At Project Spaces, everyone has a unique story to tell. With our monthly member spotlights, we delve deep into the worlds of our members to learn more about what drives them. This month we chat with Alan Leonard, UX Lead at Sparkgeo.
Project Spaces: Hey Alan, thanks so much for sitting down with us to talk shop! To start things off, could you tell us about what you do?
Alan Leonard: In as few words as possible, I design software.
The long version is I work as the User Experience (UX) Lead for a geospatial consulting company based out of Prince George B.C. called Sparkgeo.
In my role, I explore and understand the requirements and goals of the end users of the software that we build, and turn them into the experience and the interface that they’ll see and use.
I’m working on several different projects right now, including Maptiks, which is like Google Analytics for web maps. Municipalities use it to broaden their understanding of how citizens are interacting with web maps on the city’s website for things like garbage pickup, snow removal and so on. I’m also excited to be working on the MERMAID project too. MERMAID (the Marine Ecological Research Management AID) is an open source data platform for coral reef data collection and visualization for science and conservation.
PS: That’s really cool! So how did you get started working in UX?
AL: About a decade ago I started teaching myself HTML and CSS to make myself my own photo blog. That eventually snowballed into me making sites for other people and I eventually started my career in web design and development.
Years later, I found myself as the Front End Developer at my old job, Compusense, and there I identified the need for a design position, transitioning into the role of UX Lead. With my experience of designing and building web UIs over the years, it was a logical step towards experience design.
At the beginning of 2018, I started in my position at Sparkgeo.
PS: What about your job excites you?
AL: Being the voice of design at a company that does a lot of scientific work.
I love exploring the intersection of science and design and I feel the geospatial industry lends itself well to that. I also like the freedom that I have as the UX Lead. I get to lead the design of projects and direct design throughout the company.
PS: That’s a really interesting point about the intersection between the analytical science side of things and the creativity that spurs design. We certainly have members who specialize in both sides of the coin. How did you find yourself working at Project Spaces?
AL: Toronto winters are long, dark, cold, and can be pretty lonely. Although working alone at home can be quite productive, it’s nice to be able to turn to chat with a real human throughout the day.
PS: We hear you! Also - you’re currently our longest standing member and we love having you in the space. What’s kept you around all these years?
AL: Great community, great people, and an interesting building.
PS: Aw, thanks Al! Where can we find you?
You can find Alan at:
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