User Experience Practitioner

Graduate degree in HCI and 5 years of experience contributing UX insights and driving UX processes in multiple industries, including public safety and educational publishing. In my free time, I'm practicing piano, photographing the natural world, and augmenting my technological skills with Coursera and Lynda.com courses in things like CSS3, HTML5, and Responsive Web Design.  I'm pushing the bar up in Illustrator, as well, using Lynda.com as a resource.

Professional Experience

2016 - Present

Ford Motor Company
UX Research Engineer
  • Starting July 11, 2016
  • Provide user research on vehicle interactions and expectations to anticipate users’ needs.
  • Conduct iterative usability testing to understand how users interact with concepts, and make changes in the feature development process.
  • Actively ideate and invent new features for the connected vehicle.

2014 - 2016

Tyler Technologies
Usability Engineer
  • Contributed UX insights to the development of a Web application for use in the public safety sector.
  • Integrated UX design into the agile framework.
  • Designed the style guide for the application.
  • Developed extensive collection of medium- to high-fidelity prototypes for system functionality and process improvements.
  • Conducted usability testing on the product, which provided direction for system enhancement.
  • Conducted extensive research on accessibility (Section 508 Compliance and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0)), and put the research into practice through the integration of findings.
  • Software used: Axure RP Pro  |  Adobe Illustrator  |  Adobe Photoshop  |  MS Office


Cengage Learning
User Experience Specialist (Consultant)

Interaction flow map, usability testing, contextual inquiry.


Research into Internet Systems (RIIS)
Usability Specialist

Beginning in March of 2013, I was working in the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan, as a consultant for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. There I contributed to the construction of the new portion of the BCBSM design to house the Affordable Care Act health insurance plans.


United Health Group
UX Designer

Wireframing using Axure, research and documentation

2011 - 2012

Ford Motor Company (Contracted through Nexient)
Usability Specialist

I worked on the Creative Design and Usability team (now UX Center of Excellence), providing usability recommendations for intranet sites.

User Experience Skills
Information Architecture Skills

Card Sorting  |  Iterative Prototyping  |  Navigation Design  |  Page Construction  |   Wireframing

Key Professional Skills

Communication  |  Critical Thinking  |  Design Thinking  |  Ideation  |  Team Player

Software Skills

Adobe Illustrator  |  Adobe Photoshop  |  Axure RP Pro  |  iRise  |  MS Office

Usability Research Skills

Competitive Evaluation  |  Contextual Inquiry  |  Heuristic Evaluation  |  Personas  |  Scenarios  |  Usability Testing

Visual Communication Skills

Contextual Inquiry Diagramming  |  Interaction Flow Mapping  |  Sketching Flow Diagrams and Screen Layouts

Formal Education

Apr. '10

University of Michigan School of Information, Ann Arbor
Master of Science in Information, Specialization in Human-Computer Interaction

Classical training in interface and interaction design, evaluation of systems and services, information architecture, user experience research and design, practical application of user experience best practices. Specific courses that I took include:

  • Contextual Inquiry and Project Management
  • Database Application Design
  • Design of Complex Websites
  • Evaluation of Systems and Services
  • Fundamentals of Human Behavior
  • Information Architecture
  • Information Visualization
  • Interface and Interaction Design
  • Java Programming
  • Statistics

Dec. '05

University of Michigan College of Literature, Science & the Arts, Ann Arbor
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

Broad undergraduate training in psychology, anthropology, music, humanities and science.  Passion for life-long learning and the development of new skills. Volunteered to be part of doctoral-level research as one of the undergraduate assistants for a Ph.D candidate in the psychology department.  The research paper that came out of that engagement is titled, “Implicit stereotypes and women’s math performance: How implicit gender-math stereotypes influence women’s susceptibility to stereotype threat.”  This is a summary of the research in a Science Daily article dated January of ’07.  Specific courses that I took include:

  • Animal Behavior
  • Biological Anthropology
  • Biological Psychology
  • Chamber Orchestra
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Environment and Behavior (Psychology/Environmental Science)
  • Statistics


UM Life Sciences Institute's Center for Chemical Genomics
Usability Scientist (Intern)

At the Center for Chemical Genomics, my co-intern and myself conducted usability tests to assess the usability of the Center’s M-Screen database. Additionally, we created site maps, conducted a survey, and authored heuristic analyses.

