IA Design & Usability: Steven Heitman, Sr. User/Design Researcher, Information Architect, User Experience Designer, Project/Product Manager, Mentor, Usability Expert/Testing, Director

Sr. User/Design Researcher / Information Architect Specialist

User Experience Designer


Professional Qualifications

Graduate Degree
Graduate College of Education
Instructional Technologies (IA) *

Master of Arts Education 
IA Certifications
Certifications of Approval and Abstracts
Certificate (Completion of Program and Graduation)
4-Year Program, Combined University Programs/Degrees

User/Design Research (UX), Information Architecture (IA),
   Usability Testing, User-Centered Design,
   User Experience Design (UXD), Project/Product Management

* MAEd / MAIA—Two graduate-level dissertations about:

   User/Design Research (UX), Information Architecture (IA),
   User Experience Design (UXD), Interaction Design (IXD),
   Navigation Systems Design (NS), User-Centered Design,
   Project/Product Management, Corporate Training,
   Instructional Design, Cognitive Psychology, Usability Testing—
   IA Certifications; Certifications of Approval and Abstracts

MAEd Deliverables

All of these components and deliverables are totally relevant to my current career path for doing user/design research, coupled with information architecture, user experience design, user-centered design, usability testing, technical writing, editing, document design, English, business English, grammar, corporate training, instructional design, ADDIE Model, IA Model, NS Model, design patterns, marketing, project/product management—all relevant skills for being a successful and intelligent director.

The extensive and robust MAEd dissertation and university program included doing:

User/Design Research, Written Thesis Report, Presentations, Annotated Bibliography, Glossary, Syllabus, and Online IA Tutorial; about information architecture, navigation systems design, interaction design, extended into user experience design, mapping and diagramming, project/product management, and usability testing—a systematic and professional approach on IA/UXD projects.

Relevant professional portfolios were successfully completed, including an information architect and project/product management internships, supervised by Dr. Foreman, Ph.D. (Dr. Beatty, Ph.D., was my main professor for 4 years and worked with me on the MAEd dissertation for 2 semesters, including Dr. Hyun, Ph.D.)—in a high-tech environment.

 Information Architecture is the structure of user-centered design and usability—it has to be strong. 

MAEd Contributors

Dr. Hyun, Ph.D., Harvard University, assisted with relevant research parameters for the MAEd dissertation (additional research was used from the MAIA dissertation)—specific to and highly specialized for doing real-world projects, relevant to the IA/UXD industry, and leadership acumen appropriately implemented in professional environments, including Dr. Iandoli, Ed.D., Harvard University, Professor for School of Design Graduate Program (BAIA, MAIA programs; user/design research contributed to the MAEd Program).

Other contributing Professors were:

Dr. Beatty, Ph.D.
Dr. Michaels, Ph.D.
Dr. Hemphill, Ed.D.
Dr. Foreman, Ph.D.
Dr. Cheng, Ph.D.
Dr. Gates, Ed.D.
Dr. Dierke, Ed.D.

MAEd Additional Requirements

Five additional industry reviewers were required—for approval—for the MAEd thesis report and project, to name a few:

Mr. Crumlish, A.B., Director of Technology, Senior Information Architect, User Experience Designer, The Information Architecture Institute.

Ms. Buda, M.D., Director of User Experience, Senior Information Architect, Managing Director, Navigation Arts, as part of the MAEd program, including editors.

Interdisciplinary University Programs

Information Architecture & Design

Primary Major/Emphasis:

User/Design Research (UX), Information Architecture (IA), Navigation Systems Design (NS), User Experience Design (UXD), Structuring & Organizing Web-Based Information, Mobile User Experience, Interaction Design (IXD), User-Centered Design, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Human Factors, Visual & Web-Based Designs, Intranet Information Architecture, Designing Complex Applications & Websites, Interface Design, Social Media, Web 2.0, Computer/Web Programming, HTML5/CSS3, Usability Engineering, Usability Testing, Card Sorting, Usability in Practice, Guidelines for Web Usability, Usability Reports/Case Studies, Website Design & Management, and Project/Product Management; internships successfully completed.

