When Jess Klein joined Bocoup in 2015, we were ecstatic to have landed a designer of her caliber. Though today we share the sad news that she’s moving on, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate her many accomplishments, and the ways in which Jess improved her craft (and Bocoup) in the process.
Almost right away, Jess got to work making design a “team sport” at Bocoup – she used her community building skills to encourage sharing and input, and to foster better feedback during design critiques, code reviews, and project retrospectives. We experienced the value of this directly as she brought some much needed design perspective and leadership to our ongoing Bocoup.com redesign. She did all this while balancing an impressive slate of client work for clients such as JSI. Even today, they use the tools she built 3 years ago to improve patient experiences at family clinics.
Jess saw an opportunity to advance the ideals of Open Design, and to improve collaboration for remote design teams. With a true user-centered design mind-set, Jess explored, tested, and refined many ideas and methods on her fellow Bocoupers before successfully implementing them with clients. You may even have one of these tools idling in your slack channels now: Pombot was born out of design collaboration and critique experiments Jess led with her willing teammates. The fruits of that iteration can now be seen in the ripening Open Design Kit community, which we are pleased to see in her capable hands.
Of Jess, one thing is certain: she is a natural-born activist and educator. She always looked for ways to put her skills and tools to work for social benefit, and to teach others to do the same through Open Design workshops and tutorials. While we celebrate her for these traits, it was perhaps more meaningful to see the Obama Administration do so in 2016 in naming her a Champion of Change in Civic Hacking and Open Government.
Jess’s two years at Bocoup went by extremely fast. Working with her was always fun and productive: she approached everything she did at Bocoup with a sense of focused playfulness and curiosity, and inspired the same in her co-workers. While we’re sad to see Jess go, we’re happy we can continue to collaborate with her on the open web.