Lisa Costanzo Wilkins

Persuading pixels to achieve their maximum potential Résumé

TODAY & NBC News Digital

Sr. UX Designer

NBC News iOS and Android apps

Currently I'm working with a small team to completely reimagine the NBC News apps across all devices. I began the Android effort, incorporating (where logical) best practices of material design behavior and asthetics to complement our brand identity.

It has to be more than the web:If the apps are simply the web content displayed within an app, there is little incentive for the user to download and engage with us. I believe the apps across the NBC News properties should be useful tools that compliment the on-air programming and web products to become part of news consumption habits. Continued work available soon.

NBC News channel on Roku

The NBC News Roku channel is an awesome example of function over form. It is the ugly duckling, but is also the second largest number of video starts outside of desktop, out performing Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and the mobile web across properties. The evolution was, and continues, to be made with the help of over 700 beta volunteers. Feedback was solicited via Survey Monkey and email.

Previous Roku channel
Before. It's ugly, yet working (to a point).
Phase 1 Roku chanel refresh
Cleaner, immediate immersion with auto-playing video. Users have the ability to watch and browse simultaneously. Playlists were culled and old evergreen content was pulled.

I took the opportunity to refresh the Roku app, but we had to move with care. I didn't want to lose a loyal audience who now provides a large chunk of our video consumption. The channel desperately needed to be modernized and the content strategy needed improvement. During the first phase of the refresh I assesed what was keeping our audience from spending more time on the channel. We changed the experience to jump directly into the latest videos instead requiring the user immediately make decisions. Next I created an area for promoting special features, and our featured sections. These changes, along with a visual refresh increased time spent by over 25%. Continued improvements and releases are ongoing. - Lifestyle Initiative

My most recent project was to define a template and design language to be used across the lifestyle section fronts, ( TODAY Food, TODAY Home, TODAY Style, and TODAY Parents).

A clear path: The first and primary goal was to create a defined hierarchy not experienced on the previous fronts. We solved this by increasing the available categories in a visually clean way which has proven to encourage exploration. It is also provides ways to discover more items while new recipe search CMS continues to be defined and built.

On–air is on–screen: Our users wanted to easily find recent segments from the latest shows. The new group offerings made it possible for users to search for those segments, and allowed editors to pin segements in focus.

Multiple revenue opportunities: The new layout and hierarchy provided various methods to customize revenue opportunities, allowing sponsors the ability to add category-specific content.

Every screen size first: All products are designed to accommodate all display sizes. Mobile and tablet were the focus of our first round of user testing. I lead the UX testing for the project, working with our researcher to define the areas of focus based on goal priority, then I iteratively updated between testing sets. Some designers may cringe at user–testing, I look forwards to seeing where my designs worked or failed seeing it for the first time through a user's eyes. I never would have thought a 'carousel' of items would useful, but hadn't tried it in quite a while. Users loved it. It was their point of reference while navigating the page.

Business requirements: While the TODAY core team is fairly small, the stakeholders, sales, on-air producers and SEO/analytics teams keep the processes in negotiation between business requirements and eliminating ux roadblocks.

We created this template to be very quickly released to other site. Ramping up new sections became 80% editorial work flow with minimal levels of effort from UX and dev. TODAY Food, was released in mid-June, 2015. Other lifestyle sections including TODAY Parents, TODAY Home and TODAY Style were quickly launched in early July. Parenting Team - Lifestyle Initiative

The team's goal behind the redesign is to provide resources and inspiration from famous, and not-so-famous, contributors. We're celebrating our imperfections, rather than setting unrealistic goals of perfection.

Build a community: With this first project, The Parenting Team, TODAY partnered with Tidal Labs to build a community for everyone to share their experiences, challenges and advice regarding all aspects of parenthood.

Contributors and users bond: The design emphasis revolves around "Team". The header branding is similar to a team medal or ribbon. Following the same theme are individual achievement badges. The environment for the TODAY Parenting Team and future lifestyle design efforts will be clean, simple, joyful and inclusive.