2009 - 2010

University of Michigan Health Sciences Scholars' Program (HSSP)
Web Developer

During the summer in between my first and second years of graduate school, I designed and coded a knowledge repository for the Health Science Scholars’ Program.  Following the internship, the Associate Director hired me to design the entire departmental Web site independently.  The Web site was received very positively.


Jeanette Micallef, Owner, Savage Turtle Photography

"Jessamyn has a gentle, open-minded and kind way about her. She is intelligent and artistic and truly wants to get the job done and get it done right. I had the privilege of interacting with Jess at work, at friendly group lunches and then later as a photography client. You can count on Jess for direct and honest, fact-based communication. She is thorough, pays attention to detail and has high integrity. She is considerate of others and interacts with thoughtfulness. I consider myself fortunate to have met Jess, and to have had the opportunity to work with her."

Scott Beloskur, Sr. IT Strategic Sourcing Analyst at Consumer's Energy

"I have worked with Jessie for 1 year and can say that she has a positive attitude, strong work ethic, is dependable, considerate, and creative at aligning customer needs with a top-notch user experience. Her knowledge and attention to detail with respect to Usability Software Interface Design is solid. She is cheerful and willing to assist with a wide range of assignments to support a holistic team approach. Jessie also works well independently and is motivated and interested in learning new skills."

Dan Klyn, Information Architect, The Understanding Group | UMSI Professor

"I got to know Jessie during the Fall term of 2009 in the context of the Information Architecture course I teach at the University of Michigan School of Information. Actually, what I said is not entirely true - as I recall it, Ms. Smallenburg reached out to me *several months* before the beginning of the class, asking for a reading list and other advice for how to be better prepared for class in the fall. This anecdote speaks to one of Jessamyn's best qualities, which is comprehensiveness. She's a stickler for contextual detail, and takes the initiative to gather these details. I believe that by her nature as well as by her training in HCI, Ms. Smallenburg is loath to jump into solutions without first doing as much exploration of the problem space as time (and now that she's leaving academia, budget) allow. She knew more about the topics and authors and concepts we'd be exploring together that term than anybody else on the first day of class, and once the class got underway she continued in this pattern of working ahead on her own time to ensure that she'd be very, thoroughly prepared. Another noteworthy personality trait I've been able to observe in Ms. Smallenburg and in her work is, surprisingly enough, flexibility. A trait which on the face of it might seem to be at odds with what I observed about her being a stickler for context and a consummate pre-preparer. I was surprised and delighted by the maturity and flexibility that Jessie demonstrated in some small group conflict situations while figuring out how to move forward and complete the assignment. The grace she showed under considerable pressure impressed me. Amazing young UX professional who's got a brilliant future awaiting her. Highly recommended."

Anjana Dogra, Performance Analyst, New World Systems

"Jessie and I worked together at New World Systems, now Tyler Technologies, where she worked as a Usability Engineer. She gave valuable feedback that improved the user experience of the software, and she and I became very good friends. She is smart, creative, detail-oriented, and a wonderful person to work with. I wish her the best and highly recommend her to any project that she takes up."

Contact Information

Featured Skills

Accessible Design

Deep understanding of Section 508 Compliance and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0

Adobe Illustrator

Graphics editing, site mapping

Axure RP Pro Prototyping

Advanced interactive prototyping

Competitive Evaluations

Comparing competitors for business advantage

Contextual Inquiry

Expert/apprentice model, work modeling

Heuristic Evaluations

Expert review, Nielsen heuristics

Information Architecture

Card sorting, iterative prototyping, navigation design, page construction, wireframing

Usability Testing

Writing tasks, conducting user test sessions, using Camtasia for screen recording, generating recommendations

Visual Design Principles

Aesthetics, visual appeal, typography