I design and help facilitate the building of great digital experiences.
For the last two years I've been writing a graphic novel about growing up in the south and moving from the US to India. This book has been a journey in learning how to put a comic together, write a personal narrative and reach out to friends and professionals for proof reading and revision. At over 80 pages, Southern Fried has a a release date of Dec.1st and will be distributed in US and India.
Check out an excerpt from Southern Fried Masala, published in:
I worked as part of a collaborative team on a research project aimed at improving 3M's search experience on the 3M.com homepage. As a manufacturer of over 55,000 products, some of which span multiple industries, 3M faces a unique challenge in providing an interface that is simple yet returns highly relevant results on a first query. Our project was a learning experience as we introduced the 3M team to “lean” process, and as we tested hypothesis to learn which faceted search elements would provide the greatest improvement to 3M.com users. The impact of this research is forthcoming.3M.com
I assisted in a comprehensive review and user testing of Pitney-Bowes MapInfo Professional mapping software as well as the Pitney-Bowes postage and shipping service PbSmart Postage. Our goal: unify the design of these platforms with industry best practices and identify areas for innovation & growth with consideration of competitor products.MapInfo.com
I worked with this Hong-Kong based financial start-up for a short intense project. InvestOrbit is a workflow and communications platform where institutional investors and fund managers search for each other, manage due-diligence step-by-step, and coordinate file sharing and ongoing reporting. I worked with InvestOrbit to improve navigation for the client-side questionnaire creation and launch process. I also helped improve usability generally within their complex site to make menus and nomenclature more user friendly.
Check out the InvestOrbit website and register to see the client-side dashboard:InvestOrbit.com
In 2009-2010 I received Fulbright/ Nehru grant to travel and work in India. I conducted a year long project titled "The Making of an Informed Portrait" that was aimed at documenting street vendors and their temporary, mobile structures. From 2009-2010 I collected hundreds of photos, conducted 40 interviews and took over 60 portraits of street vendors: an intriguing population of gray-market, street-level business owners. The images from this project were printed and exhibited at the Kala Ghoda cafe in Mumbai, India in August of 2010 and are part of a forthcoming graphic novel, Southern Fried Masala.
Learn more about my research:
Learn more about the Fulbright foundation:
Make Yourself at Home was my contribution to SCALE, an exhibit I curated at the Trahern Gallery at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. This installation was both physical and digital: shown as a 12'x 12' sculpture in the gallery space, and as an open source archive website online. "Make..." prompted visitors to share and help in the accumulation of information about hobos, road-trip movies, street vendors and other mobility related media. During the exhibit visitors to the gallery and website were invited to add links or other digital material that was incorporated into the archive at the conclusion of the exhibit.Check out the archive and installation
I curated the SCALE exhibit in the early 2011. Scale included 12 total artists and was shown at two galleries: The Space gallery in Pittsburgh, PA and the Trahern Gallery, at Austin Peay State University, TN. Scale’s artists explore the current and coming years of economic change which are forcing the world to reconsider definitions of lifestyle. What new practices, images, and modes of creativity will emerge as others become expensive, exclusive, or impractical? How will society communicate and share?
Check out or download a PDF about this exhibit!
One Mile Garden (OMG) started in 2008, is an on-going effort to catalyze small-scale food production. The inception of the OMG project celebrated and strengthened connections between the residents of York, Alabama: bringing them closer to the land they shared within their city space. The OMG project was composed of several gardens: a central garden at the Coleman Center for the Arts in downtown York for growing, teaching and learning and satellite gardens at the Eastern Star Baptist Church, Patton St. neighborhood, and York West End Jr. High School. The OMG project continues to grow and is now fully operated by local residents.
I worked with Leapfrog as a creative consultant via Leapfrog Strategy Consulting to help improve Axis Bank's multi-platform service consistency. We worked to improve consistency in language and experience at three points of engagement:
Leapfrog Strategy Consulting partners with clients to achieve breakthrough solutions that grow their brand and business. By working with clients to craft experiences, employee ethos, and company visions that offer distinction and a bold connection to core values within each company, Leapfrog pairs research with creative insight to enrich existing business assets and make room for future growth. Services include: Brand Strategy, Trends & Foresight, NPD & Innovation, and work in Semiotics. We've worked with clients like Axis Bank, Jetking Institute, Cavin Care, and other FMCGs.
Check out Axis Bank's Home Loans service and learn more about Leapfrog Strategy Consulting:
I created a portfolio site with a customized Wordpress theme and accompanying tutorial for the client, a professional digital film colourist who wanted to be able to easily update and curate his own website. The content for the site was simple and beautiful: highly photogenic work with light descriptions and a focus on the image and the thoughtful color considerations therein. The site acted as an artistic portfolio for new clients and showcased existing work. The conceptual foundation of the site was dark with gentle hover-over reveals are cinematic and encourage exploration.
The Jigsee Mobile video app is a product of Jigsee Digital Media, now VuClip. With over 10 million downloads and 4 million users, Jigsee has made it's mark on the video streaming industry. I worked as lead UX designer and Visual Designer for this product. We helped our partners create strategies for promoting their applications in app stores, online, and made sure their brand message represented company DNA. We worked with partners like: Sony, UTV/Disney, Jump Games, Reliance Entertainment, and Vuclip. The development of this application was a team endeavor. This application works across three platforms: Java, Symbian and Android OS. Jigsee was purchased by VuClip in December of 2013. Learn more about Jigsee and VuClip:
At Jigsee we shifted our B2C business to a B2B enterprise when we realized out content partners were excited about the idea of creating custom applications that showcased their content on a wide range of platforms. We helped our partners create strategies for promoting their applications in app stores, online, and made sure their brand message represented company DNA. We worked with partners like: Sony, UTV/Disney, Jump Games, Reliance Entertainment, and Vuclip. Check out some of our work with UTV:
I worked as a copywriter in cooperation with the web design firm that developed the Phoenix Commodities website. Phoenix is a global value chain manager of commodities in the food staples and the natural resources businesses. We matched copy content to image resources and I added content that was mindful of navigation and a few key goals held by most visitors to the site.
