Passionate about leading teams in the development of products that are both attractive and easy to use. Incorporates best practices in User Experience Design to help companies attract, retain, and delight more customers with better products.Michael Christopher Hicks
The Arthritis Foundation is the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention, control and cure of America's leading cause of disability.
At the Arthritis Foundation, I improved the flagship marketing website through enhanced interface design, interaction design, and information architecture, making the user experience more accessible, and user-friendly.
While analyzing data from Google Analytics and Alexa to uncover patterns in user behavior across the site, I determined that a significant number of users were searching for health-related content. Following these paths, it was discovered that users were directed to broken links and sub-standard content pages.
Using Semrush to analyze keyword trends, a discovery of "arthritis-related recipes" were among the most commonly searched keywords. After facilitating several UX activities including card sorting exercises, it helped the team to better index content with relevant tags.
Using a combination of click tests and surveys gave me a better understanding of different user segments and how each group navigated the site.
I developed a series of scaleable, reusable components for use in the construction of the new website. This approach helped to create consistency across the design library and streamline the development of the project.
Working with medical writers and nutritionists, led to the creation of the health and wellness hub. Here, we repurposed old articles and created new articles based on data-driven demand from our users.
I led key areas of the rebranding for the Arthritis Foundation website by defining user personas and designing content hubs around the users’ needs. We saw a 1900% increase in average session duration for health-related flows, a 3% decrease in the website’s bounce rate, and 3x in the speed of content development through the use of new reusable components via Kentico (CMS).
Blueprint Title is a tech-focused real estate closing and title insurance company. The core features of its application is designed to facilitate communication and sensitive data between parties across transactions.
Here, I led the design of new product features for the organization’s real estate transaction management system (RTMS).
I began my approach with a heuristic evaluation. This method allowed me and my team to quickly identify UX flaws without the need for extensive user testing.
Many of the inconsistencies and challenges I discovered during the heuristic evaluation were validated by reviewing user data from FullStory sessions.
I created the Mango Design System for Blueprint Title. This is a collection of intelligent user interface components, driven by a unique set of principles and guidelines.
The implementation of the design system is intended to enhance the usability of the Blueprint app as well as the organization's various workflows.
The design system was vital in the design and development of features like the Status Tracker; a feature that allows users to view and manage the progress of a transaction and its related tasks.
By leading the creation of an original design system, my team and I removed over 94,000 lines of code (26.5%!), cut build times in half, made improvements to the user interface in a way that provided clarity around the transaction's progress, and received overwhelming positive feedback from users on the quality and speed of the application.
At Willow Lane Cabinetry, an online kitchen retailer, I optimized sales conversions by redesigning the website, with a focus on an improved, user-centered checkout flow.Web Design
Competitive analysis was made against “big box” retailers like Home Depot and Lowes to understand how they handled information architecture and user navigation. This inspired me to organize products in several ways, i.e, style, color, and finish. I created wireframes to focus on the arrangement of these product sections.
Remote usability testing was conducted on the initial website with customers to better understand their pain points. Taking inspiration from user feedback, I developed a new visual language to harmonize the company’s digital assets. A/B tests were run on said assets to validate them with customers.
After my engagement with customers, user flows were made to reimagine the way users made purchases. With the new brand assets and user flows created, mockups were developed to show the changes necessary for an optimal checkout experience. Some changes include collapsable sections, security badges, inline form validation, and brand-related imagery.
By redesigning the website, with a focus on an improved, user-centered checkout flow, I increased sales by 15% over 3 months as measured by sales data and VWO (Visual Website Optimizer).
A sleek, functional, and original email client design; designed to explore information architecture and usability.User Interface Design
A variety of illustrations and other digital graphics from professional and personal projects.Visual Design
Lead UX Visual Designer
“Michael is one of the best designers I’ve ever worked with. He is diligent, precise and a dedicated UX practitioner who always goes beyond expectations. While working together, he juggled multiple projects and yet, was always open to engage with team members for collaboration. He is phenomenal and will be an incredible fit for any team. If I had the chance to work with him again, I would do so in a heartbeat.”
Senior UX Consultant
“A talented, curious, empathetic, and hungry designer like Michael is rare to find. He’s always ready to help and to jump on a fire while remaining calm and focused. And if he doesn’t know how to do something, he’ll learn it and be proficient the next day.”
Creative Strategist & Designer
“You get a sense that he is on the pulse of what matters while keeping his cool amidst the chaos. Admirably, I’ve witnessed him tackle tasks and expectations in a calm and timely manner, and with the precision, it takes for a project to be truly successful. And if you need a good laugh or any comic relief, Michael will provide the icebreaker through wit and punchline.
Diligent Digital Strategist
“Michael was a joy to work with. His passion for every project he touched, no matter how big or small, was always apparent. Not only did Michael go above and beyond for clients — he also did for Arke and the Experience Design team, serving as a true team player and employee advocate.”
Senior Front-End Developer
“It was an absolute pleasure getting to collaborate with Michael. He is one of the most talented designers I have ever worked with, but he is also incredibly thoughtful, kind, and punctual.”
Sr. Director of UX
“I also had the opportunity to partner with him on multiple client deliverables, and was always impressed with his client-facing demeanor. He has excellent communication skills and handles very stressful situations calmly and rationally. I often caught him at the office late into the evening working to hit impossible deadlines, which he always managed to do, regardless of the circumstances.”