Hello! I’m Sarah.

Design Director at Work & Co, specializing in digital design and product strategy. You can find me on Instagram, Flickr, LinkedIn, AngelList, Twitter & e-mail.

Work & Co

Design Director October 2015 - Present

I provide hands-on leadership to shape the direction of digital products for a variety of clients.

For the most part, I spend my time creating design concepts, frameworks, prototypes, and detailed flows for projects. I also develop UX deliverables such as user personas, user journey diagrams, site and app maps, and functional annotations.

I’m often pulled into working on new business initiatives where I help create strategy and designs for potential clients. This involves research and competitive analysis, providing insights into content strategy, design concepting and identifying new opportunities to shape the product.

I also assist in recruiting efforts, review candidates and participate in portfolio reviews. I help mentor junior designers with their career development and offer design feedback and coaching.

Clients

I’ve worked on core products with YouTube, Disney, Marriott, Politico, TechCrunch, Fox Entertainment, ABC Freeform, Chase, Gol Airlines, and LifeMiles.

Approach

As someone who worked brand-side and now agency-side, I think about digital products in a holistic way – how to create the best possible solution, how it performs and how it will impact revenue. My experience at Work & Co, and previously at the Washington Post, has given me a unique outlook – developing new concepts versus building upon existing ones is vastly different, but I find that thinking from both ends of that spectrum can enhance the process.

 

 A short Bio

I’m originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, one of the snowiest cities in the world. Growing up there instilled in me a love of the outdoors, being with family, skiing, eating Polish food, and road trips. Now I’m based in New York City, a place full of adventure and the best jumping off point for traveling the world. Brooklyn is home, where I live with John and Katya.

The Washington Post

Director, Digital Strategy & Design 2013 - 2015

I opened a product design office in NYC to lead redesign efforts for the Washington Post's web platform. We worked on scope, strategy and execution of a site-wide rethink involving CMS capabilities as well as consumer-facing experiences.

I built the team from scratch, hiring design and strategy veterans from different industries with experience in solving complex design challenges, research, UX, and product development.

We collaborated closely with the newsroom, engineering and advertising on developing a product roadmap and implemented design sprints to generate ideas and concepts for user testing.

We designed plans and interviews for user testing sessions and developed recruiting strategies for both internal and external testers.

I also worked on design strategy and assisted in hiring for the Coral Project, a collaboration between the Washington Post, the New York-Times, the Knight Foundation and Mozilla to build an open-source commenting platform.

Director of Digital Design 2011 - 2013

I was a member of the core leadership team in the newsroom that focused on setting strategy and priorities for company-wide initiatives.

I built and managed a nimble team focused on digital, mobile and new product design, and created positions for and hired specialists in user experience, interaction design and development, motion graphics and visual design.

As readership habits changed and technology evolved, I had the honor of being a key voice in how to rethink core news products. I conceptualized and designed news products such as a live events platform, the politics app for Election 2012, an enterprise story template and created and evolved the designs for the iPad app.

My team launched a site-wide redesign in 2011, including a new CMS, and a design refresh in 2014.

I also worked in partnership with Google, Tumblr, Storify, Twitter and Facebook on creating new products for news consumption.

It was a privilege to work on digital storytelling and presentations for award-winning journalism projects. Some examples include Top Secret America, Muslims In America and two presidential elections.

Deputy Director of Digital Design 2010 - 2011

Lead News Designer 2007 - 2009

Selected Projects

Project pages coming soon. Please check back!

Product Design Sprints

Implemented design sprints inspired by Google. In one week we would develop and test a new product idea.

Knowledge Map

An in-article feature that pulls contextual and background information into an article for readers.

Analytics Dashboard

Created wireframes & designs for how reporters and editors could see how stories were performing.

The Rethink Project

This was a presentation I created to explain the overall thinking and approach for a sitewide redesign project.

The Prophets of Oak Ridge

Created a fully responsive story template in collaboration with all visual teams at the Post.

Cycling’s Road Forward

Created a custom responsive story template that became the foundation for all enterprise stories.

The Grid

Worked on overall design strategy for a live events platform for the political conventions in 2012.

Election 2012

Planned and designed the homepage for The Washington Post throughout the night of the presidential election.

Best of The Post

Redesigned the annual collection of the best photosand video journalism.

Issue Engine

Designed an interactive app to dig into political issues during campaign 2012.

Top Secret America

Lead design and UX for a 2-year investivative series focused on the expanding world of government agencies and intellegence since 9/11.

Washington Post for iPad

Designed the original Washington Post for iPad app, launched in 2010.

& other stuff I’ve done

Georgetown University

Adjunct Professor, 2013 | I taught a course that focused on digital design in media and design thinking methodology for graduate students in Journalism and Public Relations.

Freelance Design

2006 - 2012 | I did web design & development for clients such as the Kaiser Foundation and Kaiser Health News, Stanford d.School and North Base Media.

CyberInk

2002 - 2007 | Started my career here. The work included marketing and community web sites, and digital storytelling projects with the Erie Times-News newsroom. It’s where I fell in love with journalism.

Mercyhurst University

Graduated 2003| I went to college here. I earned a BA in Fine Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design and Literature.

Adjunct Professor, 2004 - 2007| This was also my first teaching gig. I was an adjunct instructor for a few years after I graduated, teaching courses in web design and Flash.

Society of News Design

2012 - 2015 | Volunteered and served on the board.

Poynter Institute Leadership

2011 | I spent a week with my peers and some of my heros in journalism learning to be a better manager.

Speak—ing

I give talks on digital design, the role of visual teams in journalism, product strategy, and project case studies. I’m open to speaking opportunities. Hit me up.

Previously, I’ve presented at the Brookings Institute, Society of News Design annual conferences, ASNE, WAN-IFRA, and Industry Conference.