Hi, I’m Kirsten.
What Is It I do?
The short answer: assorted shenanigans, mainly in New York City.
The slightly longer answer: Making all kinds of designs work well for all kinds of people, previously through architecture and visual design, nowadays in product & user experience design.
Whether you want to ask about my work or discuss working together, let's get in touch:
Thanks for your message—I'll respond as soon as I can.
You can learn more about me on LinkedIn, and see my occasional mostly UX-related posts on Twitter. There are links to a few of my side projects up on kirstenhively.com, and I sometimes post random photos over on Instagram. I also have a few additional projects posted over on Behance. (I’ve been a bit busy at my full-time UX Designer job, so my various posts around the interwebs have been pretty sparse lately.)
My previous side projects include some of the work I’m most proud of, including Project Neon, a photo project to document New York’s neon signs. It garnered widespread press, from a New Yorker “Talk of the Town” column to two New York Times photo spreads, and included an iPhone app I designed and produced (funded with a successful Kickstarter) with the help of a developer in the UK and a blog. I learned a ton about app development and design working on that project, and while the app is no longer available (I couldn’t keep up with the constant iOS updates), the blog and a Google map keep the project going now and then, and I still get fan letters. If you see a sign you think I may have missed, I’d be happy to hear about it!
I’ve always been a pretty obsessive intrepid researcher, and the Candela Project, another side project, gave my research skills a workout. I became curious about two architectural structures near Flushing Stadium in Queens that I was sure weren’t the bus shelters that the Parks Department signs claimed they were. After countless interviews and hours in the archives of various libraries, a journalist friend and I uncovered the truth and found the third missing structure. The story was a fascinating slice of New York City history, and became the subject of a New York Times Metro section article we co-wrote and an exhibit at the City Reliquary Museum in Brooklyn.
In addition to fun side projects like those, I’ve done serious time as an architect (four years in graduate school and three years working), where I mastered many skills that would be familiar to any UX designer — researching, prototyping (through sketching, drawing, and modeling), persuasive presenting, and intense iterations and critique. There’s a reason the language of architecture (including the word itself) pervades the world of digital design: architects have been dealing with making designs work for people for thousands of years. They haven’t solved every problem (and in fact I think it may be time for architects to learn a thing or two from the world of digital design), but they have definitely developed some tried and true techniques along the way.