Meet our new board members for 2021-22!

Welcoming our new RUX officers and supporting members


Supporting Members

A hearty thank you

We give our heartfelt thanks for our outgoing officers and supporting members: Scott Childs, Sam Poulin, and Heather Schaefer.

And, a big shout-out to our community and those who attend our events and keep in touch!

Get to know the new board

Check out their bios and see you soon at our fall events!

Shannon Leahy (she, her)

Position: President

Fun fact: I’m a dual citizen of the US and Australia.

Why I joined the board: I’m grateful to all the people who helped me find my way into content design and UX, and I want to pay it forward by helping others learn something new or connect with others.

Lisa D. Dance (she, her)

Position: Vice President

Fun fact: My path to user experience started when I was 9 years old…

Megan McCalester (she, her)

Position: Secretary

Fun fact: I have lost over 100lbs. 

Why I joined the board: I joined the board to make a difference within the Richmond UX community. I discovered my passion for ux late within my career and I wish I had events and a group of passionate people give insights and support out when I was discovering my path.

Katie Moriarty (she, her)

Position: Treasurer

Fun fact: I have a furbaby that keeps me on my toes. His name is Maverick and yes, he’s a Maverick! 🙂 

Why I joined the board: I am passionate about increasing the visibility of design as a career opportunity to both students and career switchers. When I was presented with the opportunity to move into design, I did not realize the growth opportunities with it and now I’m very thankful I took that move! 

Lawrence Altaffer (he, him)

Position: Supporting Member

Fun fact: I once blew myself up with gunpowder. It got better.

Why I joined the board: I joined to be a part of the local UX community, to learn from others, and to share my unique background with others. 

Phoebe Atkins (she, her)

Position: Supporting Member

Fun fact: I was a Forensic Scientist and an English teacher in Spain before becoming a Product Designer

Why I joined the board: I became a supporting member to help cultivate an active and vibrant design community in RVA. As a career changer myself, I’m particularly passionate about helping aspiring designers get started in the field.

Pollie Barden (she, her)

Position: Supporting Member

Fun fact: Completed half-marathon at Virginia Beach at beginning of 21st Century

Why I joined the board: There is so much potential in the Richmond UX/Design community. I want to be a part of bring us all together to learn and achieve great things together.

Chris Birkmeyer (he, him)

Position: Supporting Member

Fun fact: While growing up, I have moved to 5 different states and 7 different cities.

Why I joined the board: I would like to share my experience and insights with the community. I also want to help educate the community on UX, as it is a passion of mine.

Tyrone Frye (he, him)

Position: Supporting Member

Fun fact: I conquered my fear of diving/sinking by jumping from a big rock into the Mediterranean.

Why I joined the board: I joined the board because I wanted to entrench myself into the RVA Design ecosystem. I had also been to a few events and was interested in how I could give back and be involved. I knew that there was a mentorship program in the works and that is something that greatly interests me since I’ve been around mentorship programs a lot in recent years. I even revamped and ran one for nearly a year until COVID happened.

Carl Joseph (he, him)

Position: Supporting Member

Fun fact: I have recently kicked off a new platform for RVA neighbors, small organizations and businesses to share about the impacts they are making in the city. It’s called On Behalf Of | Richmond.

Why I joined the board: I realized there’s a need for community and access to learning about design in the city of Richmond. I joined the board and I’m now supporting to to help fill needs where diverse perspectives can promote problems solving at a greater scale.

Ashley Moody (she, her)

Position: Supporting Member

Fun fact: I love reading (primarily contemporary fiction by POC).

Why I joined the board: To be more involved in the community especially around diversity.

Lauren Pleveich (she, her)

Position: Supporting Member

Fun fact: I have a 15×20 foot food forest taking up the entirety of my tiny backyard in Church Hill.

Why I joined the board: I want to understand how we can integrate with the broader Richmond community in positive ways. How do we dismantle the “tale of two Richmonds?”

Laura Smith (she, her)

Position: Supporting Member

Fun fact: I’ve been riding motorcycles for 25 years. I can also wiggle my ears. Sometimes I do both of these things at the same time.

Why I joined the board: I really enjoy being a connector in the community. I love when I can connect people to other people, resources, or knowledge. Anything that helps someone develop a more meaningful relationship with the world around them.

