Author Archives: Sara Mastro

Sara Mastro

About Sara

Sara is responsible for leading our Digital Agency teams that create intuitive user experiences for our clients’ websites and applications. Her extensive background in design and research is the basis for our methodology in creating smart user experiences that win the loyalty of their users.

Sara began her career at Texas Instruments, developing branding and conducting market research for their personal product lines. While there, she was awarded the Texas Instruments Design Excellence Award.

Since then she has amassed over 15 years of experience, working with a variety of companies like Discovery Health, Hewlett Packard, McGraw Hill, USDA Forest Service and WeatherBug to produce award-winning interactive products and websites. She most recently served as Director of User Experience at Discovery Education, overseeing the design and usability of all K-12 online products.

Sara is an active member of the User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA) and is currently serving as co-chair for the 2014 International Conference being held in London this July.

She earned a B.S. in Graphic Design from Florida State University and attended Savannah College of Art and Design for her MFA in Computer Art.

Sara’s superhero power is having extreme organizational skills, although not-so-secretly she wishes it was super strength.

I Like Blue, My Mom Likes Green.

The title is an actual quote I heard years ago when testing an educational site with 5th graders. This particular user could not get over the fact that the overall color used was green, which she interpreted as a “mom” color, not for kids. What do research and practice have to say about the psychology of colors used on websites?   This question strikes close to home for me, as the science, or lack thereof, behind color-related decision making has been popping up a lot lately for the Mediabarn UX team. In client meetings and presentations the question has been … Continue reading

…attending UXPA’s international conference, that is. It wasn’t too long ago when I was writing about how awesome UXPA 2014 in London was going to be…and it was. The presenters, the keynotes, the attendees, and the location were all amazing. This June, UXPA 2015 will be held in San Diego California (Loews Coronado Resort, to be specific) and I could not be more excited. The theme for the conference is “simplicity” and the location we chose is the perfect match for that. Ocean on one side, bay on the other, beautiful outdoor spaces that are great for networking. My co-chair this … Continue reading

Keeping Up With a Speeding Train

It’s hard enough to keep up with the latest buzzwords, fashion and nutrition trends in your personal life. Add to that keeping your professional online presence and brand fresh and it becomes a full time job. It’s important for your business’s success to stay up to date with new technologies and innovation; but how do you keep your website or mobile app consistently relevant when trends come and go faster than a speeding bullet? There is no magic trick to this, and frankly, it’s almost impossible to stay ahead of the curve on ALL things technology and design. However, there … Continue reading

What is Wrong with Sandwiches?!!

The above title is what my 10 year old son yelled out of frustration as he watched his hamburger smothered in ketchup fall out of his hands, quickly landing on EVERYTHING. His blaming the burger, but not the hands that held it, made me chuckle. Obviously if the burger was designed differently this would not have happened, right? Or would he have dropped any kind of sandwich at that exact moment because his hands were not holding it correctly? A usability or user issue? I describe this incident as a very loose parallel to UX issues that we often see … Continue reading

Time for a Redesign?

How many years should you wait before redesigning your website? I get asked this question a lot. Truthfully, there’s no specific time period or magical formula that determine whether it’s a good time to freshen up your web presence, redesign from scratch or simply leave it as is. Certain factors play a big role in making that decision though, such as budget, time, and resources available. While it’s not an exact science, you can consider a few questions to help determine what might be the logical next step for your site. 1)     Do you have a lot of new content … Continue reading

Keep the Creativity Flowing

  We have all seen beautifully designed websites, cool looking apps and slick ads. When I look at these, I often admire how creative they are and how talented the designer(s) were that did the work. It got me wondering – what do designers do now to constantly maintain a level of enthusiasm, creativity and just sustain an overall energy that allows them to come up with great ideas and fantastic art? Waaaay back, and I do mean a really long time ago, when I was a graphic designer, I would occasionally feel “stuck” while working on a project – … Continue reading

Design with Kids in Mind

School’s almost out for the summer! For most kids, this means more free time. Hopefully much of that time will be spent outside, but it’s likely that a majority of it will be inside, and online, as well. They’ll be downloading new games, playing old favorites, and checking out new sites – whether it’s for fun or education. The best online experiences will be the ones that stick and the ones they tell their friends about. Most kids seem to be on computers and tablets almost as soon as they can sit up and move a mouse or tap a … Continue reading

Think Before You Tweet

It was a combination of an editorial piece by Baratunde Thurston I read in Fast Company and a link a colleague and friend sent me in horror about the best 60 social media tools (how are there that many!) that got me thinking more about a company’s social media presence. I know there is not one “correct” answer, but Thurston makes a great point about how companies and organizations should be focusing more on making quality products and experiences and less on self-promotion and gimmicks on social media sites. The conversation about social media is at almost every product kick-off we have. How … Continue reading

As many of you may already know from some of my prior posts and tweets, I am fortunate enough this year to serve as co-chair for the UXPA 2014 International Conference taking place in London. Aside from practicing my British accent, it has been a whirlwind of planning, meeting and working with some of the most talented people in the UX industry. Have you ever been to a conference focused on your industry or field of work? Before I started volunteering with the UXPA conference committee years ago, I always assumed there were “people” who just made these events happen. … Continue reading

Meetings Made Simple (& Productive!)

How many times a day do you find yourself dreading an upcoming meeting or conference call? We have all seen the many videos and cartoons that parody meetings, client relationships, conference calls, [insert latest video viral topic here], etc. Although some of what I’ve seen and read is funny, and a lot usually rings true, what I do know is that productive meetings certainly don’t have to be extremely long or unpleasant! Mediabarn’s projects typically start as documented business requirements or simply a collection of back and forth emails and a few sketches. Some may begin as an existing product … Continue reading