Information Technologies

Information Technologies

April Dawn Kester

April Dawn Kester

Consultant, UI Designer, UX Researcher

Native to Santa Cruz, California.

I recently obtained my Masters in Information Management and Systems at the University of California, Berkeley. You’ll find me at the intersection of business, technological developments and human interaction.

My undergraduate degrees are in Business Management & Economics and Technology & Information Management. Drawing on the disciplines of both social sciences and engineering, I am able to effectively fill the gaps between people, processes, and technology.

Featured Portfolio Projects


Graduate Program Final Project – Wearables and Wellbeing

Smartphone/smartwatch application, which used biometric sensors to measure and track physiological signals that reflect emotion such as heart rate, sweat, temperature, muscle tension, and breathing rate. Also monitored behavior associated with mood changes such as sleep quality, activity level, mobility and social interaction. Used generalized machine learning models to predict possible mood changes and suggested activities for early behavioral intervention.


User Interface Design – Wearable Communication

Design and Development of a wearable communication application targeted towards retail warehouse employees. The design process included group brainstorming, contextual inquiry, competitive analysis, use of scenario sketches and the creation of personas. Lo-Fi prototypes were created on paper, Hi-Fi interactive prototypes were constructed using Framer. Final application was built using the Android Mobile OS and Moto 360 Smartwatch. A Node.js server was built to facilitate communication between devices.

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OpenBAS: Usability Study

Needs and Usability Assessment – Building Automation

Usability assessment of OpenBAS, an open source building automation system currently under development at UC Berkeley. In conjunction with the client, our team decided on two objectives for this project: clarifying the target market, and prioritizing features. We used a combination of generative and formative research methods; heuristic evaluation, interviews, usability testing, diary study, card sorting, and participatory design.

Design Portfolio

Since 2008, Belle Jackson Design has implemented the most current UI/UX techniques to make beautiful yet functional sites.  I utilize my skills in competitor analysis and buyer profiling to add value to the design process.

Academic Portfolio

My academic projects include mobile and wearable application design and development, software interface usability assessment, supply chain management, and high-level firm strategies.

Curriculum Vitae

University of California, Berkeley

Master’s Degree, Information Management and Systems

Cumulative GPA 3.85

May 2016

University of California, Santa Cruz

Bachelor of Science, Technology and Information Management
Bachelor of Arts, Business Management Economics

Honors in the Major

Dean’s Honors – 6 quarters

Cumulative GPA 3.54

Academic Coursework

Business Focus

  • Lean/Agile Product Management
  • Managing Info-Intensive Companies
  • IP Law for Information Industries
  • Information Law and Policy
  • E-Business Technology & Strategies
  • Product Design & Development 
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Financial Accounting
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Business Law
  • International Markets
  • Macro/Microeconomics
  • Global Management
  • Economics of E-commerce

Technological Focus

  • Distributed Computing Applications and Infrastructure
  • Information Organization and Retrieval
  • Agile Engineering Practices
  • Data Mining and Analytics
  • Ubiquitous Sensing
  • Computer Architecture
  • Computer Programming
  • Business Information Systems
  • Systems Analysis & Design
  • Computer Networks
  • Database Management

UI/UX Focus

  • Needs and Usability Assessment
  • User Interface Design
  • Interface Aesthetics
  • Applied Behavioral Economics
  • Social Issues of Information Technology
  • Scenario Thinking

Quantitative Focus

  • Statistics & Probability
  • Combinatorics
  • Econometrics
  • Multivariable Calculus
  • Linear Algebra
  • Differential Equations
  • Game Theory

Senior Technology Consultant

Deloitte – San Francisco, CA

Development phase of a multiphase project to redesign existing website and integrate acquired company site and multi-vendor platform. Applied design wireframes to existing CMS Drupal 6 templates, creating integrated web and mobile user experience with responsive Bootstrap framework. Assisted in facilitation of planning meetings, morning/evening stand-up calls, and sprint reviews. Gathered additional requirements from client and delivered updated specifications to the development team. Monitored offshore team, appraised management and communicated to the client potential concerns.

2015 – Current

Co-Owner and Small Business Consultant

Belle Jackson Design – Santa Cruz, CA

Founded successful web design company, managing development of high performance websites utilizing CMS WordPress. Focused on affordable website solutions for artists, small businesses, and non-profit organizations. Analyzed competitive landscape and customer needs to advise clients on web marketing techniques to improve customer reach. Evaluated system requirements, identified constraints and implemented appropriate database solutions. Boosted web traffic and page views by analyzing metrics, suggesting design enhancements and testing implementations. Increased client revenues on average 120% of pre-design sales and conversion funnel rates by 54%.

2010 – 2016

Manager and Instructional Consultant

University ITS – Learning Technologies – Santa Cruz, CA

Delivered technical support for 30,000+ users of university Learning Management System (LMS). Responded to inquires, troubleshot difficulties and offered solutions. Improved usability of LMS by overseeing project to create comprehensive online tutorials and FAQ database. Advised instructors on incorporating instructional technologies into their curriculum by providing one-on-one consultation. Assumed role of student manager; trained staff of 7-10 student employees on confidentiality, FERPA regulation, accessibility and copyright laws. Collaborated with the Disability Resource Center and instructors to create course materials that adhered to accessibility standards. 

