LeagueApps Steps Up Their Design Game With The Addition of Jeff Doan
By Brian Litvack
September 22, 2013
We’re excited to announce the arrival of Jeff Doan to the LeagueApps team. Jeff is our new Lead UI/UX Designer and will be working in our new Rosslyn office space. His responsibilities will entail all platform design, front-end development, design quality and partner design tools. Jeff will also play a major role in product design and development as LeagueApps pushes forward with new mobile products. We plan to keep him busy!
Jeff has held numerous web design jobs around the DC area and was most recently a CSS designer at NCLUD, a top web design agency in Washington DC. You can get a better sense for Jeff’s design sensibility and more on his website, or follow him on Twitter.
We asked Jeff a few questions around his own background, design ideas and how it all applies to LeagueApps. Here it in his own words!
Q: Can you share you web design background and experiences with the LeagueApps community?
A: I got into web design via print design which I got into after graduating from JMU with a degree in fine arts. I always had a passion for design, and as soon as I graduated a buddy of mine & I started building awful websites (but hey, who wasn’t in 2004). I landed an internship at a retail company for print design, but fell in love with web design and began pushing myself to get more involved in web design. From there I started focusing on web design, and eventually some web development as well. It’s my belief that you can’t be a web designer without knowing a good amount about web development and browser compatibility and functionality.
I’ve been working in web design for the past 7 years, and love it every day — how far it’s come in the last 7 years is incredible, and it’s only going to get better, and design is really starting to be appreciated and valued in every step of a successful product; a testament to the web design industry as well as the new start-up culture.
Q: What are some of the trends and concepts in web design that you like to use?
A: Trends, that’s a dangerous word to me. I don’t really like to use anything that’s a trend, because of just it’s nature of being in the now today, but perhaps not tomorrow. It’s good to know what the trends are, just to see what today’s other designers & products are capable of, but the nature of good design is to be as timeless as possible, and more importantly, to design for your users and the users you want to have; regardless of trends. That being said, I am a fan of more ‘flat design’ as opposed to heavy ‘skeuomorphic’ design, and I love the big push by type designers & foundries to make their fonts available for web use. For many years, web designers had only a handful of typefaces to choose from, and that limited creativity and branding to a certain degree; but thanks to Google and Typekit we now have access to a lot more typefaces.
Q: How can a sports organization optimize design and UI to better achieve their goals?
A: No matter what the sports league is, or in general, what the business is, great design matters. Great design gets out of the way, and helps users do what they want to do. So, in the pre-registration process, it’s making the flow simpler and more intuitive, more enjoyable, and reducing friction (i.e. removing the little voice in users heads and giving them visual cues that this is legit & awesome). Then, in the post registration process, it’s about giving the user what they want, in an easy to navigate & digest manner — with a sports league, that’s most likely information about their next game, the weather, and their overall schedule. Lastly, from a business perspective, reducing overall complexity will lead to more user registrations, satisfaction, engagement, word of mouth marketing, and ultimately help achieve business goals.
Q: How should leagues think about mobile design?
A: That’s a good question — something I don’t know I have the answer on yet, nor does anyone really. However, what we want to help get across to our partners is the importance of mobile to their users, and what scenarios to think about their users in. If I’m playing in a sports league, what I’m going to be doing on the go on the league website is getting directions to the game, checking the weather, who’s going to the game, etc. Very me-centric things that don’t take much time, and that might not be generating revenue at the moment, but by providing a sleek, simple to use mobile experience, the league will be providing a lot of value to the user, and thus they are going to want to stay in the league.
A good comparison is if you’ve ever tried checking a restaurant website on a phone — if so, more than likely all you really want is see the menu, address, phone number and check the hours. Instead, we are often shown extraneous intro movies, photos of people having a great time, music, etc. The point here being that what an organization might think is important, especially on mobile, more often than not, is not what the user wants or needs. So, educating and providing resources to help develop a mobile first mindset would go a long way to getting everyone on the same page, and creating the best possible scenario for the user.
Q: What is your biggest sports highlight or moment?
A: I was playing leftfield in an Arlington Softball league and a deep fly ball was hit my way. I tracked it all the way until the fence, which I didn’t even know was there, and caught it as I crashed into the fence. A bunch of were playing basketball started cheering & applauding my efforts for that, which made me feel like a baller. Of course, while I was reveling in my own awesomeness, the men on first and second advanced all the way home as I temporarily forgot where I was, and the fact there were less than 2 outs. Also, one game in high school lacrosse, I had 5 goals against one of our biggest rivals; unfortunately we lost 20-5.
Q: Anything else to add?
A: Design and products are an evolutionary process. LeagueApps is in this with our partners to build the best platform for you and the best experience for both your organization and your participants, who we also value just as much!
I’m so excited to be here and start building great things with LA and our partners!