MAEd Other Concentration

Corporate Training

Secondary Major/Emphasis:

Instructional Design, E-Learning, ADDIE Model (Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, Evaluate), Technical & Professional Writing, Editing, Document Design, Adobe Creative Suite (design premium), Systematic Design of Instruction, Psychology of Learning for Instruction: Theories of Learning & Instruction, Learning & Behavior, Learning & Cognition, Meaningful Learning & Schema Theory, Situated Cognition, Learning & Development, Interactional Theories of Cognitive Development, Biological Bases of Learning & Memory, Learning & Motivation, Gagné’s Theory of Instruction, Constructivism, Personal Theory of Learning & Instruction, Bloom, Piaget, Vygotsky, Gagné, and Cognitive Psychology.

MAEd Field Study Requirement

In order to complete the field study, students must design, develop, and produce an instructional design project, using the instructional systems process (ADDIE model), from needs analysis to formative evaluation. The instructional unit may be in any medium—print, video, multimedia, or Web-based.

The instructional design process must be described in writing and include a review of the instructional need and significance of the project, research review, description of the design process, formative evaluation (usability testing), and conclusions. Students must provide a CD-ROM which contains the instructional unit and the design documents.

MAEd Culminating Experience

Portfolio Submission: Before undertaking a culminating experience, students must submit, for departmental review and approval, a portfolio of three instructional projects that demonstrate their technical skill and instructional design competencies.

MAEd Program

San Francisco State University
Graduate College of Education
Department of Instructional Technologies

MAEd Program Selective Process

Entrance into the ITEC program is a selective and competitive process.

MAEd Graduate College of Education Core Values

Life of the Mind

MAEd Professional Business Career Outlook

User/Design Researcher
Information Architect
User Experience Architect
User Experience Designer
Navigation Systems Designer
User-Centered Designer
Product Designer
Product Prototyper
Research Technician
Corporate Trainer
Instructional Designer
Technical Writer
Quality Control
Mid to Upper Management
Project/Product Management
Product Development
Field Service
Technical Services
Job Development Training
Production Coordinator
Computer/Web Programming
Usability Tester
Information Technology

MAEd Graduate-Level Dissertation

An Online Tutorial for Instructional Designer
to Learn about Information Architecture            The IA Model

759 pp.
60 pp. (HTML & Paper-Based/Oral Presentations)

Annotated Bibliography
Online IA Tutorial

User/Design Research
Design Patterns
User-Centered Design
Usability Testing
Curriculum specific to Information Architecture & Design

MAEd Program—Curriculum

 The curriculum covers cognitive and learning theories, needs assessment, instructional design models and strategies, visual and web-based designs, information architecture, usability testing, knowledge and performance assessment, and project management. 

Portfolios Required

After CCSF, I went to SFSU for my major in informaiton architecture and design.

MAEd Focus

The TPW Cert. and MAEd graduate programs are interdisciplinary courses in Information Architecture & Design; User/Design Research; Corporate Training & Instructional Design; Technical & Professional Writing (even though this program is an undergraduate program, I was in grad school when I did it).

I specialized in doing: User/design research, concept generation, wire frame mockups, information architecture, interaction design, user experience design, project/product management, prototyping, and usability testing.

MAEd Unique Major

These programs provided my own unique major in: User/design research, information architecture and design, interaction design, interface design, conceptual and user-centered design—practical application of user-centered design principles on projects—technical and professional writing, as well as user experience design, user-centered design, usability testing, Website design, and management—excellent team leadership skills.

My previous design education, degrees, certificates, professional work experience, and expertise paved the way to these majors. I am an information architect and user experience designer and user/design researcher.

Steven Heitman, Sr. Information Architect (IA) Specialist, User Experience Designer, Project/Product Manager

Steven Heitman
Sr. User/Design Researcher
Information Architect
User Experience Designer
Interaction Designer
User-Centered Designer
Usability Tester
Project/Product Manager

MAEd Program Details

About MAEd Program.pdf
IA/UXD Professional Qualifications.pdf
IA/UXD Focus for MAEd Program.pdf
IA/UXD Textbooks & Learning Materials.pdf
Psychology of Learning for Instruction.pdf
The Systematic Design of Instruction.pdf
How to Design and Evaluate Research.pdf
Letters of Recommendations—Testimonials

MAEd Campus

San Francisco State University (SFSU) campus viewed from high up in the sky.

