Questions asked,
stories told.

My name is Josh. A lot of people know me as Smitty.

I'm a user experience researcher, an inclusive designer, a data scientist, and a public folklorist.

That might seem like an unusual combo. I've walked an unusual journey.

But, it’s allowed me to develop an unusually versatile and valuable research practice. 

"Josh is a serious pro at researching, organizing, analyzing, and sharing out findings.”
Dan Bellinski
Director, Software Engineering

Since defending my Honors Thesis in Quantitative Psychology 15 years ago, I’ve worked on some of the toughest questions facing a couple dozen organizations, including a handful of Fortune 500s. 

"I would gladly have Josh on any project team or trying to solve our toughest problems."
Mike Gardner
Senior Experience Designer

My research portfolio is diverse, ranging from months-long ethnographic fieldwork to formal lab experiments, from moderated usability tests to surveys, from one-on-one interviews to machine learning with trillions of records. 

"Every detail of his work is purposeful and intentional.”
Taylor Blake
Director, Data Science and Analytics

I know how to turn data into stories.

I’ve taught college courses on data visualization, won international awards for data storytelling, spoken at academic and professional conferences, and I'm published academically, professionally, and artistically.  

“He has a knack for explaining key context and background, whether that is the 'why' behind new branding or the reason for applying a particular process.“
Jacqueline Rice
Data Science Director

I approach every question with curiosity, imagination, and a plan…

"He thinks through problems methodically and always has a great game plan for tackling difficult chunks of work. I never question the quality of work that Josh does."
Tytus Planck
Lead Software Engineer

…followed up with the grit that gets it done.

"He showed some real grit and didn't give up until we had the result we were looking for."
Helga Gruenbauer
Director, Experience Design

What I do

UX / CX Research & Data science

Understand your customers, find new opportunities, generate and test new ideas and prototypes, and predict results for more confidence and less risk.

Accessibility & inclusive design

Reach and engage more customers, improve your brand reputation, enhance your user experience, and mitigate risk with strong accessibility and design strategies.

Public Folklore

Find, explore, preserve and share local folklore. Emphasis on contemporary / urban legends and ghost stories.

Also...

My primary focus is research, but I've delighted many clients with my design work:

  • Branding & storytelling
  • Data visualization & data storytelling
  • Simple and easy-to-maintain sites in website builders like Webflow or Wordpress
"I’m amazed at how you’ve truly elevated the quality of our deliverables in project after project."
Indradeep Dasgupta
Senior Customer Delivery Architect

six questions,
six stories:

This portfolio showcases six of my favorite projects, but is nowhere near comprehensive of the work I've done since I began research in 2008.

How can I get more adoption and engagement from my new AI product?

Usability testing, interviews, surveys
20 participants
Retail

the story:

User satisfaction was sky-high, but usability tests uncovered major risks.

How can I most efficiently make our products more accessible?

WCAG 2.2 audit and analysis
20+ components
Tech

the story:

Patterns in accessibility failures showed a design system team that the path to WCAG 2.2 AA was far more accessible than they realized.

How can I make it easier for my users to find what they need?

Card sorting, tree tests
30+ participants
Tech

the story:

Users struggled to find the right design system component and guidelines, but the answer wasn't just re-organizing the content.

Which of my care management services are the most effective?

Matched case-control
100+ patients
Healthcare

the story:

Care management programs promised to improve patient lives' and control healthcare costs, but the programs couldn't scale until health systems knew what was working (and what wasn't).

What do local ghost stories tell us about our community?

Ethnographic fieldwork
1 participant
Public folklore

the story:

Ghost stories may seem like trivial fun, but they can tell us a lot about ourselves and our communities.

How much can I expect to make in a new market?

Machine learning
Millions of transactions
Retail

the story:

Demographic data and a little machine learning unlocked the ability to budget for new stores in unfamiliar markets.

"He has been instrumental in providing feedback on accessibility and design elements to ensure the platforms are inclusive."
megan copas
Director, Consumer Research

some of my design and writing:

Here are a few of my favorite creations.
Note that the majority of my work is under NDA, including accessibility enhancements, websites and apps, design system components, information architecture systems, and more.

Small steps giant sleeps

The Small Steps Giant Sleeps brand was built from intense personal struggle and challenge. Capturing that story created a brand with a powerful message for parents: you aren't alone, it's ok to need help, and that's what I'm here for. Note: accessibility enhancements ongoing.

Branding
Design
Website build

who's missing?

An international data storytelling competition , live before an audience of tens of thousand. An opportunity to demonstrate, through restaurant classification data, how society and language homogenizes the cultures of non-European groups. Note: I apologize for accessibility issues, this work preceded my career pivot into accessibility.

Data storytelling
Dashboard build

A small annotation

Published in Nightingale, the Journal of the Data Visualization Society, A Small Annotation uses the dramatic short story format to explore the sociopolitical disconnect between the ways we look at data, and the humans that data represents.

Data humanism
Creative writing

Pasture and crop

The award-winning data story Pasture and Crop uses agricultural census data to explore the different ways agricultural land is farmed for more informed conversations about sustainable agriculture practices. Note: I apologize for accessibility issues, this work preceded my career pivot into accessibility.

Data storytelling
Dashboard build
"Our customers are going to benefit significantly from his influence on our products."
Claire Sillato
Lead UX Designer

my cv-lite

Public speaking

  • Story as Craft: Narratives and Data .
    DataVizLive. 2020.
  • The Analyst Artist .
    Tableau Fringe Festival. 2019.
  • The Art of Data .
    Tableau Fringe Festival. 2018.
  • No Shit, There I Was: Humorous Narratives Among US War Veterans.
    reFraming and unMapping (OSU and IU Student Folklore Conference). 2012
  • When Cash Matters: The Effect of Fungibility on Dishonesty.
    Society of Judgement and Decision Making Annual Conference. 2009.

publications

Honors

certifications and certificates

Webflow

  • Webflow 101. 2023.
  • Layouts Level 1. 2023.

Deque University

  • Fast Track to Accessibility for Any Role. 2023.
  • Fast Track to Accessibility for Designers. 2023.
  • Fast Track to Accessibility for Document Creators. 2023.
  • Fast Track to Accessibility for Web Developers Part 1. 2023.

User Testing

  • UserZoom Advanced Certification. 2022.
  • UserZoom Platform Essentials. 2022.

Toastmaters

  • Advanced Communicator Gold. 2017.
  • Advanced Leader Bronze. 2015.

Deaf Services Center

  • American Sign Language 1. 2023.
"He did a great job challenging our traditional thinking."
Jarred Drumford
Lead Consultant
"Josh is a remarkable person to work with and if you ever get a chance to work with him, consider yourself privileged."
Ashwin Govindaraj
Data Visualization Designer
Love y'all.

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