A Designer’s Perspective: Top Tools & Resources

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When I think about cool tech and design resources, so many options pop into my head. As a user experience designer always looking to learn something new, I have to say that there is an ocean of books, blogs, design tools, and inspirational sites out there that can help you grow personally and professionally. If you are curious, passionate about design, and eager to learn, we have already something in common.

Productivity, design thinking, behavioral change, and innovation, are a few areas of focus that have shaped the person and designer I am today. Below is a selection of tools and resources to help people like you and me:

Books:

  • Change by Design – An introduction to design thinking and how to drive innovation in organizations.

A little bit of everything:

  • Einstein window – Identify which is your most productive time in the day and get the most out of it.
  • Bullet Journal – A straightforward and productive way to design your to-do list.
  • Toastmasters – Improve public speaking and leadership skills while meeting new people.
  • Leadercast – Leadership event to get inspired and learn from top leaders in the world.
  • Pomodoro technique – The best productivity tool that helps you prioritize and time yourself.

Community:

  • AIGA (The American Institute of Graphic Arts) – Excellent professional organization for design, especially around graphic design.
  • IXDA – Interaction Design Association
  • Code for America – If you are interested in civic projects, open data and, helping your community, I highly recommend finding the Brigade chapter in your state.

Trend, news and, inspiration:

  • Website Awards – Recognized web designers and agencies in the world.

Webinars, blogs, and podcasts:

  • Mural.com blog – Mural is an awesome tool for remote collaboration and documentation. They also have really good webinars.
  • UserTesting.com – Test your designs and sites with this tool. They also provide webinars with top leaders.

Prototyping tools:

  • Balsamiq – Create quick mock ups, and wireframes
  • Invision – Build web and mobile prototypes to share and to gather user feedback.
  • Axure – Create highly interactive prototypes.

Design resources:

  • Codepen – Front-end inspiration
  • Usability Hub – Use this free service to get quick user feedback

I hope you find these tools useful, regardless of whether or not you are growing a design career or a career in another field. Do you have other exciting tools and resources? I am always looking for new things to try.


Erika B. is a multidisciplinary designer, thinker, researcher and strategist from Caracas, Venezuela. She is an alumni of Savannah College of Art and Design where she studied Industrial Design and Service Design. She works at Daxko as an Interaction Designer and during her free time, works as a community organizer at Code for Birmingham.

The Girl and the Software Company: A Love Story

By | Culture, Grow Your Career, Healthy Stuff, Rewarding Careers, Talent, Team Member Spotlight | 2 Comments

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m going to tell you a little love story. 

 Our story dates back to 2011, and I was working at a local Birmingham nonprofit. There, I had the great fortune of meeting Lisa, a Daxko team member, who was serving on the board at the time. I was looking for a career change, but I didn’t know what that would look like. I had heard of Daxko, but I wasn’t entirely sure what they did at that point. So, I decided to check out the Daxko careers page and see what this place was all about. 

 And the rest is history… 

 Just kidding. Like most love stories, this one was a slow burn. At the time, there weren’t any roles that would be a good fit for me, but I was intrigued. I loved the idea of working for a tech company where I would still have a connection to the nonprofit world. I stayed in fairly regular communication with the Daxko People Team between 2011 and 2014, hoping that eventually there would be a spot for me. During that time I have (semi) jokingly admitted that I was a Daxko stalker. Then one day in early 2014, opportunity knocked. After several interviews and a presentation, I had an offer with my dream company! 

 What happened after that is hard to summarize, but here’s a snapshot: 3 roles, 7 desks, countless chicken biscuits, and a brief hiatus at another company. Yep, you read that right – I love Daxko so much that I left and came back! In the words of Selena Gomez, the heart wants what it wants.

 A big part of Daxko’s mission is to provide rewarding careers for its team members. Dave likes to refer to this more specifically as “career-defining moments,” and I couldn’t agree more. I’ve had the opportunity to sit across the table from CEOs, CFOs, and every other C that you can imagine. I would not get that chance this early in my career from many other companies. I didn’t have a true “career path” until I became a member of Team Daxko. And while I subscribe mainly to the jungle gym analogy, I have more direction and clarity on what I want to do “when I grow up” than I ever would have if I had never worked at Daxko.

 Like most relationships, there are frustrations, highs and lows, good days and bad, but the bottom line is, you know that someone’s got your back. That’s how I feel about Daxko. We have the greatest team, the best customers, industry-leading products, and yes, we do have a little fun too. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve even found best friends in my Daxko teammates (and as Janna recently pointed out, my dog has made besties through Daxko as well!). 

Rosie and Raisin: BFF

And there you have it, a love story between a girl and a software company. I’m glad to be back in the Daxko Nation, and I’m excited for my next chapter.


