Product Designer, Merchant Team
Palo Alto, CA
Joined: 2014 & 2015
From designing exhibits at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona to designing merchant-facing products at Groupon, Amethyst’s through line has been finding meaningful connections between people and the world around them.
What’s your favorite Groupon memory?
When I first visited the Groupon Chicago office, I suddenly found myself face to face with a massive cat in a giant spaceship! I will never forget that moment…it is something worth seeing! In addition to the cat, my other favorite Groupon memory is the first Design Union (DU) offsite I attended at the Abby Resort in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Every year the entire design team gets together with designers from all over the world. In previous years, the Design Union held the offsite at a lodge in Seattle where the show Twin Peaks was filmed and another year it was in Santa Cruz. They are always in interesting locations!
The offsites present opportunities for us to connect with one another and build stronger relationships through team building activities and just by hanging out together. They are lots of fun, always filled with outdoor activities, geocaching competitions, and a lot more.
What have been some of your favorite projects you’ve worked on?
This year I was happy to make contributions to both the merchant and consumer teams.
On the merchant side, I recently worked on a project that was really fun as well as challenging. The overall goal was to develop a series of new products as part of the future vision for our merchant offerings. I designed several end-to-end product experience prototypes which could lead to a more robust engagement between merchants and consumers. This was a collaborative project in which I worked closely with a product manager, the merchant team, and senior leadership as well.
On the consumer side, I really enjoyed working on specific features on the deal page through the checkout experience. This was an interesting project because it was all about consumer behavior and showed how even the smallest changes in design could affect consumer decision-making and that can have large economic impact. It required me to think deeply about consumer psychology and therefore impacted my design approaches.
What was your first role here and how did you get to where you are today?
I started as an Associate Product/User Experience Design intern. I had a wonderful time working with amazing designers and engineers from the merchant team and shortly after completing my internship I was thrilled to continue my adventure here as a Product Designer.
What’s your favorite conference room?
What was your first impression of Groupon?
The first thing that left an impression on me has to do with the people who work here. I have always felt that people make a place what it is, and that is certainly true in case of Groupon. I feel that no matter what I might be doing, I have felt supported and cared for by everyone. Recently, a team from the DU started a recognition program for designers who have gone above and beyond their normal duties. This year, I felt extremely honored to have won the DU Appreciation award for my work. Thank you DU team! And the best part was that the award came with a super cute unicorn who sits on my desk! We also have a DU Buddy program which was an outcome from this year’s DU offsite. Such a program helps build a personal connection between our distributed teams. Making meaningful connections and having various support systems within the DU has really made it feel like family.
By the way, I’ve named the unicorn Rufus.
Also, I can never forget the first time I saw the names of all our conference rooms. So creative! You should definitely check out the zombie one!
What do your parents think you do?
My parents really don’t know what I do. They think my work involves “lots of drawings on the computer.” 🙂 Now that I think about it, they are not entirely wrong!
Tell us about working with Engineering from a Design perspective at Groupon.
I truly enjoy working with engineers because I learn so much from them! Every engineer I have collaborated with has helped me to understand the meaning of creativity within constraints.
What’s your favorite part of your team’s Software Development process?
I really enjoy the entire process, from identifying requirements through research and data collection, to the iterative process of generating solutions, to seeing its impact on stakeholders, and finally to reflecting about where we could make improvements. I love to find the balance between a great user experience for our users and business impact.
Tell us something about you that might surprise us.
I once joined a Korean martial arts club to learn the art of Hapkido, a form of self-defense. The name translates to:
Hap = Harmony
Ki = Power
Do = Way or Path
“Every engineer I have collaborated with has helped me understand the meaning of creativity within constraints and what it takes to address user needs while continually creating desirable products.”
What’s unique about the Engineering culture here?
The engineers here are awesome! It’s an environment where people are really passionate about what they do. I truly enjoy working with engineers because I learn so much from them! Every engineer I have collaborated with has helped me understand the meaning of creativity within constraints and what it takes to address user needs while continually creating desirable products.
Where were you before joining Groupon and how did you get here?
Ok, in order to answer this question, you will have to bear with me as I tell a bit of a long story. After I finished my undergraduate degree in Visual Communication Design from Arizona State University, I worked as a graphic designer, developing logos, identity systems, infographics, and other materials primarily for the print medium. I then got a job as the lead exhibit designer at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix, Arizona. This is one of the world’s largest museums that houses remarkable musical instruments from all over the world. It even has the piano on which John Lennon composed the masterpiece “Imagine.” At MIM, I worked closely with a team of curators, installers, technology specialists, conservationists, building contractors, and many others in the design and installation of over 300+ exhibitions. After working at MIM, I was at a company called VMI, which modified vans to make them accessible to people in wheelchairs. Here, I worked in the marketing department, designing and developing print materials, advertising assets for the web, an online sales training program that utilized a SaaS learning management system for the global sales force.
During these years, my work started to expand from creating print-based materials to designing comprehensive solutions on digital platforms. I started to get more interested in designing holistic physical+digital solutions to complex problems. I realized that what truly interested me was designing interactions between people and the world around them. Therefore, I applied and was accepted into the Master of Design graduate program in interaction design at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, PA. This was an intense, research-based design program that introduced me to the process of designing meaningful interactions between people and things. Between my first and second years at CMU, I was an intern at Groupon, and that cemented my interest in becoming a product designer.
What are you currently working on?
Currently, I’m working on improving the experience for our merchant and sales-facing tools. I truly believe in human-centered research and design, and in my work, I strive to convert research insights into useful, usable and meaningful design solutions for all stakeholders who are impacted by our products.
How does the work you do connect to Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?
My design efforts focus on creating meaningful engagement between merchants, the sales team, and consumers. For Groupon to be successful, consumers should be able to quickly find what they are looking for, and at the same time, merchants should be able to offer enticing deals that bring customers through their door. If we can help merchants understand the value that a partnership with Groupon can bring to them, especially as it relates to retention, other merchants would join the Groupon community as well. If we carefully manage these relationships through design and engineering, it can play a critical role in ensuring success for all parties: merchants, consumers, sales, and Groupon itself. My approach to design is to be thoughtful and caring towards all stakeholders and their needs, and if we are able to satisfy those needs, it can take us closer to building the daily habit in local commerce.
Who or what are your biggest Design influences?
My inspirations come from reading, being out in nature, and traveling to new places. In addition, I am also inspired by the talent, creativity, and passion of other designers here at Groupon.
Other influences include:
- Philip Starck for the playful qualities in his work
- Frank Lloyd Wright for situating buildings in context
- Kenya Hara for the purity in his designs and his notion of “empty space”
- Bruno Latour for opening my eyes to the importance of networks
What’s your favorite language?
Coffeescript! (at least for now!) and English. 🙂
Coffeescript has been really fun and challenging to learn, but being able to translate something designed in Sketch through code into something real has been truly enlightening. To my own surprise, I actually found it to be somewhat addictive and discovered that I could keep doing it for hours. And when something works the way I’ve imagined it, there is such a sense of celebration! In order to keep gaining new skills, a few of us on the merchant team started a Framer group back in 2016 and since then we’ve had a few people from the consumer team join the group as well!
What’s your favorite local business?
Accent Arts in the Alley. It’s a locally owned art supply store in Palo Alto. I love to go there to discover things I’d like to try as well as to look for drawing and watercolor supplies.