Check out the Phoenix Commodities ltd. site:
In my research of hawkers during my Fulbright fellowship, several projects spun off that were outside of the context of my proposed project. One of those projects was Vs. As I read through a decades worth of newspaper articles related to hawking and street vending I started to categorize articles into four groups: biographical, architectural/urban planning, factual and conflict based.
I worked as a creative consultant to help facilitate an Innovation Lab in at VW's 3rd Place Labs in Berlin, Germany. The target of the lab: work with a wide array of VW top management to explore opportunities for product innovation and focus team process around pursuing 2-3 prioritized initiatives. Architects of Group Genius (ARX) works with some of the most admired business, academic and non-profit organizations from across the world to address a variety of needs, from leadership development to tackling discrete organizational and strategic challenges. With ARX I worked with clients like VolksWagen, the i2 Institute in Saudi Arabia, and more. ARX innovation labs focus groups to reveal collective "group genius". Read More about how the ARX work in the Harvard Business School publication Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice. Learn more about the Architectz of Group Genius:
Zarca Interactive is an advanced online survey software tool, designed around technical innovation and client collaboration. I worked with Zarca to provide UI insights into their K12 Insights portal for US and UAE clients. I also provided insights for a start-up deals website, and helped refine the flow and ease of use for the Zarca Survey interface. Zarca's clients include Hewlett Packard, Nationwide Insurance, SuperValu, Merck, Target, The Conference Board and many others.
Learn more about Zarca and K12 Insight:
Taco Truck was a collaborative street-level project run by CMU's TENT SHOW Productions in 2007. Pittsburgh is short on authentic Mexican food especially in the area of town where my friends and I resided so we took matters into our own hands... Myself, Joey Hays and John Pena constructed a makeshift taco truck in Pittsburgh. We used mainly found materials (cardboard, woods, paint) to make a fake taco truck facade which we bolted on to the front of a vacant arts space. We served homemade tacos to passersby and posted fliers advertising our service in the area.Sold at cost (a quarter/taco) we were a pretty hot pop-up restaurant. We sold out within a just few hours.
photos coming soon
Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute
The Look-See Tree was made possible with a grant from the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute, and was part of the Robot 250 program which brought robots to the public arts in Pittsburgh, PA. With assistance from Robotics technician Joshua Shapiro, I constructed the Look-See Tree: A 14 ft. long portable robotic sculpture that made it’s way to multiple locations in Pittsburgh pulled solely by an electric bike. The Look-See Tree showcased 5 small robotic animals and visitors to the tree were welcomed to turn the crank that generated power and kept the robots in motion.
Stormy Weather was a pushcart theatre: the tiny artistic theatre equivalent of an organ grinder. Passers-by were invited to peek through an opening in the front and watch a small tornado pass though a tiny city. Stormy Weather is an experiment in creating an alternative economic model (in this case via busking)for a fine artist to gain income outside of the typical gallery show cycle.
Learn more about Stormy Weather
I've taught a number of courses for varying levels of artists:
Photos of Student work and lesson plans coming soon
In the summer of 2006, I toured the East Coast as part of a 7 member puppet troupe, The Indicator Species. We performed The Hardest Question Ever, a shadow play featuring a combination of live performers, chain gang inspired music, and shadow puppets set inside a life size prison cell covered with 100’s of letters written by prisoners.
Check out photos from the Hardest Question Ever puppet show
The Mobile Museum (M.M.)is a portable show space. Built in 2006 with the assistance of a Sprout Fund Grant, the Mobile Museum functioned as a fully human-powered bike pulled arts space. The M.M. visited over 20 locations and reached over 2500+ viewers in person, in spaces in the city of Pittsburgh that were residential and commercial. The museum/ gallery structure is an extremely helpful tool in learning about the world around us, save for two limitations: One being the task of luring audiences into these spaces and the second task being that of creating a bundle of information that is relevant to viewers.Learn more about this the Mobile Museum
100 Days in the News was a two month long bootstrap-style art project aimed at jump starting any and all art ideas. Everyday 2-3 articles were taken from the artist's Google Reader and combined in an artwork. For example, an article about self-reflection and currency rates combined yielded "personalized currency". An article about positive reinforcement and the crash of the stock markets yielded the "Wall Street Cheerleader".Learn more about 100 Days in the News
The One Mile Meal was a "recipe" for a day of activities exploring local food scarcity -or- availability. After a day of gathering food growing naturally or in nearby gardens, participants cook a meal and discuss how attendants eat and understand food access today.
Hi, I'm Ally. I love crafting functional and exceptional, user-centered experiences that make day to day life easier and fun. I have lived and worked in the US and Asia, and have traveled extensively in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. My work and my approach to company culture are informed by my experiences in fast-paced digital start-ups, brand and product innovation firms, and my experiences with creativity in fine arts studios around the world. When I'm not at work I draw comics, travel, and read. Reach out to me by email if you'd like to know more: