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Building confidence in public speaking skills

I led a team of designers and researchers through an intensive product discovery and prototype process, resulting in a product that breaks down a common phobia into actionable, buildable skills.

A mockup of a startup app Alicia Drinkwater led using human centered design processes.

Project Highlights

Led rapid iteration, building multiple options and features in parallel and then testing to refine

Pitched to boards of experts in private and public audience settings for both pitch competitions and private expansion opportunities

Identified and recruited industry expertise to expand beyond our initial internal knowledge base

Key Skills

  • Mobile Apps
  • User Research
  • Product Management
  • Product Discovery
  • Strategy
  • User Experience Design
  • Market Research
  • Agile
  • Leadership
  • People Management
A mockup of an app Alicia Drinkwater built using rapid prototyping.

Teaching trainable skills over unachievable talent

Ease is used during the presentation practice process. Its goal is to remove the fear surrounding public speaking by empowering the user with data. Created with professional communication coaches, it presents data in four key categories -- Balance, Tone, Confidence, and Clarity -- to help the user understand and influence the impact of their strengths and weaknesses on the quality of their presentation.

Crazy ideas come from crazy exercises

The idea from Ease came from a series of silly exercises -- the kinds of things you usually dread to do during ice breakers or at company retreats. Struggling to find a project we felt motivated to latch onto, I ran our team through another round of Crazy 8's. One of our team members jotted down the idea of Grammarly, but for microphones: a way to have real-time feedback on your speaking, just as you do for your written words. This was the start of Ease and the start of a long road of surveys, research, interviews, and pitches to follow.

A mockup of an app built by a startup team Alicia Drinkwater led using empowered leadership.

Finding high value in cheap prototypes

Once we'd refined our idea and conducted initial market validation on the problem space, we set out to make cheap, simple prototypes that we could get in front of our users as quickly as possible. Our designs ranged from napkin sketches to full-color clickable prototypes. As we got them in front of our target audience, we were able to conduct interviews, A/B evaluations, and heuristic evaluations to refine our product as quickly and accurately as possible.

A mockup of some of the data visualizations in the B2C startup app Alicia Drinkwater helped create.

Uniting moving parts into a streamlined solution

As the project lead, I navigated my team through the design process. I was responsible for the coordination of every piece of the product to align our content, visuals, business, strategy, and engineering. I was also the sole presenter and pitched the product and supporting business model in workshops and judging rooms with industry professionals, placing as a finalist in one pitch competition.

A mockup of a startup app Alicia Drinkwater helped build using user experience research.

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