MY CREATIVE SOUL HAS
FINALLY FOUND ITS CALLING.
I am a neurodiverse designer & researcher with 4+ years of professional experience in highly complex, collaborative cross-functional environments. Because of my background, I have deep knowledge of UX and a lot of hands-on experience working directly with FE and BE devs, from developing a customized design system with matching front-end components, to launching an app 0 to 1, to rearchitecting an existing complex app, to refining existing features. I've always worked in environments where I've owned half or all of the app UX and UI.
While starting my UX journey, I also worked as a qualitative project director for a global market research company, managing $2 million in projects for major, household B2C and B2B companies and working directly with high-level executives to achieve their research objectives. I'm a great project manager and naturally interweave business goals, which shows up in my UX work as well.
Thanks to 13 years of teaching experience and two master's degrees in education, I have a deep theoretical and practical understanding of cognitive and behavioral psychology - and how it actually works in the real world. I was also a department head for multiple years over 5 teachers across two schools (also leading & facilitating our Professional Learning Community), and a conference presenter/workshop facilitator.
Teaching is also why I did NOT do a bootcamp - they just couldn't go deep enough by a long shot, so I took my learning into my own hands and sought out personalized feedback from mentors to get a better UX education.
I've always been a designer and a problem solver regardless of my career title, teaching myself Photoshop for a custom invitation business, coding basic HTML & CSS to customize my WordPress teacher website, painting abstract watercolors, and finding every possible way to DIY anything I spotted on Pinterest to a whole other level.
Outside of design, I love spending time with my husband and sons, ice skating, practicing physical and mental yoga, writing poetry, and interacting with different cultures by speaking multiple languages. I've always been someone who is passionate about many different interests and who likes to dive deep.
Mostly, though, I'm just a person who spots patterns all around me and loves to find as many different, creative, and often deceptively simple solutions to the problems users encounter.
One of the most powerful tools I've leveraged during the past several years is Clifton Strengths, based on the work by Dr. Don Clifton. He showed in his research that the effect size of improving your strengths is much greater than focusing on your weaknesses, and that perceived weaknesses are often just the pitfalls of your strengths and not recognizing that behavior.
Here are my top five strengths and a short description of what each one means for me as described by Gallup. Note: the colors represent the four categories of strengths. Having all four categories in your top five is somewhat rare.
"People who are especially talented in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action."
"People who are especially talented in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information."
"People who are especially talented in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues."
"People who are especially talented in the Restorative theme are adept at dealing with problems. They are good at figuring out what is wrong and resolving it."
"People who are especially talented in the Individualization theme are intrigued with the unique qualities of each person. They have a gift for figuring out how people who are different can work together productively."
As a leader, I want to bring this powerful way of thinking to my team to help their personal and professional development and growth because I believe that the team is stronger when each person is empowered to reach their potential. Learn more about Clifton Strengths here.
Simply put, Amanda Howard is an excellent and stellar all-around UX and product design professional.
I'm grateful to have had the pleasure of working with Amanda during my time at Thrive TRM. She has a great personality and a go-getter mindset, which sets her apart from the crowd. Her understanding of the user experience design process and, in particular, her user research skills and workshop facilitation skills are top-tier.
She has an impressive passion for diving deep into understanding who the users are and what they need so that she can turn complex problems into elegant and user-centric-driven designs.
It's always a pleasure to ideate, collaborate, and partner with Amanda on design projects. Her great way of articulating her UX knowledge put the team and the users at ease, whether in team meetings, user interviews, whiteboarding sessions, or design reviews with executives.
Even more impressive is witnessing Amanda Howard's growth and eagerness to learn and adapt. I'm so proud of her growth and proud to have learned from her the appreciation and the importance of understanding neurodivergence challenges and superpowers. Her passion for designing for accessibility has always been an inspiration to me.
I'm sure that Amanda will be successful anywhere she desires to work, and anywhere her UX superpowers are unleashed! I won't hesitate to work with her again in the future, and I highly recommend Amanda for any UX opportunities.
Abdalla Emam, Director of Product Design
"In just a few weeks of Amanda joining the team, she's been really fantastic to work with! I love how she uses our various softwares including Figma, JIRA and HotJar to make our workflow more efficient and capture the true user experience of the neurodiverse user group. l'm so glad Amanda has also taken proactive initiative to collaborate with other teams of passionate disability advocates across the organization (Software Engineers, UX Researchers and Data Scientists) to make sure the whole experience of finding a job is seamless and intuitive for neurodiverse job seekers. Thank you for all that your awesome creativity and collaboration, Amanda!"
Jhillika Kumar, Founder of Mentra
"Prior to Amanda working with the SpellBound team, I was the primary advocate for our customers. Amanda came in, was a quick learner, and was immediately helping to advocate on behalf of the needs of our customers and the needs of patients. While Amanda is relatively new to UX, she took it upon herself to take courses and educate herself along the way about best practices, and it has had a dramatic positive impact internally. I should add that Amanda is a natural empath who works well with others, and I feel strongly that these attributes (as well as her passion in general) makes UX a natural fit for her."
Tammy Barnes, Ph.D., Director of Customer Success at SpellBound
"I would recommend Amanda without reservation. In my 20 years hiring and managing UX teams, rarely have I encountered someone with as much drive and who is so proactive in her learning as Amanda. She is a self-starter who will drive toward results all while being strongly rooted in the team."
Christina York, CEO at SpellBound