Laura G. is a Strategic Relationship Manager who spends her free time food stalking, loving on her dachshund Rosie, and striving to be more like Tina Fey.

Ready to kindle your own love story with Daxko? Read about our careers.

Movin’ On Up: How I Managed the ‘Great Move’ from Customer Success to Implementation

By | Culture, Grow Your Career, Life at Daxko, Rewarding Careers, Talent | One Comment

About a month and a half ago, I was given the opportunity to take off my Customer Success hat and move over to the Implementation side of things, as a Project Manager/Solutions Analyst. The dual role would focus on getting our customers started and set for success on Daxko Operations, something with which I had only a little experience, helping launch the YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South in December of 2015.

As clichéd as it is to say, the departure from the frontline of Customer Success was bittersweet. Feelings of sadness would creep in, even as I was excited about what the new role meant for me. I was anxious to move into something new, something bigger, only to be reminded of how good I had it by a teammate’s playful joking. It’s a good problem to have, not wanting to leave what you’ve got because of how good things are.

I am admittedly very bad with change. I knew that I wanted to move on, but leaving my Customer Success friends was difficult and saddening! What’s more, this was going to be something new and I might not be as comfortable in this new role as I was in my old one. How could I hope to climb to the same level of knowledge as I had in Customer Success?

These worry subsided as I realized a few things:

First, this ‘great move’ that I was worried about was all of twenty feet. Seriously, I can see my old desk and all of the frontline without even standing on my toes. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: I was being dramatic. Perhaps I was. But like most instances, it didn’t feel like ‘just drama’ at the time!

Next, I realized I already knew many people over here, including many teammates who had previously come from Customer Success, such as Kayla Ann, Kelsi, and Deeanna. I had worked with all of these guys for months when I had joined the Customer Success side. They not only made the switch, but were doing excellent work! What I might not know immediately, I could learn just as they had.

I still get to hang out with my former teammates even though all have transitioned to other teams.

I still get to hang out with my former teammates even though all have transitioned to other teams.

The last realization was that I could help lay the foundation for our customers in a way that would ensure their success going forward. While being on the frontline of Customer Success and answering questions for customers is a rewarding experience, having the ability to ensure things go smoothly for launching associations could be seen as a way of answering questions before they happen. I now have the ability to guide our customers through what might otherwise be a painful process, only for them to launch with everything working perfectly. My workflow has shifted from being reactive to proactive.

These three realizations made the transition less painful and substantially less scary. I wrapped up everything I was in the middle of for Customer Success, wrote some how-to guides around a few subjects and made the long, perilous five second walk to my new desk. I found balloons and new friends waiting for me. We went out to lunch at a sandwich place I really enjoy and the rest, as they say, is history.

This kind of cynical let down is the best: when you’re expecting nothing to go right and everything just fits right into place.


McKee S. is a Project Manager who loves playing video games and kickin’ around a hacky sack.

Daxko is looking for another Implementation Project Manager to join McKee and the rest of the team. Think you have what it takes? Apply here!

Daxko Kickoff 2017 and Achievers Club Winners

By | Culture, Employment Brand, Life at Daxko, Talent | No Comments

Every January, Daxko gets ready to start the new year by holding a company-wide Kickoff event. Kickoff 2017 was attended by our teams in Birmingham and Houston, spanned a Thursday evening and a full day (almost) on Friday and included a keynote from Dave Gray, team breakout sessions, and of course, lots of fun – and some unexpected surprises.

Kickoff 2017 was western-themed, so our Thursday night event included dinner, line dancing, old-timey photos, and plenty of games. You can see highlights in the video below. Who knew so many of our team members were such good dancers?

Our team breakouts were cut short on Friday because of inclement weather. In fact, most of our Houston team got snowed in after flights were canceled. Fortunately, they made the most out of a stressful situation. The team hung out with Dave and dined on pizza at the Aloft Hotel in Homewood. They were also caught on ABC 33/40 news line dancing in the snow!

We wrap up every Kickoff by announcing our Achievers Club winners. This prestigious award is one of Daxko’s top honors, and winners receive recognition, a trophy, and a trip. Due to the inclement weather, we were unable to announce the winners as planned. However, this past Friday, we held the ceremony here at the Daxko Birmingham HQ (with live video feed from both Birmingham and Houston). The winners will be going to the Boulders Resort & Spa in Arizona in April, and they won’t have to use any of their PTO time!

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Congratulations to all of our Achievers Club winners! This is a great group, and we’re proud to have such high-caliber team members working at Daxko.

Although Kickoff 2017 didn’t go quite as planned, we still count it as a success. We are excited about 2017 and ready to do great things in the Daxko Nation!


Ready to see where a career at Daxko could take you? Apply here for one of our current openings!