TODAY Parenting Team front
Version 1 of the TODAY Parenting Team. As our contributors and user base grows we will test various features and layouts based on user engagement.
TODAY Parenting Team badges
Badges for bloggers, sponsors and on-air talent.

The Mix - mobile app

The Mix was an app for quick hits of news on-the-go. The concept was to provide an "in case you missed it" product, showcasing the top stories of the day, consumable in about 10 minutes. Shaking the phone tossed out the first 5 curated articles and the next 5 dropped in.

Proposed user flow
The Mix mobile app wireframes
Basic flow-chart & wireframes.
The Mix finished mocks ready for fit-and-finish work. visual design
Final rough mocks, ready for production
Finished designs
Changes and updates not in the mockups were designed in-broswer.

Video Experience

I was recently part of the third redesign of the entire site, initially launched in 2014. The new design was completely mobile first and geared towards a more mobile-centric demographic than the current user base. In pre-launch user testing, the designs were very well received; but in the 'wild', the reaction was very different. The current demographic was not ready for a mobile-focused experience. Because the front-end was built with node.js using Handlebars, the corrections and revisions were lightening fast.

My role on this project (for the first redesign and the iterations thereafter) was design lead for the video player UX. It was part of a larger extremely aggressive goal to increase video starts.

Video player final
The last set of wireframes led to this rough mockup. It informed my continued explorations once in production.
Video player mockup
The final design iterations were created in-brower, and it continues to evolve.

Based on the previous player's usage and engagement data, I worked with the video development team to make the player as flexible and re-usable as the tool would allow. We performed user testing throughout development and continuous A/B testing to iteratively adjust the interface. The previous player had an overwhelming, full-site, nested navigation. For the new video player I reduced the navigation to contextually relevant videos and top videos from NBC News.

Election Coverage

I've worked on every mid-term and presidential election since 2006. In 2012 the goal was to create flexible election modules that would translate to any screen size. It was one of our first layouts nixing mobile-specific markup in favor of single markup and responsive layouts. Within our proprietary CMS and editing tool, the developer and I created modules flexible enough to work in any row and any position on the page. This allowed the editors to prioritize the Politics front topics in-step with the news cycle. The smallest module breakpoints served all three of our target views: mobile, tablet and desktop.

Politics hub layout
A visual created in cooperation with the project dev and the editorial staff to establish design expectations and flexibility.
The day after election hub page
Politics hub, 'the day after'.

The modules included data such as reports from NBC News embeds, social sentiment, voter confidence indices, and social outreach. Deciding on the content options available was a joint effort between the ux team and editorial staff. They requested module types, and we pitched new services or data analysis for them to consider (and maybe a few minor bribes were made between teams). Thanks to the variety of content, our coverage was one of the most complete in the industry. Editorial Support

I contracted with from 2003 to 2004 and was hired on full time in 2005. I've worked nearly every design position from daily editorial artist to company-wide design training for a new CMS. Other responsibilities:

Digeo Broadband

Lead Designer

OTT and web design

At a small interactive television company (formerly Digeo, now Arris) I led a team of designers to create an interface navigated via remote control for DVR and OTT commerce interactions. We delivered solutions to better integrate the normal 10ft passive TV viewing (channel surfing, search, programming the DVR, etc.) with active engagement accompanying shows and sponsors.

We also created the company web site, and the site that accompanied the OTT interface.


Noob Visual Designer

Visual & marketing design

At Go2Net, I learned what HTML was and never looked back.

My first role with them was for product shots for a vertical called GameSite. I moved onto portal design, product branding and ads. I made some of the most amazing 468x60 ads the internet had ever seen. My mentors, the Art and Creative Directors, gave me the time and tools I needed to understand the web side of design and production.

Together my son and I have this:
Seattle winters are occasionally ...
... and in the summer it's nothing but: