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based in vancouver, Canada

Andy Liang
UX Ui Product designer

I love talking to people, learning about what they do, and figuring out how I can make their job easier. I dab in a bit of CSS, I enjoy working closely with developers, and I can comfortably find my way around code.

I wore many hats and took on many roles working in startups and small size companies. From meeting with clients to gathering requirements, building marketing materials (slide decks, websites, business cards); to assisting with onboarding and mentor interns. I even helped out with office layout planning, got very efficient at building Ikea furniture, and quite accurate with calculating ideal number of pizza to order for team lunches (which is something often overlooked).

2020 - 2022

Senior Product Designer

SEDNA Systems Inc.

As the only designer in the Vancouver office, there was a lot more to do than just design; I helped triage the work coming down the pipe so I won't be the bottle neck; juggled the designs needed for multiple teams; made sure the they were ready for hand off before the sprint started, and helped QA before features were presented.

 

Of course not everything could be done on time every time, so it was also about prioritizing and being efficient. What needed to be done first, what we could reuse, what could be delayed a few days into the sprint etc. As well as managing the expectation to the PMs, made sure everyone was on the same page so there would be no (or little) confusion about why things were late. If something cannot be shipped on time - whether it was scope creep or changed in requirements, it was important to discuss what we could compromise for MVP so our work can still maintain a level of quality.

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Moving through different roles (front end dev - designer - senior product designer) at SEDNA allowed me to have a deep understanding of the feature life cycle. From a customer ask, we research and prototype, design and iterate, develop and code review, release and demo.

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PROJECT

New Navbar

The Problem

SEDNA started out with a top bar navigation. As the app grew with more features, UI became overwhelmed. It took more effort to figure out where to put new feature and not break anything else, than designing the actual feature.

What did we do

The proposed solution was to implement a new vertical navbar. A vertical navigation bar is nothing new in modern web, but just because almost every other app has it, it was not enough reason to change the key part of the app and the whole layout.

  • Changing to a vertical nav gave us a chance to group several features that were doing similar things

  • A vertical design gave us room for future feature expansion

  • It gave user a bit vertical space back (it may not sound like a lot, but for SEDNA users vertical real estate was one of the most important element).

  • And because almost every other email app has a vertical nav, users would be familiar with the UX and have less issues adapting to the updated UI.

 

Result

It was still a huge challenge even though we knew what we wanted. We had to make sure all the functionalities are retained; redesigned features if it needed to move to a different spot, and made sure users can still find it or use it without feeling that an existing feature became worse. I worked with a UX designer on prototyping and tested early concepts with our users, as well as several rounds of internal review to make sure we cover all bases before we make one of the biggest UI changes to the app.

After signed off it still took a long time to build it. So long that new feature got added and made some part of the proposed design obsolete, and had to be updated before it was even complete. On the bright side, we got to iterate the design and improve upon it.

PROJECT

Notification System

The Problem

There was no way to know if there were new emails or new comments for SEDNA users unless they actively opened the app. People needed to know not just when new emails came in, but also if it’s something that required their attention or action.

 

What did we do

SEDNA’s notification system ended up being quite different from your typical notification; it was search-based, not event-based. So it was important to illustrate the different ways notification was triggered, explain how one could set up a notification for their search, and make it clear what and when exactly you will get notified.

 

Result

The notification system rolled out successfully, and it was powerful in its own way, but at the same time it also had limitations. “Notification” is such a common feature in everyday apps, people already had a perception on how it generally works. The documentations helped the users and everyone else in the company understand how to use the feature.

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Working with the Vancouver and London offices, I managed the chaos between what PMs wanted, what we actually needed to deliver, and what the developers could build.
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2011 - 2019

Design Director

Stage 3 Systems Inc.

For 8 years I was working at a small tech company that builds web apps for the shipping industry. Stage 3 Systems had built several solutions for different parts of the shipping industry - ship construction, port agency, fleet management, chartering, and email app specific for the shipping industry (which later evolved into SEDNA). Some were very custom built, while others were used by several companies.

 

As the only designer in a small company, I was in charge of all UX/UI needs; from application design to branding and marketing materials. I traveled and met clients around the world - learned and helped solve unique industry problems such as thousands of emails in a day, complex shipping process with hundreds of pdfs, and extremely long form entries. I've learned to effectively manage the work from multiple directions - upcoming deadlines, for who and what app, what’s on fire this week? When can we go back and iterate on existing features with feedback etc.

As the marine industry slowly became digital, even within the same sector, many companies had their own ways of working. Instead of building custom solutions for everyone, we introduced common design patterns such as timeline, autocomplete, and activity log in our apps. By applying familiar elements people use in their daily interactions, it was much easier for users to onboard and adapt to the digital workspace.

Before 2010, I worked at a few different small-medium size tech companies, building custom client websites, social platforms, and custom solutions for the shipping industry.

2010

Designer / Front End Developer

Reinvent Inc.

Reinvent Inc. is a tech company that followed the incubator model, and started projects such as GoodNews.com, Blackfriday.com, Snog.com.

 

I worked closely between the lead designer and rest of the dev team for all projects as the design/dev unicorn; from landing and sign up pages for social media site (which the new design resulted in an increase of sign ups), to various artworks such as daily deal images, gift cards, brochures, sandwich boards for advertisers etc, for a group buying site.

2009

Designer / Front End Developer

Thirdi Inc.​

Thirdi Inc. was a local tech company that built custom solutions.

As the only designer and front end developer in the company, I created wireframes, designed mocks, and implemented the front end for clients such as Earls, JustTheBill, and Panacea Financial. As well as put together marketing/business proposals, company website etc.

2007

UI Developer

Navarik

Navarik is a tech company that builds web apps for shipping and oil companies.

I worked with a team of designers and developers building the front end of various apps, created HTML/PDF templates in conjunction with CSS, implemented javascript and PHP for modules used throughout Navarik systems.

2006

Student

Simon Fraser University

Graduated in Computing Science, with Software Engineering Specialist certificate.

 

I also completed the Coop work experience program, including an exchange to Japan for 7 months.

What's next for Andy?

These are just a preview of what I have done. I am not able to show any full detailed design because they are enterprise applications or proprietary projects, but I am always available to have coffee / bubble tea / pizza Tuesday to talk more in detail.

Post Credits

Andy's Toolbox

The Essentials

Figma, Sketch / Abstract

Pencils, pens (must have more than 1 colour), notebook, stickies

Bottom Drawer

Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign

Invision

CSS

Git, Terminal

Who is Andy?

 

Full time dad from Taiwan; loves to eat, cooks, looks for deals, and collects too many things. Part-time gamer, ex-snowboarder and world traveler.

I lost a day of my life from flying around the world in one direction. I must eat McDonalds and buy Starbucks in every country I visit (probably lost more days this way).