Phil is a UX designer, researcher, and product owner with 9 years of experience. His specialty is solving complex product-market fit problems for enterprises—building business products people actually use. From ideation to user testing, prototyping, and the iterative development process; he loves the craft and working on teams. He brings a detail-oriented approach and an open mind. His prior work has led to an acquisition and IPO.
Conceived and designed Sesame, an application that connects APIs and native data sources to power a universal search for Android that is filled with deep links into your apps (Contacts, WhatsApp, Spotify, Slack, Reddit, Instagram, Netflix, and dozens more). It learns from each use and is integrated with the launcher. With Sesame you can press your Home button and navigate to most options within 1 or 2 taps.
Achieved 2MM+ installs, 27% long-term retention, named a "must have" app by TechRadar, and a top 10 grossing personalization app in the Play Store.
Developed a search algorithm modeled off Sublime Text Editor. Sesame matches first letters of words so "S" "N" will pull up "Spotify: Nevermind". It learns from each use so just "S" might work next time.
Managed a remote team in Taipei and India, and project managed our sprints, roadmap, and releases.
Ran user testing and experiments all the way from a failing app with only 3% retention to today's version with 27% long-term retention. Early on I built a clickable prototype, recruited alpha testers, ran scripted user interviews from video calls, and went to coffee shops to test our UI with strangers... anything it took. Today I maintain a Beta testing community with over 20,000 members. I follow the playbook from Geoffrey Moore's book "Crossing the Chasm". I put time and effort into hyper engaging this early adopter segment. This has earned Sesame credibility in the Android community and provides valuable product feedback.
Focused on performance, consistency, and quality results with a Human-Centered-Design approach and studied how people actually navigate their devices. Then we did the hard work of programming deep link connections to what you use and delivering them through a clean search interface. I think this is why we have 27% retention.
Maintained an experiment backlog filled with tested hypothesis and lessons learned since 2015. This disciplined approach ensures our knowledge is applied to future design decisions.
Led efforts to partner with Nova Launcher, resulting in Sesame being natively distributed by an app with 10 million - 50 million users.
Deeply integrated with the Android OS. I have an intimate understanding of what's possible with Android.
Technologies: Android, Sketch, Search Algorithms, APIs, Deep Link Learning, MySQL, Adobe Photoshop, Slack API, Spotify API, YouTube API, Reddit API, Screen Automation, Firebase, Google Analytics
2017 - 2017
Started as a freelance designer. I was offered the co-founder role after two weeks.
Led user testing, UX, UI, visual design, and roadmap management.
Developed ClozeLoop, a product that layers Quora style curation tools onto Google Docs. Coworkers can mark docs helpful, tag them, and ask and answer questions in threads. It’s delivered through Slack. Have a question? Ask the ClozeLoop bot before you spam a public board. The bot scans all docs and returns an answer weighted by relevancy, tags, and helpfulness. 2017.
Initiated user test their existing product. I made sure to be unbiased so the tests were believable. Watching this, the founders themselves concluded a pivot was needed.
Ran Google-style design sprint with the team including engineers. The group thrived in this structured ideation exercise. We agreed to a single sentence value prop and designed a prototype to test it. I built it in InVision and we user tested it in 1-hour scripted sessions. With new confidence in our trajectory, we started coding.
Managed an 8-week customer pilot. Embedded with a 15 person sales team, we shipped a new version of ClozeLoop each week. Improvements can sometimes be slow but if you keep at it and listen to your customers, eventually your breakthrough. At the end of our pilot, the customer wrote us a five figure check to keep the software.
Technologies: Slack API (bot), Salesforce, Google Drive API, Sketch, InVision, Mixpanel, Trello
2016 - 2016
Built as a side project and designed to be as simple as possible. Ride Fair shows surge and ETA information for all nearby Uber and Lyft rides. One tap takes you directly to the ride of your choice. It queries the Uber and Lyft APIs in real time. There are some neat design tricks: the background is a stylized version of Google Maps, showing your real location.
Conceived, designed, and developed by me and Steve Blackwell. 4.7 rating in the Play Store.
