About Sam

Sam Howes

Think Research - 2015 to Present

At Think Research, I work together with cross-functional teams to solve problems in the Health Care space. I work together on a daily basis with Product Managers, Product Owners, Designers, and Developers on a number of the products in Think Research's collection of Health Care products.

I conduct research, validation and design for one of our core internal products, Form Designer. Form Designer is a WYSYWIG form building tool used internally by our Document Development teams to customize fillable forms used in client facing products like Order Sets, eForms and Progress Notes.

I have a passion for web accessibility, which I have applied in both active code development and design. Through education and research, I have created accessibility guidelines and checklists for our teams to follow when designing and developing products. In addition, I have led multiple training sessions for different teams to educate teammates about design and development for accessibility and the benefits of accessibility considerations for overall usability. Included in these initiatives were recommendations for automated toolsets for evaluating code accessibility (linting).

Together with the UXUI team, I also contribute to research and design for Virtual Care. Virtual Care is an application designed for responsive web and native mobile, to enable healthcare providers to host virtual visits with patients over secure video, audio or chat. As part of my work on the Virtual Care product, I spearheaded the use of a design system and a style guide that the entire team could use to facilitate consistent design and development. I also worked closely with the team as an Accessibility expert, to ensure that all designs met the WCAG 2.0 Accessibility AA standard for the web application. I am continuously working with the development teams on development efforts to improve accessibility for screen readers and assistive devices.

In addition to these projects, I'm actively involved with our design and development teams to improve the end-to-end product design process company-wide. Working closely with UXUI and development teams, I've continuously worked to understand team pain points and to identify opportunities to collaborate more closely and effectively with each other. Our focus is both on improving and optimizing design processes, design handoff, and development strategies.  The aim is to reduce instances of individual roles working in a silo before handing off work to the next team to continue working on a product or feature and identify opportunities to increase communication across the floor.

First Reference Inc. - 2008 to 2015

At First Reference, I worked on a small team and wore many hats. I was able to direct the design and marketing efforts and gain a breadth of knowledge and experience in marketing, graphic design and web development. 

Weekly tasks included creating ads for print and web, and designing and implementing email marketing campaigns together with the marketing manager. In addition to this, I worked together with an in-house programmer to redesign and assist in programming the company website. 

As part of my marketing duties, I provided daily maintenance of company social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, and two company blogs as well as regular website maintenance and programming. In addition, I supported the publishing department by designing and adding accessibility tagging of multiple 50-100 page guides and whitepapers available in both print and digital formats. 

Freelance - Ongoing

In the past, I have worked with non-profit organizations, independent small businesses, and large companies like TJX on branding, logos, websites and printed marketing materials. 

I worked for the Bronze Frog Gallery to set up a Shopify online retail store for this large Canadian upscale giftware company. This implementation included setting up the Shopify store, adding client-supplied content to informative pages, and adding photos and descriptions to hundreds of products available for online sale. As part of this project, I had the opportunity to learn Shopify's programming language, Liquid, which I used to customize the website and optimize it for use on the mobile web.

More recently, I have been working with Eminence Entertainment to maintain and update the their entertainment services based website. I collaborate with Eminence team members to continuously update their Wordpress website content, integrate third party applications and maintain their CMS. As part of this project, I optimized their existing template for responsive web and mobile viewing by adding custom CSS code to their Wordpress theme.

My most recent freelance project includes working with Tesoro Beauty to help get their online store up and running to help this small business succeed during COVID-19 closures.

Full CV available on request