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator
1992 - 1996

Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Industrial Design

Rochester Institute of Technology - Rochester, NY


MURAL, Sketch, InVision, Figma, G Suite, Marvel App, Miro, Zeplin, Confluence, Airtable, Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Google Slides, Adobe InDesign, Apple Keynote, Flash, AutoCAD, DeBabelizer, MicroStation, Marvel, FullStory, Adobe CC, Jira

Industry Expertise

Retail & Wholesale, Fashion, Telecommunications




YouTube, Axure, Director, Mobile, Webflow


UX Research, Enterprise Design, Personas, Wireframing, User Flows, Project Estimation, Project Evaluation, UX Design, Dashboard Design, Data Visualization, Enterprise SaaS, Enterprise, Remote Work, User Research, Product Roadmaps, B2B, UX Strategy, User Personas, User Stories, Ideation Workshops, Cross-platform UX, Ideation, User Experience (UX), UI Design, Digital Strategy, Web Design, Physical Design, Product Design, Digital Product Design, Product Strategy, User Journeys, User Journey Maps, Persona Development, Design Thinking Facilitation, Fintech, Notion, B2B2C, Business to Business to Consumer (B2B2C), React, Node.js, Bootstrap, Adobe Shockwave, Lotus Notes, BBEdit Text Editor, 3D, EnjoyHQ, Wealth Management, Mobile UI, Mobile UX, Responsive Design, User Testing, User Acceptance Testing (UAT), Co-design, Robo-advisors, Web App UX, Web App UI, Bluetooth Beacons, Emerging Technologies, Immersive Experiences, Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), Geofencing, Rapid Prototyping, Service Design, Food Delivery Services, eCommerce Platforms, eCommerce, eCommerce Design, Buyer Personas, Archetypes, Financial UX, Publishing, Finance, Remote User Testing, Design Leadership, Jobs to be Done (JTBD), Design Strategy, Strategic Design, UI Branding, Logo Design, User Interface (UI), Mobile Prototypes, Facilitation, Information Architecture (IA), Design Sprints, Design Workshops, Responsive UI, Agile UX

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