Lisa Costanzo Wilkins

Persuading pixels to achieve their greatest potential Résumé

TODAY.com & NBCNews.com

Sr. UX Designer

TODAY.com Section Redesign - Lifestyle Initiative

My most recent project was defining a template and design language to be used across the lifestyle sections. The first section released was TODAY Food. The team's goals were to expand the options available on the fronts by serving topic groupings, creating a clean visual presentation and encouraging exploration. We also provided various solutions to address the desire for customized revenue opportunities, allowing sponsors the ability to add topic-specific content.

All products are focused for mobile and devices first and were the focus of out first round of user testing. I lead the UX testing for the project, defining our areas of focus for the UX researcher to examine. Together we decided on iterative updates we would incorporate following each block of sessions. Some designers may cringe at user testing, I find it one of the most intriguing stages: viewing it for the first time through a user's eyes brings to light any of the designer's blind spots (e.g. how much the users enjoyed the 'carousel' functionality which I hesitated to add).

While the TODAY core team is fairly small, the stakeholders, sales, on-air producers and SEO/analytics teams keep the processes in negotiation. It's a balancing act for the whole team to accommodate business requirements while eliminating any experience roadblocks.

The first lifestyle section, TODAY Food, was released in mid-June, 2015. This section serves as a template for other lifestyle sections to be launched in summer 2015.

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TODAY.com Parenting Team - Lifestyle Initiative

The team's goal behind the redesign is to provide resources and inspiration from famous, and not-so-famous, contributors. We're celebrating our imperfections, rather than setting unrealistic goals of perfection.

With this first project, The Parenting Team, TODAY partnered with Tidal Labs to build a community for everyone to share their experiences, challenges and advice regarding all aspects of parenthood.

The design emphasis revolves around "Team". The header branding is similar to a team medal or ribbon. Following the same theme are individual achievement badges. The environment for the TODAY Parenting Team and future lifestyle design efforts will be clean, simple, joyful and inclusive.

TODAY Parenting Team front
Version 1 of the TODAY Parenting Team. As our contributors and user base grows we will test various features and layouts based on user engagement.
TODAY Parenting Team badges
Badges for bloggers, sponsors and on-air talent.
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The Mix - TODAY.com mobile app

The Mix was an app for quick hits of TODAY.com news on-the-go. The concept was to provide an "in case you missed it" product, showcasing the top stories of the day, consumable in about 10 minutes. Shaking the phone tossed out the first 5 curated articles and the next 5 dropped in.

Proposed user flow
The Mix mobile app wireframes
Basic flow-chart & wireframes.
The Mix finished mocks ready for fit-and-finish work. visual design
Final rough mocks, ready for production
Finished designs
Changes and updates not in the mockups were designed in-broswer.

I was the lead ux designer involved in all phases, from initial concepts and rough sketches to wireframes and finished deliverables. As so often happens, the joint venture between Microsoft and NBC was disolved. MSNBC.com was merged completely into NBC News and new priorities left The Mix for another time. C'est la vie.

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Video Experience

I was recently part of the third redesign of the entire NBCNews.com site, initially launched in 2014. The new design was completely mobile first and geared towards a more mobile-centric demographic than the current user base. In pre-launch user testing, the designs were very well received; but in the 'wild', the reaction was very different. The current demographic was not ready for a mobile-focused experience. Because the front-end was built with node.js using Handlebars, the corrections and revisions were lightening fast.

My role on this project (for the first redesign and the iterations thereafter) was design lead for the video player UX. It was part of a larger extremely aggressive goal to increase video starts.

Video player final
The last set of wireframes led to this rough mockup. It informed my continued explorations once in production.
Video player mockup
The final design iterations were created in-brower, and it continues to evolve.

Based on the previous player's usage and engagement data, I worked with the video development team to make the player as flexible and re-usable as the tool would allow. We performed user testing throughout development and continuous A/B testing to iteratively adjust the interface. The previous player had an overwhelming, full-site, nested navigation. For the new video player I reduced the navigation to contextually relevant videos and top videos from NBC News.

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Election Coverage

I've worked on every mid-term and presidential election since 2006. In 2012 the goal was to create flexible modules for the politics hub page. It was one of our first layouts nixing mobile-specific markup in favor of single markup and responsive layouts. Within our proprietary CMS and editing tool, the developer and I created modules flexible enough to work in any row and any position on the page. This allowed the editors to prioritize the Politics front topics in-step with the news cycle. The smallest module breakpoints served all three of our target views: mobile, tablet and desktop.

Politics hub layout
A visual created in cooperation with the project dev and the editorial staff to establish design expectations and flexibility.
The day after election hub page
Politics hub, 'the day after'.

The modules included data such as reports from NBC News embeds, social sentiment, voter confidence indices, and social outreach. Deciding on the content options available was a joint effort between the ux team and editorial staff. They requested module types, and we pitched new services or data analysis for them to consider (and maybe a few minor bribes were made between teams). Thanks to the variety of content, our coverage was one of the most complete in the industry.

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NBCNews.com Editorial Support

I contracted with MSNBC.com from 2003 to 2004 and was hired on full time in 2005. I've worked nearly every design position from daily editorial artist to company-wide design training for a new CMS. Other responsibilities:

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Digeo Broadband

Lead Designer

OTT and web design

At a small interactive television company (formerly Digeo, now Arris) I led a team of designers to create an interface navigated via remote control for DVR and OTT commerce interactions. We delivered solutions to better integrate the normal 10ft passive TV viewing (channel surfing, search, programming the DVR, etc.) with active engagement accompanying shows and sponsors.

We also created the company web site, and the site that accompanied the OTT interface.

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Go2Net

Noob Visual Designer

Visual & marketing design

At Go2Net, I learned what HTML was and never looked back.

My first role with them was for product shots for a vertical called GameSite. I moved onto portal design, product branding and ads. I made some of the most amazing 468x60 ads the internet had ever seen. My mentors, the Art and Creative Directors, gave me the time and tools I needed to understand the web side of design and production.

Together my son and I have this:
dog
Seattle winters are occasionally ...
dog
... and in the summer it's nothing but:
dog