Kate Valdes, Designer in San Francisco, CA, United States
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Kate Valdes

Verified Expert  in Design


San Francisco, CA, United States
Toptal Member Since
March 4, 2020

With 15 years of design industry experience, Kate has produced successful digital experiences for both startups and well-known name brands alike, such as Netflix and BlackLine. This includes projects across industries and platforms. Leveraging her background in user research, Kate is able to bridge the gap between strategy and experience, integrating design thinking into the most complex of workflows.


Work Experience

Senior Product Designer

2020 - 2021
Discovery Education
  • Mapped out the learning journey for teachers as they create and deliver videos, lessons, and tests to students.
  • Identified usability issues, leveraging the heuristic evaluation framework to explore problems and opportunities.
  • Delivered design concepts and a full prototype flow for a new assessment platform, Quiz.
Technologies: Adobe CC, InVision, Sketch, WordPress, Figma, Responsive Web Design (RWD), User Interface (UI), User Experience (UX), Design Leadership, Product Design, E-learning

Senior Product Designer

2018 - 2019
  • Served as the lead designer on the internal tools team, focusing on title visibility across the entire "pitch to play" workflow. This enabled technology teams to better partner with Hollywood and produce content at scale.
  • Architected the title status platform, which systematized how metadata was captured, searched, maintained, and shared across numerous teams.
  • Reimagined the title visibility solution as a horizontal to span the entire content creation lifecycle, encompassing a 50+ app ecosystem.
  • Led user research that leveraged service design techniques to map out opportunities for users and the business. This included shadow sessions, semi-structured interviews, user journey mapping, and stakeholder mapping.
  • Drove strategy alignment with business leadership to identify opportunities.
Technologies: Adobe CC, InVision, Sketch, Responsive Web Design (RWD), User Interface (UI), User Experience (UX), Design Leadership, Product Design

Director and Lead Product Designer

2016 - 2017
  • Managed a team of designers and contributed as a lead product designer for this user research-focused startup.
  • Led a full design overhaul of the UZ Research Manager, which addressed a dated user experience, focusing on adopting new clients.
  • Defined a new visual language and design patterns in support of three product lines.
  • Partnered with development to implement and roll out the solution.
  • Conducted in-person and remote moderated research to validate concepts and designs, producing successful adopted solutions.
  • Managed, led, and mentored a team of junior designers.
Technologies: ZURB Foundation, Adobe CC, UserZoom, InVision, Sketch, Responsive Web Design (RWD), User Interface (UI), User Experience (UX), Design Leadership, Product Design

Senior UX Designer

2012 - 2016
  • Led a strategic redesign effort defined by a rethink in user flows and product integration, supporting a successful push for the company to go public.
  • Designed a platform that enabled CFOs to take control of their month-end and year-end close process.
  • Refined a design system to better adapt to the needs of a high data density financial tech environment.
  • Overhauled product dashboards and reporting features, focusing on modern data visualizations.
  • Led user research that enabled better product integration across the suite of tools, starting with a UX audit that included a heuristic evaluation to identify and solve usability issues.
  • Partnered with product and engineering as the first designer onsite, delivering user-centered prototypes.
  • Designed and implemented training videos for the company's e-learning platform, leveraging informational and instructional design.
Technologies: Highcharts, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Sketch, Responsive Web Design (RWD), User Interface (UI), User Experience (UX), Design Leadership, Product Design


2010 - 2012
Poly (Formally Polycom)
  • Led instructional design for a broad range of materials, spanning sales collateral to internal communication.
  • Created promotional sales videos with After Effects.
  • Facilitated social media campaigns for the internal communications team.
  • Updated and published new articles on Sharepoint, the company's intranet.
  • Formatted HTML for articles and images showcased on the company internet.
Technologies: Adobe After Effects, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Design Leadership

Lead Web Designer

2005 - 2010
  • Managed every aspect of this eCommerce platform, with efforts influencing increased order conversions.
  • Designed content and information for product pages.
  • Tested usability and optimized the shopping cart workflow.
  • Designed promotional campaigns to support marketing efforts.
  • Developed the social media presence for this company.
Technologies: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, WordPress, Design Leadership
2000 - 2005

Bachelor of Science Degree in Graphic Communication

California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo, CA


Advanced Web and Interaction Design

UCLA Extension


Sketch, Figma, Adobe CC, InVision Studio, Apple Keynote, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, InVision, InVision App, Adobe InDesign, Adobe After Effects, MURAL


UserZoom, iOS, Android, WordPress, Mobile

Industry Expertise

Education Technology (Edtech), Banking & Finance, Health & Wellness, Government, Sports, Health, Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Education, Entertainment & Leisure, Healthcare Media




Heuristic Analysis, UX Audits, High-fidelity Mockups, High-fidelity Prototypes, Interactive Prototypes, Personas, Project Estimation, B2B, Financial UX, Information Architecture (IA), CRM Design, Edtech Design, Design Leadership, Mobile App Design, Video Streaming, Thought Leadership, Design Strategy, Responsive UI, UX Strategy, User-centered Design (UCD), User Interface (UI), User Experience (UX), User Research, Mobile UX, Enterprise SaaS, User Journey Maps, Persona Development, Design Sprints, Responsive Design, Material Design, Qualitative Research, Quantitative Research, Moderation, Workshop Facilitation, Google Drive, Fintech, User Flows, SaaS, Journey Mapping, User Personas, Wireframing, Visual Design, Visualization Design, Product Design, UX Design, UI Design, UX Branding, UI Branding, Web App Design, Responsive Web Design (RWD), Dashboards, Dashboard Design, SaaS Design, Finance, Data Visualization, Information Design, Instructional Design, Data Analytics, Graphic Design, Infographics, Interaction Design (IxD), Digital, Research, Research Analysis, Research & Analysis, Research Methods, UX Research, Responsive UX Design, Service Design, Data-heavy Design, Web App UX, Web App UI, Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping, Google Design Sprints, Web Design, Web UX, Web UX Design, Design Systems, Healthcare Management Systems, Infographs, Design, Learning, Agile, Scrum, Responsive Web Apps, User Testing, Remote User Testing, Usability Testing, Complex Application User Interfaces (UI), Chrome Extensions, Mobile UX Design, Mobile UI Design, E-learning, Branding, Highcharts, WordPress Design, React, Local & Municipal Government, Pharmacy, Online Course Design, Sigma.js, ZURB Foundation, Finance Reports, Pivot Tables, Financial Design, Movie Studios, Reports, Digital Filters, Card Design, Data Grids, Customization, Medtech, Themes, Design Thinking, Startups, Mobile UI, Mobile Apps, Websites, QR Codes, Survey Design, Mobile Web, Civic Engagement, Tablet Design, Wizards, Card Sorting, Unmoderated Remote Usability Testing, User Surveys, Enterprise System Design, Asset Management, Digital Marketing, User Preferences, Acquisitions, Video Editing, Quizzes, UX Assessment

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