Abbey SmalleyUX and Design Leadership

HelloIn life, we're never done testing and learning about ourselves; your business is no different. My goals
are simple. I apply my design skills, user experience expertise, project management, and relentless drive for success to develop cutting-edge, user-friendly and results driven experiences.

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  Abbey Tosic
User Experience | Creative Direction
Leadership | Project Management

User Experience and Design Director, Optum
Over 10 Years of Interactive Industry Experience


"Abbey excelled in taking over new challenges
as a project manager apart from her core
competencies as a design director. She is detail
oriented in putting up business cases, design
concepts and strategic objectives."

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The secret sauce to success includes more than just a talented team. In my experience within large corporations, consultancies and small design agencies I've come across many dynamics and interesting process methods. Though there are pros and cons to all of them, I have found the most success using the Agile methodology. As a Certified Scrum Master, I still find ways to improve the process and my way of working daily. Each project has its own unique qualities and must be treated as such.

Below are some of the steps and values I strive for in all of my projects:

  • Ensuring that requirements are defined up front as much as possible to eliminate multiple rounds of re-work. Though this is not always possible, making sure the product owners have thought through this inital stage ensures that a project is indeed ready for the research and wireframing stage.

  • Design Studio Workshops are a staple in my working style. They help get the entire team grounded in the purpose of the project and highlight feature gaps within a matter of hours. It also allows the client to be a part of the journey from the very beginning since their engagement is crucial to a project's success. Learn more about this collaborative session here.

  • Taking an iterative approach to UX and Design, (fail early and often).

  • Involving the development team and key stakeholders as soon as possible to make sure proposed designs are based in reality with system capabilities.

  • Conducting daily stand up calls to make sure the full team knows what's being worked on and road blocks are surfaced and resolved as quickly as possible.

  • Creating User Stories and documenting business requirements to ensure no functionality gaps exist.

  • Conducting Usability Tests, Contextual Interviews, and Card Sorts to validate the designs and process flows. Until the work is tested and validated with real users of the tool, all ideas are a hypothesis.

Collaboration Workshop in action

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