noah.ratzan@ac4d.com

Student

Noah Ratzan

I am an insatiably curious learner, observer, and problem-solver, and I’m passionate about the intersection of creativity, people, and design to create positive social change.

After graduating from McGill University, I pursued a career in education and worked as a school teacher, a non-profit program manager, and finally as a director for a non-profit, the Connecticut Pre-Engineering Program. After eight years in education, I am now shifting to a career in user-centered design where I can better leverage my love of design, strategic thinking, and problem-solving to create better and more effective products and services in the social sphere.

I’m excited for the rigorous, hands-on, and socially-oriented program at Austin Center for Design as well as the warmth, culture and community of Austin, Texas. Outside of work, I enjoy adventures with friends and family, cooking, learning new languages, travel, music, and exploring new cultures.

Recent blog posts

Wells Fargo Redesign – Product Strategy & Feature Brief

How do you sell features? You don’t. You sell vision and value. I started the development of my Wells Fargo redesign six months ago. During that time, I created many screens and flows that correlate to tasks. At this point however, it’s time to communicate this work to the c-suite at the company where I…

Housing Assist Update

In the last blog post update, I mentioned that I am developing the details of the Housing Assist online application. The big task was to create the initial intake in its entirety. By last week, I had an outline of the initial intake, and in this past week I developed and did usability testing of…

What limits can we Imagine? It depends on how you think about it.

  What limits what we can imagine? Imagination is essential for design. The very heart of design thinking lies in our ability to think divergently and move beyond the boundaries of the given set of assumptions to allow our work to be informed by the unimagined. As designers, our ability to solve a problem or…

Update for Housing Assist

Last week’s focus for Housing Assist was focused on developing the high level vision for the project. You can read more about that work  in this blog post. This week, I shifted gears and worked on mapping out what to prioritize in the last few weeks and also started on the biggest task remaining – creating all the…

The roadmap is not the territory… but it sure is helpful.

When you estimate that it will take the better part of a year and most likely hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop an app, where do you even start to break ground? In the fall, I redesigned the Wells Fargo app with rapid prototyping and ideation. This quarter, we picked our bank app redesign…

Crafting a Vision of Housing Assist

Though there are almost a dozen service providers, one of the big challenges for homeowners is to actually apply for assistance. The variety of providers and the complex and demanding application forms can lead to residents giving up or getting less help than they are eligible for. To better help residents,  I’m developing a concept…

The Power of Design

“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” Martin Luther King Jr. Love and power – they’re at the center of most everything we do.…

Making progress with Housing Assist

A lot has been happening with the development of Housing Assist, and working with organizations like Meals on Wheels of Central Texas, a leader in the area for home services, we’ve made a great deal of progress! The focus for the last few weeks has been on developing the business concept and way that residents…

Shifting from Design to Product Management & Development

“Put on your thinking cap!” Do you remember your elementary teacher saying that? I used to think it was a quaint thing to say, but there’s a lot of power behind the symbolism of the thinking cap. Over the last two weeks, I put on new thinking caps – the developer and product manager’s thinking…

The Power & Perils of Doing Good

– “The Great Rain” A story where doing good and doing business got all mixed up.     The following is a transcript from a radio segment recorded and aired 3/15/2018. AC4D FM. All rights reserved. Theater Critic, Georgia Davis. Georgia Davis: Sex doesn’t sell. Emotions do. Truly, emotions rule the world.   Welcome to…

Housing Assist

These last two weeks have been a journey indeed. Here’s the story. Reset I began this quarter with a project I called Soul of the City. The gist of it was to create more understanding and empathy in the city through amplifying stories of the individuals who inhabit it. Though I loved the idea in the abstract,…

Testing the Podcast Process

This last week has been enlightening as we’ve tested new aspects of our idea’s likelihood to succeed in the market. It’s been similar to a plane in the blue sky landing on the hard tarmac – I’m relieved to be on firm ground, but part of me misses the view and floating in the air. This is where the…

Soul of the City – ATX

Welcome back to the Studio. This blog post is a continuation in a series that tell the story of our Studio class project. We are working together with the City of Austin to develop solutions to improve civic engagement in Austin. For more details, read my last post on the civic engagement project. Recap This past…

Reconnecting the City

Phase 1: Research & Synthesis Last quarter, our cohort partnered with the City of Austin to improve civic engagement for the city’s residents. We interviewed fifty-two residents to better understand the state of civic engagement in Austin over those eight-weeks, and now we are leveraging that research to create solutions that will improve lives for residents…

Redesigning for a Product Acquisition

Congratulations! Your banking company just acquired a financial modeling company, and now it’s necessary to integrate their products’ capabilities into your banking company’s mobile app! This is the message our instructor, Jon Kolko, presented to us last week. It was a surprise feature change, and it’s not uncommon in industry to hear such news. With…

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