I have worked in finance, education, social media, health care, events, and other industries, but working for Telmate was surely a different environment from anything I had experienced before in my professional career. Not only were the problems they are trying to solve unique to their industry, but the clientele for their products was distinct from the average user.
Telmate was a telecommunications company in the prison industrial complex looking to reduce recidivism rates amongst the prison population through technological solutions. Their product suite interfaced with the inmates, their friends and family, and law enforcement personnel. The latter group made use of the collected data from our products for ongoing investigations.
I was initially responsible for the creation of a new Android mobile application. It was meant to facilitate a social experience for friends and family of persons incarcerated at facilities. People could post messages and photos to each other via the application. Besides several mobile projects, I also worked on the creation of a new product line for friends and family called GettingOut. I worked on the initial colour scheme, user interface flows, and overall branding.
Although Telmate had had designers in the past, they never had someone dedicated solely to designing and improving the existing products or the creation of new ones. I was the first product design professional hired, and the expectation was for me to hire and build a team of product designers to overhaul the existing product line.
It was also at Telmate, where I participated in the creation of user stories for projects via Scrum, created a program for community outreach where we worked with a youth centre in rural Oregon and learned to negotiate contracts with vendors for development work. I was also instrumental in creating usability studies with people using the company's products. We collected quantitative and qualitative data to understand our users' pain points with the expected goal to make the products better.
While at Telmate, I used industry tools like Sketch, Balsamiq, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Invision. While also getting more into using SQL for querying databases and JIRA for keeping track of the progress of various products. I also started to learn the basics of Machine Learning (ML) via a prototype we created for law enforcement personnel. By combing through data collected from our applications, I was able to put together a series of rules where we constructed a product where law enforcement could see the potential connections amongst people of interest with shared backgrounds and similar experiences.