Welcome back to our employee spotlight series. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Schuhmacher, Bloomfire’s lead UX designer. She’s pictured above in the tasting room at Hops & Grain Craft Brewery. Stephanie’s favorite of their beers is Zoe, a dry-hopped, German-inspired, pale lager.
Where are you from?
I’m originally from Texas but moved to Austin to attend college and simply fell in love with the city. While I can’t count myself among those rare native Austinites, I can claim that I’ve lived here long enough that the first city map I purchased of Austin drew the northern-most boundary of the city at 183 and I-35. That boundary has grown generously with the city’s population over the last two decades.
What is your title at Bloomfire and translate that to what you actually do all day?
My title is Lead User Experience Designer, which means that I help determine how and why Bloomfire looks and behaves the way it does. Day-to-day I draw the blueprints, or “wireframes,” of what the user interface of the Web app should look like. I also lead usability research—which can take a lot of different forms—which is how we get a reality check on whether our ideas make Bloomfire as easy to use as possible.
What is an interesting fact about you that most people don’t know?
Several years ago I participated in 24-Hour Comics Day, a challenge to complete a 24-page comic book that is written, drawn, and completed within 24 hours. My comic was one of 24 out of several hundred international entries to be included in that year’s 24-Hour Comics Day anthology.
What excites you most about Bloomfire?
Our customers! They’re so generous with their time and love to get involved in usability testing new features and designs in progress. They always give us great feedback—even when it’s in the form of “tough love” that an evolving idea needs.
Tell us about your love of office supplies.
My love of office supplies started in my dad’s billing office. All of the folders were color-coded with stickers. When I would visit the office as a small child I was sternly told to leave the stickers alone. Now that I’m an adult I get to use as many stickers as I please!
I’m often teased for having favorite colorways of 3M Post-It Notes. Electric Glow and Jewel Pop are best for visibility, but their World of Color series—color schemes influenced by cities around the world—are amazing. My favorite World of Color city collections for both color and legibility are Rio de Janeiro and Bora Bora.
I understand that you started a networking group for women in UX. Tell us more!
My co-founder and I wanted to create a meetup to find other women in our field. We reached out to the Ladies That UX group, based in the UK, to ask about their experience. In 2014, Austin became the first chapter of Ladies That UX in North America. The international organization now has 34 chapters worldwide, and the Austin chapter just passed the 88 member mark.
You’re a homebrewer. How did you get started and what kind of beer do you like to make?
I started homebrewing a couple of years ago. It’s a lot of fun to learn how much the ingredients and timing control the flavor and appearance of the beer. Most frequently I do one-gallon batches (which yields just a little under a six-pack) so that I can experiment with recipes until I refine it into something I’m happy with. In another week or two I’m going to start a 2.5 gallon batch of my “Blushing Bee” Rosehip Honey Wheat.
I have custom bottle caps printed for my homebrew so that I can tell my beers apart. Adding labels would add the extra work of washing and scraping them down once the bottle’s empty.
I understand that you also judge competitons.
I’m currently studying toward my Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) Mead Judge certification. Mead is honey wine. A friend and I lucked into an opportunity to judge the final rounds of the homebrewing competition at the first annual Texas Mead Fest. The festival hadn’t anticipated 70+ entries, and the panel of BJCP-certified judges were not in shape to judge past the first round.
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