About Me

I am Austin Balken, a Minneapolis, MN based UX/I Designer

I was born and raised in Colorado, but now live with my wife in Minneapolis, MN. I am a detailed and organized person who delights in efficiency. My hobbies usually include some type of organization as a way of winding down while feeling productive. I peruse the App Store on my iPhone and Mac regularly in order to try out new productivity tools. I use zip ties to organize as many things as possible. Some of my favorite things are summer and humidity, coffee and chocolate, technology and exploration.

I was born and raised in Colorado, but now live with my wife in Minneapolis, MN. I am a detailed and organized person who delights in efficiency. My hobbies usually include some type of organization as a way of winding down while feeling productive. I peruse the App Store on my iPhone and Mac regularly in order to try out new productivity tools. I use zip ties to organize as many things as possible. Some of my favorite things are summer and humidity, coffee and chocolate, technology and exploration.

I began to appreciate the Apple ecosystem many years ago because of their excellently built hardware, intelligent software, and intuitive user experiences. Through using these products and observing how Apple designs their digital experiences my love for digital technology has increased. The last four years working in an Apple retail store have been a highpoint of my employment history.

From 2014–2018 I attended Bethlehem College and Seminary. These four years were very difficult but extremely rewarding. I obtained a BA in Biblical and Theological Studies, which included reading thousands of pages, writing many essays, and learning to read Koine Greek and Hebrew. I am so grateful for my education and view the world differently because of it. I love to read and discuss theology.

My love of theology and technology intersect in user experience design. This intersection is most obvious when well-designed user experiences make right theology more accessible in a clear and meaningful way. Whether making theology accessible or not, however, human centered design is definitely my passion. I care about understanding users better and designing products to make their work easier and more meaningful.

Each place I have worked since high school has played an important part in my development and growth. Be it waiting tables at various restaurants, numerous customer management roles, or years of remote work overseeing fiber optic cable installation, I am who I am because of the teams, coworkers, and opportunities each job has provided.

ABUXD — Freelance UX/UI Design

February 2019 – Present

While I look for my next UX/UI role, I currently spend my time designing freelance, working in partnership with a developer. I am designing three websites, two portfolios and one for a client starting a small business.

Portfolio Websites:
These projects require less strategy and UX thought than an app or full website does, but concern for the user still drives each design. Both projects are single page sites. They involve branding and business card design as well.
Lin’Doula Website:
This project is a multi-page website designed to market Linda’s doula business and to provide site visitors with an understanding of the services Linda offers. The project includes the ongoing updating and maintenance of the website to keep the content and design current.

Apple — Specialist

September 2014 – Present

Apple has given me many opportunities to grow personally and professionally. My career has been marked by continuous engagement with diverse teams of various sizes and consistent striving to impact my workspaces with my love for organization and communication.

Learn about Apple

Prime Digital Academy — UX Design Student

September 2018 – February 2019

In this immersive bootcamp my UX skills were developed and strengthened by skilled instructors and through real client projects. Prime continues to produce valuable designers and developers to strengthen the tech community in the MSP area and beyond.

Self-Defined Project: ReadMore Desktop App — December 13, 2018 – January 14, 2018
In order to address challenges users face managing, sharing, and reading their digital books, I designed the ReadMore Desktop App. This app provides users with digital book consolidation, sharing, and accessibility features. The project required heavy research and design.
Group Project: Structural — January 15, 2019 – February 7, 2019
Our team worked for Structural, a Saint Paul startup, to increase data visualizations within their existing software. This project included research, strategy, and design to create and present excellent user-driven features.

Learn about Prime Digital Academy

Vantage Point Solutions — Inspector, Resident Project Inspector

May 2012 – December 2016

Working with Vantage Point Solutions afforded me the opportunity to manage a large fiber installation project, oversee construction teams, and maintain numerous reports, all the while reporting back weekly progress to the Vantage Point office two states away. This role reinforced my communication and writing skills, and gave me the opportunity to exhibit daily teamwork to the completion of the project.

