I joined Inkling in 2009 as a founding member of the company, reporting to the CEO and serving as Head of Design and later VP of Design until 2015. Over the course of five years, I led the product design of our initial iPad app release, oversaw the design production of over 100 college-level textbooks onto our interactive learning platform, and directed the UX/UI for our web-based production tools.
Over five and a half years at Inkling, I was responsible for building the design team. I hired, managed, and mentored over 30 full-time designers, researchers, and front-end developers as well as part-time contractors and interns. At our largest, design was a 21–member organization. The team was integral to many parts of the business, and included product design for consumer and enterprise applications, user research, internal design tools, UX prototyping, design support for sales, brand, and creative marketing.
Our initial design challenge was how to translate information-rich textbook layouts to the new form factor of the iPad. We incorporated video and audio media into Inkling e-books and developed tools to create new, interactive learning experiences such as guided tours, quizzes, and flashcards from static print assets. We made textbooks easily searchable and indexable, and we added a social layer of shared notes that students and teachers could use together.
Over time, the company moved away from a consumer model, selling digital books to end users, to an enterprise SaaS model, selling our cloud-based content platform, Inkling Habitat, to educational publishers and internal learning and development teams within organizations.