Collaborative Platform

Product, UX/UI
In my time at Pencil, I worked on the Spaces product, a collaboration and video conferencing platform for education; creating interaction systems, designs, prototypes and improvements for users.
Pencil is a company founded on the principle to bring powerful tools to the classroom, bridging the gap from the 2020 pandemic. The digital tools used to teach the future mathematicians, scientists, and creatives of the next generation are now especially critical to their growth.

This case study is intentionally limited due to NDA. For more information about my work in Pencil, contact me.
Collaborated with product managers & developers to strategize scalability and solutions.
Redesigned the platform and introduced mobile compatibility for users in our demographic.
Generated solutions for current design usability issues within the product.
Proposed and created new experiences for Pencil to solve user and business problems.
Contributed to the design system and patterns for a growing product.
UX Design, Prototyping, Visual, Research
1 Year
Pencil Technologies is developing a product that helps educators collaborate with their students. It is expanding to a platform with boards they can draw on, upload videos, questions and more. My focus was expanding this part of the product to scale with multiple contexts (documents, presentations, activities + more), designing concepts and shipping upgrades to improve the experience for Pencil’s users.
Our design mission:
How do we improve collaboration across a digital medium, creating engagement and facilitating teaching?
My experience:
This position, going from internship to full-time, let me grow into the startup field. COVID-19 made this position remote, but I saw it as a challenge to overcome differing time zones and calls.

I took on more complex design solutions from scaling branding within the platform to leading major changes redefining Pencil’s current platform. I went from improving video conferencing to expanding the design system to scale with word documents, spreadsheets, and widgets.

All challenges faced had ambiguity, especially given the context of education and a collaborative platform; but it helped me grow as an experience designer and more aware of the strategy within complex platforms.
Lateral production and processes:
Ranging from marketing, UX, Research, Customer Service, Product Managers, and developers, I honed my ability to communicate and keep a holistic view on the entire product’s design. This was immensely beneficial as I could be more aware of the nuances that a product needs to succeed, in all fields - and value their role within the design.
Obstacles faced throughout my experience:
1. Balancing buisness needs and deadlines.
2. Developing within ambiguity + low-resource areas.
3. Pairing all views ranging from engineering to design, and choosing the best path forwards.
I had to make tough calls regarding trade-offs and design values. To overcome these challenges, I sought sessions for conversation, constant sprints, and always keeping an open door for ideas by everyone.
Throughout my work in Pencil, I have worked cross-functionally with teams, solving our main design issue with many others. In reflection, I realize my growth as a designer through these three key lessons defined from the experience:
Honing the design’s value and intent:
Communicating between teams means that I have to develop strategies to explain how the design was effective. The impact of this lesson helped me push progress affecting the company’s vision positively and towards the users.
I grew to constantly communicate and put bias aside towards the user's goals.
Exploration of the ambitious environment to draw out unique insights:
Being ambitious and always finding new ways to solve the problem is one of the core aspects of a startup. Staying curious for different approaches means we can differentiate our business value from competitors. Combined with a holistic view into the design system, constantly refining unique results has also generated real value for users.
I grew to constantly question and seek to innovate solutions - generating improvements.
Developing complex platforms and systems:
One core challenge is that Pencil is aiming to make a powerful platform (Think Photoshop, Google Drive, and more combined) into a processable product for teachers and educators. I’ve learned to reduce complexity but still allow for powerful functionality - creating production ready prototypes and mocks consistent with branding and other products in Pencil’s system. Overall, this balancing act helped me develop a finer observation into each interaction and experience within our platform.
I grew to process complexity and thrive in it to improve products.
More coming soon!
As this project is still heavily being developed, please hang on as this page will be updated later. For now, please consider checking my other work, my experiments, or learn more about me.