MAEd program at San Francisco State University

The Graduate College of Education (GCOE) prepares reflective researchers and user/design researchers (the program is geared for the individualized and specific needs of the researcher), information architects and designers, user experience designers, usability testers, transformative educators, clinicians, leaders and scholars/researchers—who advance the professions within education, and at corporations.

Our graduates deliver education programs across the life span, demonstrating excellence in the art and science of teaching and learning, research on critical issues in research and design, user-centered design, corporate training and instructional design, education and communicative disorders, integration of new technologies and commitment to equity, and social justice.

Professional preparation programs are designed to meet global challenges, through authentic learning experiences in academic and clinical environments that are guided by our commitment to inclusiveness, integrity, community, social action, and evidence-based research/practice.

MAEd program at San Francisco State University

The Instructional Technologies (ITEC) graduate program is housed at Frederic Burk Hall and many other locations on campus.

MAEd program at San Francisco State University

MAEd program at San Francisco State University

The MAEd program at San Francisco State University provided great courses—very specific to-the-point-relevant curricula—for doing:

User/design research, information architecture, user experience design, interface design, user-centered design, social media, usability testing, and management. I enjoyed doing all my projects and working with many excellent Professors.

San Francisco State University

MAEd Research Professor

Introduction about Dr. Helen Hyun, Harvard University,
Educational Leadership Doctoral Program Faculty SFSU

Dr. Hyun (Ph.D., Harvard University), Dr. Foreman (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison), Dr. Beatty (Ph.D., Indiana University), and Dr. Michaels (Ph.D., Indiana University; previous Department Chair Instructional Technologies at San Francisco State University), assisted me in setting up the research and parameters for the MAEd dissertation on Information Architecture and The IA Model, a systematic, professional approach for doing:
  1. Design Research,
  2. Concept Generation,
  3. User Scenarios,
  4. Wire Frame Mockups,
  5. Prototyping,
  6. Usability Testing,
  7. Implementation, and
  8. System Testing.
It includes relevant topics and systematic application of:

User/design research, case studies, human factors, human-computer interaction, concept generation, information architecture, navigation systems design, user experience design (research extended into specific subject matter, including “best practices”), wire frame mockups, user scenarios, personas, interface design, rapid prototyping, social media, usability testing, implementation, computer/Web programming, Adobe Creative Suite (design premium), Dreamweaver, Web design, and project/product management projects (derived from real-world projects and hands-on experience). In addition, researched data from Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines was taken into consideration—incorporated into the conclusions and findings of the MAEd dissertation.

MAEd Research

Dr. Hyun’s (Ph.D., Harvard University) message about research and the MAEd program; how she supports learners in doing unique IA/UXD research, becoming transformational leaders and true leadership skills; modeling “best practices” and a professional systematic approach used on real-world IA/UXD projects—“practitioner-based research”—user/design research, ADDIE model, instructional design, and corporate training projects:

I am very grateful to her for all her assistance on helping me to set up the parameters for my MAEd dissertation research proposal and report (759 pp.). She was also very apt at understanding the specialized nature of the IA/UXD research and professional application.

MAEd IA Curriculum

Because information architecture and user/research design are part of the curriculum for the MAEd Instructional Technologies (ITEC) program, she extended herself to provide additional assistance to me for a specialized dissertation report on information architecture, user-centered design, usability testing, extending into user experience design, project/product management, and IA/UXD deliverables.

about information architecture org

The specialized curriculum also included:  Cognitive and learning theories, needs assessment, instructional design models and strategies, visual and web-based designs, usability testing, knowledge and performance assessment, project management,  extending into user experience design, interface design, navigation systems design, corporate training, curriculum development, Adobe Creative Suite (design premium), graphic design, technical writing, and product management.

