aaron.steinman@ac4d.com

Student

Aaron Steinman

I’ve lived in Austin, Texas my whole life and have loved watching this city grow. One of the things I love most about Austin is that it is an eclectic mix of people who do eclectic things. I resonate with that because I’m an economist, a musician, a financier, a researcher, and a designer. I’m passionate about creativity and problem solving, no matter what the medium might be.

After graduating from the University of Texas with a degree in Economics, I decided to pursue my passion for music and started a production company. It gave me the unique opportunity to create songs for commercials and indie films. I also received a Masters degree in Finance from UT, which led me to pursue a career in finance on the investment team of an Austin-based investment firm. It was exciting, but activities that made me most happy in my day-to-day were opportunities to work on projects that allowed me to exercise creativity. It was clear that I needed music, art, creativity, and problem solving in my daily life. And so, here we are. I’m excited to be a part of the AC4D program to kick start a career that sits at the intersection of strategy, creativity, art, and problem solving.

I’m your typical, native Austinite. My hobbies are almost as eclectic as the city I call home. When free time permits I love to swim, bike, go on walks, host game nights, meet new people, eat tacos, drink beer, write music, and spend time with my family. Most of all, I love to learn. I currently live in North Austin with my soon-to-be wife Candice and two kittens, Captain Crunch and Buzz Aldrin.

Recent blog posts

Defining Our Vision

We exist to create a world where working students have the option to prioritize school over work because working full-time demands time and focus at the expense of academic success. This is the vision for our Capstone group (Kay, Kim, and myself) and we aim to realize our vision through FundEDU. As a reminder, FundEDU…

Taking Wireframes into Reality

Creating a vision and a visual representation of a screen is a substantially different skill set than the ability to code it into a working prototype. Working with a team is an efficient way to take an app to market; however, teamwork comes with unique challenges. Therefore, designers who are able to communicate with others in their ‘language’ have a distinct…

The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

The first time I heard this phrase was when I was a young adult. I overheard my mother and aunt (her sister) arguing about how I was raised. For background, I am the first born and the two sides of my family had competing ideas as to how I should be brought-up (religiously). My mother said something…

Down-selection, Focus, Reflection

This was a pivotal week for Kim Nguyen, Kay Wyman, and me. We made the executive decision to focus our Capstone efforts on just one idea moving forward. That idea is Me Mentor, a system for creating, tracking, and reflecting on personal goals. The Problem Based on our research with post-traditional students (specifically, students that…

Testing Wireframes, Round 2

As a refresher, we have been testing wireframes using a method called ‘think-aloud testing’ in which participants are asked to complete tasks in our prototype banking app while vocalizing their stream-of-conscious thoughts. Over the last couple of weeks, we added financial modeling functions to help users better budget their money. The new functionality was the focus of…

Think-Aloud Testing Wireframes

Over the last week, I have been testing the banking app wireframes that I wrote about last week. I used a method called ‘think-aloud testing’ in which I asked five participants to complete six identical tasks while vocalizing their stream-of-conscious thoughts. As the facilitator, I observed the users’ actions and reactions, and audio recorded their thoughts in order to…

Banking Wireframe Flows

Over the last week, we’ve been building on our last deliverable which was a site map of a redesigned banking app.  After getting feedback from Chrissy Cowdry, I reorganized my site map to be more easily digestible and less cluttered. Using the site map as a blueprint, I have been creating wireframes to sketch the informational…

Concept Map of a Working-Student

This year’s AC4D capstone project focuses on college persistence for post-traditional students. This week we created concept maps to express the post-traditional student experience. Concept maps are visual tools that show the connections between ideas (or concepts) and are used by practitioners to communicate informational structure. Our group (Kim, Kay, and I) chose to focus on the experience of working-students which we…

Site Mapping – Chase Mobile Banking App

This week we created a site map of one of our personal banking apps. I chose Chase because they have an app that I find intuitive and easy to use. To start, I listed the goals and sub-goals one would have for interacting with the app. These goals came from both personal experience and what…

Insights – APA!

An insight is built by asking “why?” – and answering with incomplete data. Insights should be able to stand on their own and elicit provocation. This was our focus over the last couple weeks – turning themes into insights and delivering the information to Austin Pets Alive!. Christina and I are nervous about presenting this…

Service Slices – APA!

At this stage of our project with Austin Pets Alive!, Christina and I have created visual representations of our design research from the APA! kitten nursery. One of the major takeaways is that selecting valuable sections of the transcripts is key to creating an interesting narrative and identifying points of opportunity within our client’s organization. We went line-by-line through our…

Emergent Themes – APA!

What does it take to get from this – to this? It takes perseverance, cooperation, dedication, patience, long hours, and lots of caffeine. Today Christina and I presented our emergent themes to our client, Austin Pets Alive!. We arrived at these themes through a process called affinity diagramming. Affinity diagramming is a process by which you take…

Poverty, Social Business, and Lasting Impact

Last week I spent a lot of time synthesizing the arguments of Micael Hobbes, Victor Margolin, Emily Pilloton, CK Prahalad, Dean Spears, Roger Martin & Sally Osberg, and Muhammad Yunus as they pertain to poverty. I learned a lot in the process, but more about social- vs. profit-oriented enterprising than poverty itself. I think my…

Design Research with APA!

Over the past month, our group has been engaged with Austin Pets Alive! (APA) in order to use design research (specifically, contextual inquiry) to learn in real-time how employees and volunteers log their activity and communicate to achieve consistent care for the thousands of animals that pass through their programs. APA is a no-kill shelter,…

The Role of Design Research

What role does research play in the design process? Over the last week and a half, we’ve been digesting the writings of 8 authors that have contributed to the discussions surrounding design research, innovation, context, and value. While reading these texts, I’ve been forming an opinion about where these authors would fall on a spectrum between…

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