Milly Schmidt | design and product

Hi! I'm Milly.

Nice to meet you. 🀝

I help growing product companies plan for the future using design thinking, human centred design, systems thinking and Lean methodologies. I love research and validating ideas with users to decrease risk and solve real problems, but I also love seeing ideas through and working closely with implementation teams to build robust solutions that scale.

My background is technical (I was a front-end engineer) so I'm well-versed in various Javascript frameworks like React, Hoplon (Clojurescript), Angular and Vue, as well as PHP, HTML/CSS, and CMS/LMS frameworks like Drupal, edX, Canvas, etc.

I am an Agile advocate and have many years of experience in Agile teams, mainly Scrum. I have taught Agile/Scrum courses and am an experienced facilitator of Scrum rituals.

I believe in the power of design systems and design ops and have been advocating for component-driven front-ends everywhere I work.

I've run my own business (both product and consulting) as an entrepreneur, and I've managed teams of designers, developers and other collaborators. I'm passionate about progressive, modern leadership, diversity, inclusion and frictionless productivity.

Also, I teach, speak and write about design and am an active member of my local design community. I'm based in Melbourne but am dreaming of moving to the Northern Hemisphere.

You may notice a conspicuous lack of financial institutions, Big 4 consultancies and famous multinationals on my CV. That's by design; I'm careful about where I work and I'm looking for purpose-driven product organisations working to make the world better. Sustainability and diversity in particular are meaningful for me, and I am working on moving my career towards more meaningful and impactful work.

I'm based in Melbourne, Australia.
Here's my resume.

What I'm working on πŸ‘©β€πŸ’»

I'm currently the Senior UX Designer at UsabilityHub.

UsabilityHub is a tool that helps designers test their ideas with a scalable remote panel. We're a small team based in Collingwood. We have some impressive customers, product-market fit and a wonderful culture. It's in the running to be the best place I've ever worked.

I am also the organiser of IxDA Melbourne. We are building a community of learning and for designers of different disciplines, beyond pixels and screens. We hear from service designers, architects, learning designers and all other kinds of people practicing human-centred design principles in their day to day work. We run the meetup every two months in Melbourne CBD.

Things I'm proud of (my portfolio) πŸ™Œ

As a Senior UX Designer at UsabilityHub I am building a product that legitimately makes design better by democratizing research. If you haven't tried it, go and run a test now. It really changes the game. I'm a T-shaped person in a T-shaped role here, working closely with CX, leadership, developers and support to collaboratively build new product ideas based on customer feedback.

As the organised of IxDA Melbourne I am nurturing a community of human-centered designers to come together and learn from each other. I'm focused on breaking down barriers between design disciplines and having big conversations about the kind of things that designers should be thinking about, not just pixels and palettes.

As a Senior UX Designer at RMIT Online I established multiple UX processes and feedback loops to help bring student and teacher feedback into the process of building new courses and refining the delivery model. I developed design ops templates and processes around "end of first run" depth interviews, usability testing for learning activity design, led the design guild, and also developed a component-driven approach and refactor for the HTML/CSS front-end of online courses in the edX LMS, including moving their existing code to Sass and Git. I advised on and campaigned successfully for a platform migration and helping to develop resources and tools to increase engagement through a series of measurable Lean experiments. I also increased their survey response rates through survey design improvements and have developed a centralised feedback repository where insights from interviews, surveys and emails are collected, collated and labelled in a transparent way so teams can draw on them in their sprint planning or instantly solve problems as hotfixes.

I was Director of product and design at a rapidly evolving CX startup RateIt where I managed a team of software engineers, a junior product manager and a graphic designer. I hired a senior UXer, started their component library and design system, shifted a team into a productive agile process, created a practice of human-centred design and was a damn good manager. I was part of the senior leadership team and helped shape strategy, OKRs and culture.

I've inspired girls and women by investing my time into events, workshops, hackathons and mentorships with Code Like a Girl. In particular, I'm proud of a research project I did with them, investigating through a series of depth interviews the experience of secondary school teachers attempting to teach tech skills through the Victorian Digitech Curriculum. I developed their HTML/CSS class offering and have taught both children and adults, including a series of workshops at the Microsoft Store in Sydney.

I've volunteered my time to causes I care about with Girls In Tech, Girl Geek Academy, Girl Geek Dinners, Ladies that UX and other organisations trying to increase diversity in the technology industry. I particularly care about visibility and representation for technical roles for women and non-binary people as well as pay equity.