She also encouraged me to continue on with my research about information architecture, user experience design, user experience architecture, interaction design, and design, including IA/UXD deliverables (wire frames, user scenarios, personas, user-centered design, use case scenarios, wayfinding, card sorting, taxonomy, task analysis, mapping/diagramming, usability and application, usability testing; the importance of mentoring information architects and user experience designers, and project/product management leadership skills)—how a systematic approach promotes higher-quality projects and true leadership acumen.

While this program prepared me to successfully move forward into a Ph.D. program, the program was so extensive that it could be considered equivalent to a Ph.D., since a previous grad degree was completed.

MAEd User-Centered Design

I think the topical application of usability testing and information architecture—as it relates to (user/design research) user experience design and its systematic application—are to ameliorate the lack of built-in affordances, lack of superior interaction design and use case scenarios, lack of excellent wayfinding online, and a lack of intelligent sense-making on Websites and apps. Humans have to use all of these products.

That is why user-centered design is more about high usability standards and implementing user-centered principles into products and important to the overall success of Websites, seamless e-commerce transactions, and using Websites effortlessly for transactions.

The more we do this makes these products way more usable for end users. While it is always important to ponder business requirements, researched data tells us that the better online products are designed—then the easier it is for end users to wayfind in cyberspace.

There is no lack of information architecture, when the required organization and structured data online work harmoniously together. The information architect-research experience design practitioner should be most dedicated to enhanced user-centered design. Of course, this includes designing a superior interface design, including navigation systems designed well that work right for navigating successfully. In the long run, this helps everyone. Performance levels are significantly higher!

MAEd Letter of Recommendation

 Steven [ Heitman ] has all of the necessary skills to work professionally as an information architect, interaction designer, project manager, technical writer, graphic designer, art director, instructional designer, teacher, or in any related field. Steven has strong analytical and reasoning skills far above the average students I have worked with over the years in my teaching career.

I can provide you with an excellent and high recommendation for Steven because he is an asset to any company he works for in a job. …a successful information architect, project manager, technical writer, instructional designer or in other positions at any company. His work for me included research, technical writing, creating blueprints, and communicating his information architectural concepts. Steven’s oral and written communication skills are above average—especially his ability to formulate and analyze complex materials for information architecture, interaction design, or related fields. Since his achievements are tremendous and above average, I absolutely recommend Steven without any reservation for any position given his skills (full-time position or any internship). To discuss his qualifications, please call me at my office…. 
Dr. Quita, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
San Francisco State University

MAEd LinkedIn Endorsement

“ Steven [ Heitman ] has made a serious, thorough study of Information Architecture, experience design, and usability. He applies his past experience in related fields intelligently and has worked hard to develop his expertise in his chosen field. As Steven’s mentor through the IA Institute, I have been impressed by his dedication and tireless efforts to improve and grow as a designer of user experiences. 
Mr. Crumlish, A.B.
Director of Technology
The Information Architecture Institute

MAEd Review Endorsement

 Great stuff! 
Ms. Buda, M.D.
Director of User Experience
Managing Director
Navigation Arts

MAEd LinkedIn Endorsement

 Steven [ Heitman ] is an expert researcher, user experience designer, information architect, and navigation systems designer. His skills extend largely and deeply into information architecture, navigation systems design, usability testing, user-centered design principles and application, mentoring, managing, and effectively directing. Being naturally a self-starter and able to work without supervision, he gets projects done without a problem. Steven is able to build and lead teams, successfully envision successful design solutions, deploy excellent design-architect strategies that encompass various phases of design research, efficient prototyping (paper based or using Axure), HTML5/CSS3 coding, insightful leadership skills, including significant usability testing application and expertise. Steven’s undergraduate-level and graduate-level degrees in information architecture, user experience design, management has indeed completely prepared him for specific work in his chosen industry. His many years of design research in information architecture, user-centered design experience, and original design research are an asset to any potential employer. Because he is an expert with an excellent track record, he will go far in his chosen career path as an information architect, user experience designer, and director of user experiences. 
Mr. Hule, B.A. (Mathematics & Computer Science)
Lead Software Quality Assurance Analyst at FindLaw/Thomson Reuters

MAEd Letter of Recommendation

 Steven [ Heitman ] left no doubt regarding his information architect, user experience designer, mentor, director, expertise and skills. I would recommend him for employment opportunities in his chosen field—an expert information architect and director. 
Ms. Vergossen, B.A.Sc.
Inhaberin bei familymeetsstudent UG (haftungsbeschränkt)

MAEd What I Do

I get asked by a lot of different people—what do you do as an information architect and user experience designer and user/design researcher? I get asked so many times about what I do that I decided to make a point of explaining it.