Featured in Fortune (for.tn/2h1kyW7) and the SF Chronicle (bit.ly/RFchron).
Technologies: iOS, Android, Google Maps, Uber API, Lyft API
UX/UI and Product Lead
2012 - 2015
Served as the lead product owner and UX designer for the core web product as the company scaled from five to 250 customers, millions of users, and exited via IPO. I was accountable for user acquisition, retention, and the overall success of the platform. My ultimate goal was a 0% customer churn. To accomplish this I focused on user-centered design, product/engineering efficiency, and testing quality (QA is the bedrock of any well-designed product).
Coordinated complex projects across many departments (Engineering, Product Marketing, Implementation, Custom Support, and Legal). I was responsible for translating business goals into software features and earning stakeholder trust in a company that grew to over 400 employees.
Managed on-site and remote teams of 7+.
Introduced Agile development to the company and a disciplined build, measure, learn approach as detailed in the book "Running Lean." I started first with my team, within a year the entire company ran Agile and many ran iterative experiments.
Improved our registration flow conversion from 20% to 60%. We replaced the registration form, which required users' SSN, with a single sign-on button branded by their employer. We then embedded SSO registration inside their health benefits enrollment (instead of wasting effort to lure in users, we went to where they already were engaging). To do this we built an iframe and API to conduct the secure handoff.
Designed a first time experience that had users complete a search and see how Castlight saves you money. Before rushing into some complicated walkthrough experience, we looked at our analytics data to look back and see what our power users had done the first time they used Castlight. This showed us that conducting a search is the key behavior. We then used location, personal claims data, and analyzed their health plan options in order to present them with a simple flow that converted first-time visitors into repeat actives.
Designed a simple UX/UI for a powerful search feature that pulled data from multiple sources simultaneously. Shopping for healthcare is confusing. It's hard to know what a "good doctor" is. Quality of care is more important than cost when choosing a doctor. We leaned on UI conventions from comparison shopping sites like Kayak, then took time user testing what type of information helped users discern which providers were high quality.
Built a claims-based provider review system. When users saw a doctor, Castlight would prompt them to review the care they received via an email or in-app prompt. The reviewed survey was based on the CG CAHPS methodology which rating outcomes.
Partnered with Quest Diagnostics to embed appointment scheduling into Castlight. Users could see available times, input preferences, book, and receive a confirmation all from within Castlight. This required complex data exchange between both enterprise companies. API's had not been fully developed, we had to lay that groundwork.
Conceived and design a care team that analyzes a user’s historical medical claims then recommends providers from their health plan with superior quality ratings, lower prices, and similar driving distance. It displays total savings opportunities and lets you easily access your family's providers along with benefits information.
Managed the "Castlight Guides" support team tools. This included a knowledge base and live posing tool that allowed them to securely screen share with the user.
Designed and implemented a personalized email tool that used claims data to deliver relevant and timely emails. In some instances, we improved the click-through rate by over 1,000%.
Built custom integrations for AT&T, Best Buy, and Orange. Too many of their smartphones were being returned because people didn't know how to use them. DashConfig provided a first time experience that prompted users to connect to WiFi, sign in to their Google Accounts, backup contacts, etc. This early usage of their devices' most impressive features and reduced device return rates. We take mobile onboarding for granted today, but in 2012 these were cool ideas :).
Managed an onsite and remote team development team.
Led ideation, design, roadmap planning, and execution.
Technologies: Android, Web App, Adobe Photoshop, Custom Analytics Platform
2010 - 2012
Let's Do This
Founded the company, recruited a team of six, designed the app, ran project management, and owned the analytics and marketing.
Shipped three products for the web and iPhone with some cool technology in them: a learning algorithm, group text functionality before GroupMe existed, Facebook integrated, and real-time features that tend to crash servers. Unfortunately, we tried to apply this technology to a convoluted UX of "what are your friends doing now?" It had a terrible chicken and egg problem and was dependent on users having a lot of motivation that just didn't exist.
Technologies: iOS, Web App, Facebook Open Graph, Group Messaging, Realtime updates via Apache and Google Wave :)