My name is Patryk Ploszaj (pwo-shy). I am a User Experience Designer with a background in Human-Computer Interaction, Computer Science and Arts. I was born in Bilgoraj, Poland and currently reside in Chicago, USA.. One of my mentors once told me that I'm a problem solver, not a note taker. Go figure.
I love my family, music, martial arts, coffee and thoroughly enjoy doing what I do. I am also interested in the Astral Realm and Spirituality. I feel that any Spiritual Journey is one of the most important and rewarding experiences in life (The Great Work in progress).
I was introduced to User Experience Design in 2006 when I joined the Graduate Human Computer Interaction Program at DePaul University in Chicago . I feel that that's when I started becoming more in tune with myself, part of which manifested itself in the need to create. Until then, that part of me was being fulfilled by performing in various musical bands in Chicago between 1996 and 2005, but at a certain point it was simply time to move on to different things. So I joined the fast growing field of User Experience Design and have been a part of it ever since. I still produce music as a hobby.
Another part of me has always liked science and technology, especially the "under the hood" view of it, so I would often find myself coding things in HTML, CSS, jQuery, ActionScript or PHP for no particular reason. That must be the introverted part of me.
I am fascinated with the idea of entrepreneurship and startups, and how an open minded approach to life and business has a tendency to redefine the way we think about everything - from work environments to quality of life and personal fulfillment. Like many of us, I have my own idea I'm working on materializing. That's currently my night job.
Even though my favorite answer to the “So, what’s your process?” question is "It depends," I tend to follow some specific guidelines when approaching a design. They're all iterative and dependent on each other. They also involve heavy collaboration efforts and rely on including stakeholders throughout the process. They do morph occasionally depending on the nature of the project, but the general model goes something like this:
Full of pitfalls, moving targets and opportunities. It’s an ongoing process that is ideally addressed before the design is in motion. Keep scratching the surface and finding answers kinda' thing.
Help: Research, competitive analysis, anything I can get my hands on to understand and analyze the problem.
This part is all about easing into the design process, kind of like warming up the oven before throwing in the bakies. Short period of iteration before moving on to details.
Help: Pen and paper, sketching tools, design tools, whiteboard
This is where the framework is created and eventually minute details are addressed in an ongoing, iterative process. It’s about building and fine tuning the design. Remove what’s unnecessary until there’s nothing else to remove.
Help: Axure, Visio, Photoshop
This part is about adding the dimension of time to the detailed designs. Depending on the needs and unanswered questions, this is where designs come to life in an interactive way. Test participants provide super valuable feedback and a much needed reality check.
Help: Test Participants, Research Team, Axure, HTML / CSS / JQuery
This is one of my favorite moments of the design process, especially when the Visual Design team is as psyched about the product as I am. Enhancing the design and making it pleasing to the eye is an amazing stage in the process. This is where all the boxes and arrows begin to come to life.
Help: Visual Design Team, Photoshop
Let’s build and launch it. Now go back and iterate again on a smaller scale.
Help: Development Team, various development environments depending on the solution.
Cart & Checkout
Product Detail Pages
Post Order Management
Autocomplete (Type Ahead) Concept
Kiosk Product Flow