I’m Ame (sounds like “Amy”). Last month I joined Simply Secure after spending the past eight years at IDEO, a global design and innovation consultancy. While there, I designed consumer technology for entertainment, education, banking, media, business software, mobile/wearables, and home automation. Uniting all my work is Human-Centered Design, a set of practices and research methods that starts with people, studies their needs and preferences, and creates things they want and enjoy.

I was fortunate to work with fantastic teams on projects I was proud of, but over time I began to feel a vague sense of unease about how little power people had to protect their privacy. A catalyst for my thinking more explicitly about about user experience + privacy was watching Mike Monteiro’s Webstock talk on How Designers Destroyed the World, which takes designers to task for the drastic real world consequences of bad design [the privacy settings example starts at 4:40].

Mike Monteiro at Webstock '13: How Designers Destroyed the World, on Vimeo.

In exploring the social and technical barriers to privacy for mass audiences, a common thread has been the need for design. And by design I don’t mean decoration – I mean research and implementation that makes things work for people. By the time I saw the announcement for Simply Secure on Boing Boing, I knew that I wanted to work on design for privacy and security. Simply Secure is founded on the idea that people shouldn’t have to choose between communication tools they like and tools that are secure, and that design and user research can play a role in eliminating the need to choose. That founding principle is what I practice, and why I’m here.

At Simply Secure, I’ll be building a culture of design to address the challenges of privacy and security. That means working directly on the user experience (UX) of tools providing secure communication, as well as connecting to the community of people working on privacy and security around design. Everyone should be able to communicate privately and securely, and it will take collaboration by people of different backgrounds to make that a reality. So if design is unfamiliar, stay tuned. I’ll be sharing my passion and showing how design can make secure communication accessible.