2011 – 2014

Division Quality Control Lead

World Savings – Oakland, CA

Assessed the operational quality of 33 branches. Selected and supervised team of 5, preparing and conducting quarterly branch assessments, locations ranging from Clearlake to Monterey. Collaborated with branch and district managers on official audit responses. Implemented strategies to improve operational integrity. 

2006 – 2008

Operations and Assistant Branch Manager

World Savings – Santa Cruz County, CA

Trained employees on bank policies and procedures, federal regulations and customer confidentiality. Mentored employees and conducted quarterly performance evaluations. Coordinated efforts in 3 branches to pass official audits while also attaining 100% of branch sales goals. Recognized by the internal audit team for operational excellence.

2005 – 2006

Supervisor and Mortgage Specialist

World Savings – Capitola, CA

Recruited as Mortgage Specialist by Regional Manager because of exemplary personal sales performance and ability to engage employees in the sales referral process. Identified by Regional Security Manager for attention to customer security by aiding in the apprehension of a known customer impersonator. Prevented 250K loss to the company. Recognized by Division Manager for exceptional service. Delivered sales growth by engaging clients, developing rapport and assessing customer needs.

2002 – 2005

Graduate Student Instructor for Dr. Steve Fadden

Needs and Usability Assessment – University of CA, Berkeley

Concepts and methods of user experience research. Collecting and interpreting data about user behaviors and translating into design decisions. Hands-on practice with UX research methods, including heuristic evaluation, observation, interviews, surveys and focus groups. Emphasis on naturalistic/ethnographic (qualitative) methods.

Spring 2016

Graduate Student Instructor for Professor Doug Tygar

Distributed Computing Applications and Infrastructure – University of CA, Berkeley

Technological foundations for computing and communications: computer architecture, operating systems, networking, middleware, security. Programming paradigms: object oriented-design, design and analysis of algorithms, data structures, formal languages. Distributed-system architectures and models, inter-process communications, concurrency, system performance. 

Fall 2015

Grader for Professor David Roland-Holst

The Chinese Economy – University of CA, Berkeley

The Chinese economy, its institutions, development, reform and transition to the market. 

Spring 2015

Teaching Assistant for Professor KC Fung

The Economies of East and Southeast Asia – University of CA, Santa Cruz

Patterns of international trade, investment, and industrial structure in Asia. Competing explanations of rapid growth of Japan, Korea, and Taiwan; overview of economic developments in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Analysis of high technology trade and multinationals in Asia in 2000 and beyond. 

Spring 2013


WiSE (Women in Science and Engineering) – Santa Cruz, CA

Participated in outreach programs by leading quarterly middle school classroom visits. Presented to students research and job opportunities in engineering and supervised science experiments such as, liquid nitrogen ice cream and strawberry DNA extraction.  Partnered with MESA as volunteer for annual MESA day competition by judging robotics events.  Helping students become scientists, engineers and mathematicians.

2013 – 2016

Communications Director

Westside Parent Education School – Santa Cruz, CA

Served on executive board for public preschool with 100+ parent members, strategized ways to increase revenue when state funding was cut. Utilized social media, website blogs, newspaper articles and advertisements, to promote events and fundraising efforts, secured 20K for the school to stay open. Redesigned HTML website into a modern CMS driven site, automated and integrated wait list and enrollment processes. Architected database solution for procedural materials and alumni contact information.

2010 – 2012

Compiled Languages
  • Java
  • C++
  • C
  • Objective C
Assembly/Machine Languages
  • LC3
  • ARM
Embedded Languages
  • PHP
  • Python
  • JavaScript
Data Oriented Languages
  • MySQL
  • PostgreSQL
Mark-up Languages
  • HTML
  • XML
  • LaTeX
Miscellaneous Languages
  • Matlab
  • Mathematica
  • R

Operating Systems
  • Ubuntu
  • Red Hat Linux
  • Unix
  • iOS
  • Android

Project Management
  • Microsoft Project
  • JIRA

Web Development
  • Dreamweaver CS6
  • Flash Professional CS4
  • WordPress
  • Drupal

Instructional Design
  • Captivate 8
  • Camtasia
  • Coincident Create
  • Sakai
  • Blackboard

Video Production
  • Final Cut Pro X
  • iMovie
  • Blender
  • Movie Maker
  • Premiere

Audio Production
  • Audacity
  • GarageBand

Photo Editing
  • Photoshop CS6
  • Lightroom 5.0
  • Elements 10
  • Aperture

  • InDesign CS5
  • BookSmart
  • PageMaker

  • Word/Pages
  • Excel/Numbers
  • Powerpoint/Keynote
  • Quickbooks

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Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.

Albert Einstein

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Arthur C. Clarke

It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.

Albert Einstein