Alum UX designers share

UX designers Michele L’Heureux ’88 and Boon Sheridan ’94 visited campus in person and virtually on Sept. 26, 2023, for World Interaction Design Day. (Photos by Keith Nordstrom)

Michele L’Heureux ’88 and Boon Sheridan ’94, share career experiences with students

Michele L’Heureux ’88 and Boon Sheridan ’94, user experience (UX) designers, spend their days thinking about how audiences interact with websites and creating ways to make those encounters easy to navigate.

On Sept. 26, 2023, they visited campus in person and virtually for World Interaction Design Day, an annual global event that celebrates the benefits of interaction design and the connections made. The two alums shared their current design work with students in Ellison Lecture Hall, at the invitation of Professor of the Practice of Design Tania Schlatter.

Sheridan, who majored in English literature at Wheaton, is a UX researcher and designer for 18F, which partners with federal, state and local agencies to improve the experience of users accessing government services.

Michele L’Heureux’88 with Professor of the Practice of Design Tania Schlatter and Boon Sheridan ’94

L’Heureux, who majored in studio art, is a staff product designer at Chewy, which specializes in pet supplies. With more than 10 years of experience in the UX field, she said that her Wheaton education has contributed to her ongoing success.

“I was able to study a lot of different things at Wheaton, from painting and printmaking to Russian, ethics and creative writing. I was also an activist and an athlete, which provided additional avenues for learning and growth,” L’Heureux said. “Wheaton was a terrific laboratory for my curiosity and experimentation, and it fostered in me a sense of confidence in my ability to solve problems, to take things apart and put them back together in new ways. These qualities and skills have served me well in seeking out career pathways, educational opportunities and ways of engaging with the world that align with my interests and values.”

During the presentation to students, L’Heureux and Sheridan offered very helpful information, said Schlatter, who asked her students from her fall class, “Design Methodologies and Designing Interactions,” to attend the talk.

“Michele’s examples of everyday work and descriptions of decisions she is responsible for helps students picture some aspects of software-based design work. She mentioned design systems and how systems define some aspects of a design while relying on criteria that has already been established, such as button style and behavior. This speeds up work and enables consistent products,” Schlatter said.

“Boon’s comments early in his talk about how titles for design work shift and that software used shifts highlights that key design skills are foundational,” Schlatter added.

“It was also great to have two alumni who are seasoned practitioners but who work in such different areas. …  It’s nice to have that contrast to help illustrate part of the range of what’s possible for professional design work now,” she said.

Annie d’Arbeloff ’24, an independent major in creative marketing, enjoyed attending the presentation. “I learned about a part of design that I didn’t realize was so important and it made me understand the process of design more,” she said. “It helped me understand design methodologies more and real-world tasks that designers are given.”