Learn about Vantage Point Solutions

Prime Digital Academy

User Experience Design Certification — February 2019

Learn about Prime Digital Academy

Bethlehem College & Seminary

BA in Biblical and Theological Studies — May 2018

Learn about Bethlehem College and Seminary

Southeast Technical Institute

Courses toward a degree in Computer Science — August 2011 – May 2012

Learn about Southeast Technical Institute

UX

World Usability Day — 2018

Learn about World Usability Day

UXPA Member — Since 2019

Learn about UXPA MN

Other

TGC (The Gospel Coalition) Conference
Stage Management — 2015 – Present

Learn about The Gospel Coalition

Bethlehem Conference for Pastors
Stage Management — 2015 – Present

Learn about the Bethlehem Conference for Pastors

UX Methods

Contextual inquiry
Heuristic evaluation
Information architecture
Personas
Prototyping
Research
Storyboards
User journey maps
Usability testing
User interviews
Wireframing

UX Tools

Adobe XD
Axure
InVision
Lookback
Procreate
Silverback
Sketch

Design

Adobe Photoshop
Pixelmator Pro

Coding

Atom
Webflow

Miscellaneous

Airtable
Keynote / PowerPoint
Numbers / Excel
Pages / Word
Squarespace
Outlook
Clear communication
Teamwork experience
Solo work experience
Time management
Problem solving
Apple software / hardware
Multitasking
Thrive with deadlines
Drive for efficiency
Adaptable
Relational
Detailed
Articulate & clear
Positive
Joyful
Timely
Quick learner
Eager to be challenged
Engaged

Employment and Education History

with some key roles and skills acquired

Personality Profiles

Strengths:

   CONNECTEDNESS
People exceptionally talented in the Connectedness theme have faith in the links among all things. They believe there are few coincidences and that almost every event has meaning.
   CONTEXT
People exceptionally talented in the Context theme enjoy thinking about the past. They understand the present by researching its history.
   DISCIPLINE
People exceptionally talented in the Discipline theme enjoy routine and structure. Their world is best described by the order they create.
   POSITIVITY
People exceptionally talented in the Positivity theme have contagious enthusiasm. They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are going to do.
   EMPATHY
People exceptionally talented in the Empathy theme can sense other people's feelings by imagining themselves in others' lives or situations.

What do I bring to a team?

Listening
Stability
Intentionality
Understanding
Order
Structure
Diligence
Precision
Encouragement
Lightheartedness
Enthusiasm
Energy
Optimism

Learn more about Connectedness

Learn more about Context

Learn more about Discipline

Learn more about Positivity

Learn more about Empathy

*All information and images here are from Gallup Inc.

Enneagram Type:

   7 — THE ENTHUSIAST
The busy, variety-seeking type: spontaneous, versatile, acquisitive, and scattered.

What do I bring to a team?

Curiosity
Optimism
Nerviness
Practicality
Engagement
Anticipation (Foresee events and generate "ideas on the fly")
Brainstorming
Synthesizing information
Fast learning
Versatility
Multitasking (Maintain a variety of projects at once)

Learn more about the "Enthusiast" personality type

*All information and images here are from The Enneagram Institute®.

Myers-Briggs Type:

   ISFJ — DEFENDER
Very dedicated and warm protectors, always ready to defend their loved ones.

What do I bring to a team?

Well-rounded experience
Altruism
Attentive to the details
Diligent work ethic
Attentivness to others
Practicality
Flexibility
Patience
Enthusiasim
Observation
Support

Learn more about the "Defender" personality type

*All information and images here are from 16 Personalities.

Superpowers:

   ENERGY
I bring a burst of force to work with enthusiasm and vitality.
   CULTURAL COMPASS
I help others remember who they are at their best and provide encouragement.
   NEGOTATION
I am skilled at compromise and can artfully bargain on behalf of others.

What do I bring to a team?

Enthusiasm
Positivity
Alertness
Sensitivity
Tact

*All information and images here are from SYPartners, LLC.

DISC Profile:

   THE ENTHUSIAST
Enthusiasts have a strong self-motivation to get to know people in all walks of life and to nurture those relationships.

Dominance
Enthusiasts are easy-going and congenial.
Influence
Enthusiasts are interested in meeting and being with people.
Steadiness
Enthusiasts get restless and bored when involved in repetitive, non-people related work and activities.
Compliance
Enthusiasts are receptive to change.

What do I bring to a team?

Motivation
Enthusiasm
Relational growth
Socialability
Persuassion
Optimism
Generosity
Eagerness

Learn more about the "Enthusiast" personality type

*All information and images here are from 123test.com.