Kim Coles has been a familiar face for Well Done for years, but we’ve only just now convinced her to come on board. After a successful freelance career, running her own business, and keeping up with her son, Kim’s excited to join the team as Well Done’s UX/UI designer. To find out more about what makes her such a good fit for this particular position, we sat down with Kim herself.
So, Kim, tell us a little about yourself.
Well, for the last 10 years I’ve owned my own company, Happy Monday. So I was the art director, creative lead, head designer, account executive, and director of operations all rolled into one. I’ve been working with Well Done for the last five years as a freelancer.
How did you get into UX/UI design to begin with?
Well, I started in print design, really. I took a ton of art classes in high school. My teachers entered me in shows and really encouraged me to do more. By my senior year they’d entered things into the Prelude Awards, where the Savannah College of Art and Design saw it, and I got a full scholarship there! I had no idea about SCAD before getting the scholarship. So I went there for college.
I went on to work at a firm in Bloomington years ago where they had lots of print designers, but not enough web designers. So I decided to head in that direction. In the beginning I was designing in Flash and doing my own HTML. I know enough HTML to understand the limitations and capabilities, but that’s also where I learned that I’m much better at the concept, UX/UI, and design of websites over coding them. I leave that to the professionals.
Tell me about your approach to designing websites.
For me, it starts with the research. Who is the audience? What are the goals? I let the research guide me before getting a design on paper. Then I turn to messaging, branding, and wireframes to help define the user’s journey. There are a lot of shops that see websites as just an extension of a brand. But starting with strategy makes for better, more successful websites. You can see it in the data and measurement at the end.
This is one of the reasons I’ve loved working with Well Done and why I was excited to become a part of the team: your process is a great example of the way things should be done. I’ve brought your process to other clients of mine as an example of the right way to go about it.
What’s the most significant thing you’ve learned in your career in web design?
One agency I worked for had a “launch fast/fail fast” mentality, but that’s where I learned that the research counts. It never made sense to me. It was good to see how it doesn’t work.
What do you like to do for fun?
I still do a ton of art—mostly drawing, painting, and illustration. This past year, I’ve been following my son’s senior year career on the golf team, in theater productions, and in show choir. He got into IUPUI’s Informatics and Computing Honors College as a recipient of the Chancellor’s scholarship, so we’re really excited for him. I also enjoy visiting art galleries, museums, and historical sites.
What’s the most exciting part of getting back into the agency world for you?
Getting to see what everyone is working on! It’s so exciting. And Well Done does such fun work for clients. Being a part of it is really exciting for me.
It’s also really fun to be back in the G.C. Murphy building—I won a coloring contest here when it was still a Five and Dime store in Fountain Square. I got my picture in the Daily Reporter Newspaper with the other winners. I can’t remember what I colored, or what the prize was, but I do know that it elevated my understanding of color choices and encouraged my creativity.
That’s very fun! Any clients in particular you’re excited to work with?
I worked on HealthPossible.org with Joe, so I’m excited to continue working with Hancock Health on their new and exciting ventures like the new relationships with Mayo Clinic Care Network. The Marion County Election Board was a fun campaign to be a small part of, so I’m excited to gear up for the campaign this fall.
We’re excited to have you on board, Kim!