As Co-Founder and Senior UX Designer at Neuron, Chris and his team build award-winning designs for their clients. He is also the organizer of Beer and UX, a get together of people aiming to make the world a better place through user experience with over 800 members now.
Can you give us a back story of how you got into UX design?
Prior to practicing UX design, I was working in Boston in the field of architecture. Seeking a more agile work environment, I founded Neuron in 2016 along with four co-founders with diverse backgrounds including building architecture, industrial design, economics, and fashion design. Today we have grown Neuron into a leading boutique San Francisco-based UX agency that creates best-in-class digital experiences.
Can you share one of the best projects that you worked with?
It’s always exciting when we help clients make their MVP (minimum viable product) a reality. A great example of this is a social fitness platform we worked on, empowering users with control over how they exercise. Neuron was brought in during the early stages of concept development, helping to define the value proposition, features, and interaction model. We were also responsible for the full design and front-end development. Over the months of the engagement, we considered a number of different feature sets and pivots, helping the client to ultimately bring their vision to market.
How are you practicing UX leadership in Neuron?
We feel it is very important to foster a community around UX/product design in the Bay Area. At the start of Neuron, we created a YouTube video series to help aspiring UX designers gain an understanding of best practices. In 2018 we launched a monthly meetup series called: Beer and UX. The community of 800 members visits Neuron’s offices each month to learn about the latest in UX/product design. Some examples of past discussions include: Designing for Accessibility, What is Voice UX?, and Top 10 UX & UI Trends for 2019.
What advice can you give to aspiring design leaders to have a great mentor like you?
Unlike the traditional agency model, at Neuron we keep our project teams small and flexible, which means greater efficiency in our workflow and a lot of trust given to our designers. From the perspective of leadership, try to find a mentor that gives his or her UX Designers ownership over what they are creating. A great leader should not micromanage, he or she should both teach and empower. It is when one empowers designers to take the reins and build confidence that you get the best possible outcomes in the long term.
What are the main challenges you faced when you started Neuron? How were you able to overcome it?
One of the main challenges, which I feel a lot of entrepreneurs face, is wearing many (new) hats. When starting one’s own business, there are a variety of roles one needs to embrace that may be different from any job they previously held. When we created Neuron we had the design expertise, but we had to learn the essentials of bookkeeping, taxes, marketing, etc. We are now able to face head-on the challenges that come from running one’s own business – it has been an exciting and rewarding process!