Mike Barker
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About me

I am a product & ux designer. I have lived in Vancouver, London, Berlin, and now I currently call Winnipeg home. With a background in graphic design, I moved into ux in 2009 which has been my focus ever since. I can be caught designing in my spare time, along with dabbling with code. I've spoken at conferences around the world on design & ux topics.

Background

I graduated from Simon Fraser University with a degree in History and Communications. Originally from Winnipeg, I also grew up in the BC interior before moving to Vancouver for school. I started designing in University, working as a graphic & editorial designer at several publications.

Random facts

  • I wrote a book on news design
  • I'm a big LEGO fan
  • I have a dog named Molly
  • I own a vintage 1972 Mini

Design background

As a UX designer my areas of focus include user research & testing, information architecture, product & experience strategy, design sprints, wireframes & prototypes, and UIs & interaction. Over the last decade I have been able to work on every aspect of the ux flow—in the early days before specialising, every part of ux was required. With a foundation in graphic design I have previously done branding & corporate design, magazine & newspaper design, exhibition & wayfinding design, and motion design.

I began my design career while attending university, working at SFU's student newspaper. After graduating I landed at Adbusters in my first role, I also assisted with the design of Medusa magazine before becoming the art director. After a few roles in graphic and publication design around Vancouver, I went back to school. While attending the School of Design at George Brown, I returned to the student press and continued freelancing—which hinted at my work after graduation.

My final design thesis was to create a resource to help student newspapers with design & production. The result was a book, Requires Assembly, that was eventually published and distributed to all student papers in Canada (and used as a text book for news design courses). At the same time I began giving workshops on editorial design, and began two important contracts. The first, designing the School of Design's Annual, and the second, working on the Globe and Mail's redesign team where I produced documentation and layout guides. I even had numerous opportunities to layout various Globe and Mail pages. I continued working around Toronto on editorial redesign projects, as well as several contracts creating prototypes newspapers for the Toronto Star (designing elements that eventually were included in the Star Metro dailies).

Toward the end of 2008, when the economy was in rough shape and the news design industry was shifting away from shrinking newspapers, I moved to Winnipeg and continued freelancing as I switched to a digital role. In March 2009 I began working working at the product incubator Tipping Canoe where I focused on one core product Quidco, before it was spun out from the incubator. In 2010 I joined the spun out Quidco team and moved to London. After 5 years growing the Quidco product, design team and membership, I returned to the incubator to bring ux to new startups. After a year in Berlin where I helped create and launch Refash, I returned to Canada to lead the mobile app design team at Canadian Tire. While based in Winnipeg, I travelled often to the head office while we performed a thorough user-centric redesign of the core ecommerce mobile app.