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Overview.

In two years I built the practice of design and research in a hyper-growth environment. I focused on scaling design processes, new experiences, and transformative research insights.

When I first joined Nomad in early 2022, there was exactly 160 employees. Mostly operations, engineers, a handful of product folks, and exactly 2 designers. My first month was a listening tour. I spoke with internal teams and real users on a daily basis. I was a sponge, soaking up all the perceived and immediate problems a start up faces. I broke down my approach into an actionable 3/6/18 month plan to start having an impact which included a flat out sprint to hire a design and research team. This way we could create the best possible environment to tackle the most immediate problems facing a company that was experiencing hyper-growth fueled by the pandemic and a historically slow paced recruiter-centric model the industry was used too.

What ensued were proposals for team org structure, an experience overhaul, and a future that would allow Nomad to capitalize on both quantity and quality. I believed that a digital experience could still feel…human. The results were a 16% higher total application volume which led to a 9% increase in offers extended.

Work.

UX Strategy, User Research Strategy, Design System, Design Org, Rebrand

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In 2021, healthcare staffing underwent a seismic shift in order to meet the crushing demands of COVID

The nature of the nursing and clinician staffing industry is about humans caring for humans. Our experience had to feel personal like a relationship a clinician would form with a recruiter, but with all of the efficiencies a fully digital platform affords job seekers. Uniquely human, if you will. This is Nomad’s super power. We had the same disruptive opportunity with healthcare staffing that Expedia had on the travel industry. My proposed experience strategy revolved around 3 core parts.

1. Re-envision the user experience to provide a more opinionated approach, guiding users to the best opportunity

2. Meet clinicians where they are. Travel is synonymous with mobile, so we had to focus on mobile-app first

3. Leverage a design system to enable our teams to expedite experiences and drastically reduce development cycles

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Through partnership with my product and engineering counterparts, we identified that our native mobile app users were what I deemed “higher quality” users than those that just used web alone. On average, the key metrics that we tracked trended significantly higher. For example; Mobile app users submitted applications 8% higher than other platforms. My thesis was clinicians that made an effort to download the app were “travel-ready” or more motivated to actually search and apply for a job than those that were simply checking rates across different platforms.

I saw this as a huge opportunity to heavily invest in our native app. We simply called this the “Mobile App First strategy”. Catchy right? Over the next quarter after many discussions and cross-functional workshops, product and engineering went all in on a React Native rewrite of the app (previously it was a mish mosh of web views). My design team focused on improving key experiences like Job Search, Application, and the ability for clinicians on assignment with Nomad to easily submit timecards. I also worked with marketing on our notification strategy to clean up and streamline our communication channels.

After six with the new app and strategy fully implemented, we saw a whopping 2x the number of applications submitted and crushed our original projections for offers extended. The mobile platform became our primary revenue generating platform.

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In November of 2023 I spearheaded a truly cross-functional workshop with product, operations, marketing, engineering, and brand with the goal of holistically reviewing our entire clinician-facing journey from onboarding to assignment. It’s always difficult to get teams out of silos and talking, so this workshop was going to be used to expose our teams to gaps and opportunities in the Nomad Journey. Prior to the workshop I was pulling examples of how we tended to “ship the org” to our users. Anytime we had multiple owners of an experience, the end result was a layer cake of competing interests all vying for the users attention. Additionally, there were pretty sizable knowledge gaps in how our backend systems behaved in different scenarios. The effort started with a small team doing a 3 week deep dive to capture every corner of our experience, partnering with SME’s from every team to flesh out the map. When it came time to pull everything together in one mega experience map, I realized that I had so many blind spots in our experience. If someone like me who owns the UX end-2-end can’t get a grip on everything, then it was clear others with less visibility would be in the same position.

Over three days we went deep on all corners of our platform. My favorite part was the map reveal to the teams. Most everyone had not seen this in its entirety. The conversations, questions, and assumption-busting kicked off the tone for the rest of the summit.

The three day workshop was primarily timed to help inform our 2024 H1 strategy. The result was deep alignment and invaluable common understanding of user pain points, data, and most of all the opportunity to inform our roadmap moving forward.

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Outcomes.

From January 2022 through the summer of 2023 Nomad saw explosive growth. The mobile-first initiative combined with the reimagining of the user experience drove a 2X in revenue. Revamping the search and application experience resulted in a 18% lift in overall application volume and doubling the job offer acceptance rate. Further, the creation, evangelization, and implementation of the Spark Design System drove overall consistency and allowed developers to use a common pattern set for the first time in Nomad’s history. I grew and expanded the design and research function by 4x, hiring unbelievable talent over the course of 6 months. We turned from a scrappy start up to a budding enterprise team.

Lastly, I introduced scaling UX research practices that democratized research and made it accessible for all functions within the organization. The outcome was a user panel that consisted of new, existing, and lapsed users who constantly fed our ability to gain insight to existing work and test out concepts as they were born. The panel grew from 150 to over 1500 in the span of 2 years. Our insights and the best practices I established fed Nomad’s stellar growth and kept us in lock-step with our users needs.