Mike Barker
Work
Side projects
About
Writing

Design work

Over the last 15 years I've worked on a number of exciting projects. Many of these recent projects are detailed on Behance. Other random designs are available on Dribbble.

Canadian Tire

Year: 2017-2019
Project: Mobile app redesign
Role: Mobile app UX & prototyping, Design strategy, Design system

I joined the Canadian Tire innovation team in April 2017, and began working on mobile app designs, including the reinvention of the core ecommerce app. After laying the user research groundwork we began an intensive redesign sprint process in spring 2018.

From day one we took a customer-centric approach wtih early user research and constant testing in every sprint. This was one reason we raised our App Store rating from below 3 to 4.7-stars.

Read the case study or view more on Behance or Download from the App Store

In addition to the core Canadian Tire mobile app, I also created the design for a standalone SportChek app.

Refash

Year: 2016-2017
Project: Product conception & design, Website & mobile app design
Role: Web & mobile app UX & design, Design strategy

After 5+ years in the cashback industry leading the Quidco design and UX team, Refash was an opportunity to start from the beginning in building a rewards platform. We made two decisions early in our process—we used lean user research to frame the rewards mechanics, and we used Theory of change to identify a shortcoming with customer understanding so we could build a map to changing consumer habits.

The result as a fashion inspiration app which rewarded customer's purchases through the platform. Leveraging buyable looks within Instagram (before their own buy button), we reached out to fashion influencers to share looks tagged with products. This solved two problems existing with Instagram fashion posts—the inability to purchase items in a look, and creating a product customers would return to more frequently.

View the case study

Wareables

Year: 2014-2017
Project: Editorial website design
Role: Web UX & design, Branding design

The Wareable project was a brand new content-based site devoted to 'tech for your connected self'. Launched in 2014 with the initial design, I worked on addition design projects and site additions until 2017. The initial design was a one-month side-project focused on establishing the design & branding through a series of iterations with the sites' cofounders.

The underlying page structure was crafted to flow naturally when transitioning screen sizes while maintaining the distinct device breakpoints. This required early HTML prototyping to capture the resizing and placement of elements as the browser window was adjusted. The design took cues from fashion sites of the day, keeping a simple paired back design putting the content (including photography) centre stage.

View the case study

Quidco

Year: 2010-2015
Role: Head of Design & UX
Work: Web & mobile app UX & design, User research & testing, Design & branding strategy

I started working on Quidco before it was spun out from the incubator and eventually joined the team in London from 2010–2015. Quidco gave me my first practical experience with UX research and forever altered the course of my career.

We had hired Leisa Reichelt to conduct user research (1:1 interviews) and I was fortunate enough to then spend two weeks turning the research into actionable design guidelines. I spent the next few years implementing and building on the original guidelines (and continued conducting interviews and testing with customers).

Along the way I was able to design one of our ATL ad campaigns (ads appearing on the London Underground, buses and taxis), designed our core mobile app (and the ClickSnap grocery coupon app), and even made of our how-to videos. In 2013 I introduced design sprints based on the recently blogged process developed by Google Ventures. Gathering all stakeholders together as we started a thorough reunderstanding of the product and customers, was a powerful way to collaborate while moving quickly.

View the case study

Older work

Prior to transitioning to UX design, I worked on a lot of print projects including work for the Toronto Star (2008), The Globe and Mail (2006–2007), Umbra (2007–2008), The Guide magazine (2008), and George Brown College School of Design (2006).

The Globe & Mail

Year: 2006–2007
Role: Page layout design, Documentation & tutorial creation

In 2006 I began working at the Globe & Mail first on the redesign team creating documentation of the web & print redesigns, then as a Design Editor where I laid out pages. Creating documentation included building out the style guide formatted not as a reference book but as a learning tool, as well as crafting one-page tutorial tip sheets for staff training.

School of Design Annual

Year: 2006–2007
Role: Editorial design, Copywriting & editing

After graduation I worked for the School of Design at George Brown College creating their Annual of student work. We used LEGO bricks as a metaphor for the courses that students took to build their skills. The front and back covers were embossed & debossed with a stud pattern. Interstitial pages featuring transforming bricks created transitions from the cover into the main content and between sections.

Additional projects for the School of Design including assisting with the copyediting of School of Design publications including Canada Innovates: Sustainable Building.

Requires Assembly

Year: 2006
Role: Writing, Editorial design, Print production

Before moving into digital, I was an editorial designer. As part of my final design thesis in college I wrote Requires Assembly, a manual on design & production for student newspapers (April 2006). This 112 page book covers design elements key to the design of newspapers. Originally written and designed as my final design thesis, the book is geared toward student and small newspapers, though it has been spotted at major daily newspapers throughout North America and used in the curriculum of several journalism courses in Canada.

Requires Assembly was the final outcome of my thesis which was to design a solution appropriate for student newspaper editors to help them understand the basics of design, newspaper layout and production. With high turnovers every year, student newspapers struggled with the production of their first issue of the year. Requires Assembly was written and structured as a resource guide to dip into on specific topics.

Originally published through CreateSpace, a full print run was done in late 2006 (copies still available because I refuse to pulp them)!

Dialog newspaper

Year: 2004–2007
Role: Editorial design, Writing, Managing editor

While attending George Brown College, I worked at the college's student newspaper, the Dialog. Duties ranged from copy editing, assigning stories & working with journalists, page layout & editorial design (we changed up the design a few times), and finally working as the Managing editor.