To some people, it seems very obvious about what I do as an information architect and user experience designer. Yet, to others, it does not seem so obvious. I am really an information architect and user experience designer. I enjoy helping everyone attain their goals and objectives on projects in a timely fashion, and I also strive to provide professional services to all of my clients.

I assist my clients by implementing user-centered design principles into their design products, providing professional information architecture services that ultimately make a difference.

Being an architect-designer requires a lot of different skill sets, it includes a variety of different components:

There are many different components for doing user/design research and user-centered design and implementation. Things I do on projects are user/design research, information architecture, navigation systems design, user scenarios, personas, drafting and sketching, wire frames, rapid prototyping on the computer, rapid paper-based prototyping, computer/Web programming (HTML5 and CSS3), Dreamweaver and Adobe Creative Suite, Axure (I recommend and use Axure), Visio, OmniGraffle, social media, usability testing reports, and usability testing.

This video provides a nice visual presentation about user experience design and what happens in the professional arena.

What I Do.pdf

MAEd Career Path

Introduction about Information Architect and User Experience Design Professional Careers

MAEd Career Path

World IA Day 2013, IA Mentoring

MAEd Career Path

World IA Day 2013, Thinking about IA & Navigation

MAEd Dissertation

An Online Tutorial for Instructional Designers
to Learn about Information Architecture

About doing user/design research, Information Architecture, user experience design, user experience architecture, user-centered design, usability testing, project/product management—a systematic approach on projects (ADDIE Model used for report).

Dr. Hyun assisted me with putting together the thesis report proposal and research.

Dr. Beatty and Dr. Foreman assisted me with their expertise and knowledge of user/design research, user-centered design, interface design, information architecture, navigation systems design, user experience design, user experience architecture, usability testing, instructional design, corporate training, multimedia, graphic design, technical communications, technical writing, project/product management, including putting it all together in a comprehensive technical report.

MAEd About Thesis Report.pdf

MAEd Summary

Summary and synopsis of the MAEd Thesis Report: The Information Architect and/or user experience designer does user/design research and brainstorming to come up with high-level concepts. It is necessary to do this for an Information Architecture Design Plan Report.

Completing a competitive analysis and writing a report, documents requirements for Websites. This helps a client to define their end users and their business plans. Figuring out what the patterns will be, this provides clarity with regard to Information Architecture.

Enabling end users to stay found and wayfind on Websites, then implementing clear navigational systems. Building in affordances for end users, so they can navigate. Designing clear interfaces and for consistency in interface designs, this provides clarity for end users.

MAEd Summary of Thesis Report   |   Synopsis

MAEd Dissertation Expertise

User/design research, Information Architecture, user experience design, interaction design, user-centered design, and usability testing improves an end user’s performance. The IA Model assists Information Architects and clients to design high-quality Websites.

Sample of MAEd Thesis Report.pdf   |   MAEd Thesis Report.pdf

759 pp.

60 pp. (HTML & Paper-Based/Oral Presentations)

MAEd Online Tutorial & Presentation

The Online Information Architecture Tutorial:
The IA Model, Modules 1-8

Topic: User/design research, Information Architecture, user experience design, interaction design, user-centered design, systematic approach, management, usability testing

Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines.pdf

Online Information Architecture Tutorial.pdf



University Accreditation

Western Association of Schools & Colleges (WASC-ACSCU)

TPW Cert.

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Steven Heitman
IA Design & Usability

Sr. User/Design Researcher
Information Architect
User Experience Designer
Interaction Designer
User-Centered Designer
Usability Tester
Project/Product Manager

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Updated: September 1, 2018