I have been designing for digital communication since 2005. Since then, I've held permanent information architecture, interaction design, research, and director positions at the University of Washington, Übermind, Deloitte Digital, Anthro-Tech, and Frog. During that time I have worked with clients of all sizes in healthcare, education, transportation, retail, media, and government to create flexible structures for understanding in the connected world.
I started Andy Fitzgerald Consulting, LLC in 2016 in order to work directly with clients on strategic projects that solve specific problems for businesses and users.
Through many years and many roles, I have learned that I do my best work and produce the most value for my clients by focusing on three core values:
- Be kind
- Work hard
- Stay humble
The landscape of "knowledge workers" in digital realms today is awash with titles, ranks, and qualifiers. I try my best to be clear about the work I do in this context ("experience architecture and design"), but as I set to work each day, the mindset I find most useful is that of "digital craftsman." Craftsmanship reflects an individual commitment to mastery and excellence. It requires effort, diligence, humility, and hard-earned skill. It's a reminder that the merit of the work I produce is measured by the value I provide.
Having had many occasions to see traditional craftsmen in action, I suspect that if I hadn't become a designer of information spaces, I might well have become an electrician. There's a lot there in common with information architecture, actually: good wiring done well is functional, enabling, and invisible. Done poorly, it can burn the whole works down.
Most of the clients I work with hire me to help them through a specific information problem: How to help their users find the resources they offer, understand what resources they've found, and take action on them in a way that leads to tangible results.
Most clients' needs, however, don't start and end with what I can do for them. This is why I actively participate in a rich community of collaborators in design, strategy, research, and development. I never "subcontract out" work someone has hired me to do, but I do advise my clients on when and how to bring in collaborators to make the greatest impact for their project goals.
I choose to work as an indepentent practitioner in order to ensure my ability to engage in the deep work required to solve difficult, systemic problems in durable, sustainable, and scalable ways. The boisterous "open office" environments of many traditional consulting practices can be great for building internal culture, but I've found they too often prioritize what's urgent over what's actually important.
I have years of experience in collaborative, team-focused design techniques and am proactive about deploying these approaches when they're the best fit for a problem. I also ensure that when hard information knots need untangling, I have at my disposal the focus and perseverence such problems require.