I worked with Circle In to help them re-think their UI to consolidate their two different career advice portals for parents into a unified experience with research and co-design workshops.

I've taught more classes than I can count at General Assembly. I developed and delivered successful classes around Agile/Scrum, UX fundamentals and HTML/CSS basics. I have consistently recieved high ratings on my teaching style and content.

I kickstarted a culture of design, research, testing and lean product development as acting head of design at EstimateOne. I worked closely with their head of product and product team leaders to engage in various qualitative research initiatives, and I mentored their UI designer to develop his UX skills and take his designs to users as prototypes to get feedback through usability testing. I also helped the team here understand UX methods and tools that they hadn't encountered before, including a particular deep dive into usability testing.

I built a content strategy and relaunched a killer website for ItStrategic. This included depth interviews with various staff members and exploration and analysis of their current customer base and their needs, a site audit and analysis, ideation, card sorting and prototyping, through to a site build and brand development with the help of Rosie Ren.

I refactored a huge amount of code into a robust React component system (deleting more code than I added!) and helped refine and improve the onboarding flow (through some deep and thorough user research and testing) at fin-tech startup Clover. I also worked closely with an inspirational cross-functional team of experts to run an amazing Design Sprint (chatbots!) and conduct various rigorous and effective research and design projects around complex financial products and data visualisation. We increased their acquisition rate by around 40% through optimisation and UI/UX improvements, and I designed their dashboard and iOS app concepts.

I designed and built a pluggable, customisable, scalable and re-usable multi-site theme system architecture and grew a team of UX designers at Equiem. I also led Design Sprints and an in-depth research and Lean product validation process around a "Click and Collect" product, including user flows, depth interviews, wireframes, prototypes and data analysis.

I led a team of developers building Drupal-based CMS solutions at Godel. Some highlight projects included building an online e-commerce store for Pavement Brands, creating an interactive creative onboarding quiz for high-end fashion brand 2-Times, working with mental health organisations Neami National and MHFA, collaborating with larger Drupal agencies Technocrat and PreviousNext to develop the front-end code for government sites for AIFS and DHS, as well as Carey Baptist Grammar School, The Wilderness Society, Fred Hollows Foundation and more.

I co-founded and built much of SaaS project management app Estimate Work.

I've written multiple articles for international business news and culture publication Quartz about mindfulness, pop culture and more.

I worked with Beat magazine to build an online version of their magazine that helped streamline their editorial workflow. I redesigned their website as well as developed tech solutions to take their whole submission and publication process online-first, with automated exports to their print magazine.

Things I'm doing soon πŸ—“οΈ

πŸ“… December 2019

I'm going to have a piece in the next issue of Offscreen.

Things I've done recently πŸ₯‚

πŸ“… November 2019

πŸ“… October 2019

πŸ“… September 2019

πŸ“… August 2019

πŸ“… July 2019

  • Won the RMIT Online Hackathon with a sustainability strategy for our office and organisation.

πŸ“… February 2019

πŸ“… December 2018

πŸ“… November 2018

πŸ“… October 2018

πŸ“… September 2018

πŸ“… August 2018

  • Worked hard at my new job!

πŸ“… July 2018

πŸ“… June 2018

πŸ“… May 2018

  • Taught Intro to UX at General Assembly.
  • Taught Coding for Designers at Academy Xi.
  • Panel participant for A Design Led Approach to Everyday Living at Academy Xi.
  • Panel moderator for The Product Ecosystem: Building Products for Melbourne’s Best Tech Companies at Academy Xi.
  • Taught Mother's Day Creative Coding workshop for Code Like a Girl.

πŸ“… April 2018

πŸ“… March 2018

πŸ“… February 2018

πŸ“… 2017

Want to make cool stuff with me? πŸ€™

I'm looking impactful, meaningful and ethical work. I'm keen to work with small organisations, particularly those with a commitment to sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and especially those led by women.

I'm interested in leadership roles and advisory opportunities, and am keen to chat to you if your organisation is led by human-centred design principles.

My day rate starts at $1000 AUD (+GST). For full-time roles I'm interested in salaries of $140K and above. (I believe that being transparent about pay makes it fairer for everyone) I'm keen to work in Melbourne, Australia and potentially beyond - remote and flexible commitments are appealing.

I'm usually doing something important with my time, but I'm always keen to chat. Get in touch.