Do you know what UX design is? That’s what Stephanie Sawchenko does for us at Fearless. She’s great at it but she says anyone can design a user experience.
“A manager or a planner could be a ux designer. You are looking at the experience a human being will interact with, it’s pretty straightforward,” she said. “If you are commuting to work or trying to use the NYC subway you are interacting with a user experience design or a lack of one.”
The user experience Stephanie is currently working on is for our IMARS, the Incident Management Analysis and Reporting System, contract. That’s a mouthful so she says the shorthand of her job is making apps easy to use.
Stephanie came to Baltimore by way of San Francisco where she was drawn after graduating from college. Initially Stephanie worked on the creative side of projects like Barbie.com and Apple.com before delving into product design in San Francisco’s startup community. Her most loved startup was Kick.com, the first music community on the internet, so we expect her to have some killer playlists coming out of her Fearless headphones. Many startups later Stephanie went on to work at large tech companies like Sony and eBay before coming to Baltimore. Now, Stephanie works on .Gov projects for the biggest client in the world, improving the government’s User Experience one application at a time.
Though the best experience she’s creating might be coming out of her kitchen. Every night Stephanie’s dinner table is the place you want to be.
“I can cook circles around Spike Gjerde,” she said of the Woodberry Kitchen chef. “I hate to say it but I could do it. I cook at home a lot and I throw dinner parties a lot.”
She’s not all talk, Stephanie backs up the bold statement with photos of her food on her Instagram account, Studioroom. She counts followers from around the world who give like after like for veal marsala, fresh tomato sauce, and chicken curry.
She’s always loved food but Stephanie said the Instagram account started about 6 years ago.
“I had participated in DreamIt in New York with a startup I was working for called KeepRecipes.com which is a website I designed,” Stephanie said. “It was a very small team and I designed an iphone app for them and that sort of started it.”
A food blog promoting healthy home cooked food could be in her future, but for now we get to work with Stephanie at Spark. Maybe to improve the user experience at Fearless, Stephanie can bring us some treats. We need to compete with Spark’s secret baking superstar, FlourPowerFriday.
But baked goods aside, we’re lucky to have Stephanie on the Fearless team. We were able to lure her from a job with the FAA where she was working on internal systems for the Federal Government. Fearless founder Delali Dzirasa said Stephanie brings an analytic viewpoint to Fearless.
“She wants to solve problems. She doesn’t want UX for the sake of UX,” he said. “It’s not just make it pretty. She brings understanding and a lot to the table. She is excited about teaching and solving real word problems.”