James “Sully” Sullivan (he, him)

Position: Supporting Member

Fun fact: In the summer of 2018, I taught myself some basic woodworking skills and now a lot of my furniture in my living room is stuff I’ve built.

Why I joined the board: I’m really passionate about design and helping others navigate the crazy world of being a professional designer. The job itself can be tough but getting into a good job is even tougher. I want to provide any and all insight I can to designers in RVA.

April Event Update / Perks / Jobs Page

Those of you already signed up to attend this month’s event, “Eye-Tracking the User Experience of Mobile,” with Jennifer Romano Bergstrom are already in for a treat, but we wanted to let everyone know that there will be some great door-prizes. For those who attend, we will be giving away the following:

For those who haven’t stopped noticed the additions to our meetup site, RichmondUX has taken on a new sponsor (Loop11, offering a free usability test for RUX members) and members receive discounts for both bmoresponsive (May 9th, Baltimore, code RICHMONDUX) and ModevUX (use code UX14RUX). Check out our sponsorship page for these and other perks as they become available.

Last, but not least, we have added a jobs page to our site at Currently, we are showing jobs from Capital One, Carmax, the Federal Reserve, ICF Interactive, and WillowTree.

2014 is shaping up to be a great year for UX in Richmond. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions, ideas, or feedback.

The RUX Planning Committee

Fun Facts from Interaction ’12

In Interaction Design Association’s annual conference recently concluded in Dublin. From co-chair Steve Baty as well as committee member Ben Arent, here are a few fun facts and a few points of note:

  • 749 people sat down to witness the opening Keynote from Luke Williams
  • Approximately 800 people were involved in the conference – full attendees, workshop-only, day passes, exhibitors and volunteers.
  • Interaction|12 saw around 170 more people in attendance than Interaction|11; and 270 more than Interaction|10. It was twice the size of Interaction|09; and around 375 people larger than Interaction|08.
  • More than 33 countries were represented a t Interaction|12, including every continent (except Antarctica)
  • Approximately 650 people travelled to Ireland from overseas – about 4.5 times higher than the international contingent at any previous Interaction conference
  • This was the first Interaction conference with live entertainment during lunch;
  • This was the first Interaction conference held outside North America
  • Despite the worst economic conditions seen in Europe or the US in 80 years, the conference was (marginally) profitable, delivering much-needed funding into IxDA to serve as seed funding for Interaction|13 and Interaction|14.
  • Speakers were drawn from more than a dozen different countries
  • The Interaction Awards were staged for the first time, and awarded during the course of the conference. This was truly a milestone event for the IxDA and the interaction design community. Jenn Bove and Raphael Grignani – and their organizing committee – did a fabulous job, and we have all benefited from their drive and insight.
  • #ixd12 had 3,378 tweets over all time, and around 2,876 during the conference. ;
  • IxDAAwards, Docbaty, DaveIxD and Angel were the top tweeters. ;
  • Interaction12 facebook page has an equal gender divide, but it’s still mostly males between 25 – 34.
  • Our viral reach peaked during the conference. (People love the photos)
  • Brazil was the 4th most reached country on our facebook page.
  • Our ‘Friends of Friends’ viral reach was viewed by over 162,000 people.

Some Design Studio and Other Resources

After the meeting on Wednesday, several people expressed more interest in how the time-honored design studio method is being used in UX design. Here are some thoughts and references:

Design Studio

The design studio concept is discussed in Todd Zaki Warfel’s book Prototyping: A Practitioner’s Guide (use code MOJOGUZZI for 25% off this & any other RM book)

Also, take a look at Todd’s right way to wireframe video (and design studio starts at 1:06 and goes through 1:39). In fact, here are all four RWTW videos.

Here are some slides from his Web 2.0 presentation.

Lane Halley has detailed this concept in this presentation.

Another interesting approach is here.

UX Team of 1

Here’s one of the great Leah Buley’s UX team of 1 stuff. And here’s her book site.

About Russ

Many thanks to Russ Unger, co-author of A Project Guide to UX Design, for appearing last night.
Bio page
Book page (with downloadable templates & content)
Follow him on Twitter: @russu