claim your free $1.00 donation today

Chris Chappelle is a human* and a designer of things built for good.

The state of things
November 8, 2015, 10:26am

*A human and a designer, you say?

Of course I’m a human, isn’t that rather obvious? But then why am I calling out this particular aspect of myself? Because design problems are human problems. When solving problems for people, starting with people just makes sense.

I’ve worked in labs style environments and in startups, which means thinking big, building small prototypes, refining through implementation, and always focusing on the people the product is being built for. The core of my skillset lies in UI and UX design with a love of designing for positive behavioral change and a focus on products built for good.

I am currently the Lead Designer for Bright Funds. I gather insights through user feedback, develop product ideas, build prototypes to test and gather feedback on features, and design our web app and marketing site.

Previously, I was a designer at Hattery Labs. With a focus on user-centered design, I helped build products for the healthcare, education, and nonprofit spheres.

If you were to ask me what design is in one sentence, I would say it’s using deep empathy to create experiences that hopefully better lives along the way.

Bright Funds

Lead Designer - Current

How might we help people invest in a brighter world?

Throughout the day while walking to work, while consuming news, we see things that we wish we could change. Sometimes we feel this twinge of sorrow when a story strikes emotionally, like the refugee situation happening right now in Europe. Or we see systems that could be improved within the city we live. But there’s no clear next step of what we can personally do, so the desire to help is often brushed off.

As lead designer of Bright Funds, I help close that barrier between the desire to help others and the action of helping others. We position giving as an investment in a brighter world, and help lower the barriers of donating by vetting and sorting nonprofits into cause areas. We then partner with companies to offer matching programs, payroll giving programs, and volunteer programs that brings a heightened emphasis on social good.

As lead designer, I am involved in all aspects of the product including research, user research, prototyping, UI and UX design, and UI tweaking in the front-end development process. On the side I illustrate, help solve problems in teams across the company, and create the occasional temporary tattoo.

Hattery Labs


How might we make the process better for those getting a genetic test?

The process of getting a genetic test is painful. Often the reason for going through this process is to map one’s likelihood of having a serious disease. In partner with a designer, developer, and strategist, we helped a genetic information company rethink the process of ordering and experiencing a genetic test.

We began by mapping the patient’s emotional journey. By doing so we quickly realized that there was an emotional disconnect between the time a genetic test was taken and when the results were shared. We used heightened communication and a visualization of the process to help level the emotional disconnect between patient and physician. Our team went through a process of research, ideation, and prototyping to design a finalized UX and UI for a patient-focused genetic test.

My role on this team included user research, developing the emotional journey map, working with a developer to create prototypes, and working on UI design.

How might we empower students to succeed in online education while also giving professors the tools they need?

Online education is opening the doors for huge numbers of people to take classes and earn degrees when they previously may not have been able to. However, the relationships that often need the most attention–relationships that can help someone push through a struggling course to continue and eventually earn their degree–are reliant on inadequate technologies.

In partner with a designer, developer, and creative director, we helped an online education company think through how to better help their students in online edu courses. Inspired to bridge relationships between professors and students and help better the online education experience, I jumped into a thorough research sprint. Among other subjects, I examined the success of online gaming systems in building relationships, skill trees in games as a way of marking progress and inspiring growth, the ability of exercise/health tracking to inspire change and personal betterment, the successes and failures of current online education systems, and dashboard monitors as a way to display past, current, and future status reports.

Through a process of research and prototyping, we built a product and online experience that helped relieve the pain points of communication within the sphere of online education to help students succeed. My role on this team included user research, ideation exercises, working with a developer to build prototypes of ideas, and working on UI design.

How might we brand a cost calculator for water projects?

Developing a sustainable water and sanitation project that focuses on the entire life-cycle from drilling a well through maintenance requires planning and a clear budget. I worked with international nonprofit IRC to brand a calculator that would help plan the development of sustainable WASH projects.

Through a process of research and design, I presented several brand directions. I then worked through the development of final brand assets. In parallel, I worked with a developer to create an interactive infographic as a collateral piece to advertise the program.

As design lead for this project, I developed all brand assets and lead the design of the partnered infographic. In development of the infographic I worked closely with a developer to explore ideas and refine them into a final cohesive product.

Personal projects

Me being me

An exploration of sound and play as a means to heighten creativity and break barriers.

As children we openly play with sound. Remember banging on pots and pans, playing with toy drums, and smashing xylophone keys? However, as we grows older our willingness to play lessens as we start worrying about how others see us.

I used technology and play as a means to break the barriers of music’s formality in order to encourage playing with sound. I believe play and music can greatly alter one’s mood, encourage creativity, and create a means of both personal enjoyment and communal interaction.

This project allows people to create their own music through drawing and arranging colored items. Drawings and color blocks can be arranged on a spinning surface, reminiscent to a turntable or record player. The colors are picked up by a camera, analyzed by a computer program, and output a specific sound, allowing users to create and alter “songs.” Using the power of a potentiometer and an arduino, different instruments can be chosen, further enhancing the creative options for users.

This started as an idea without a clear path of how I would make it a reality, but I succeeded through a series of try-fail-try-fail prototyping cycles. I used Processing to develop the technology. All development, programming, construction, and design was done by myself.