James Sauceda

Hello, my name is

James Sauceda

Product Designer

About me

I am passionate about creating seamless user experiences by drawing inspiration from insights and data and applying empathy and intuition from over 10 years of design, development, and product experience.

What I've done

2022 – 2023

Brightside - Principal Product Designer

As a Team Lead and Mentor for Brightside’s Design Team, I collaborated closely with Product and Engineering teams in an agile environment and influenced design decisions as an advocate for the User.

Developed a decentralized design system built on Atomic Design principles using Design Tokens. Design and Develop several products in an iterative agile environment including: Modular registration feature to help with data collection during onboarding with a focus on engagement and retention, a hardship loan feature allows clients to manage documents and view the status of their application and lead the Equifax upgrade moving from OTP to SMFA authentication. 

Stewardship of cross-functional efforts to align engineering and QA with design system standards. Helped marketing design with various onsite materials and brand guidelines. Participated in regular product design feedback and iteration sessions

2019 – 2022

BLAZE - UX Design Manager

I led the team for growth and scalability, overseeing daily and weekly check-ins, goal setting, training, performance evaluations, career development, and hiring. I fostered strong relationships with stakeholders, effectively communicated complex ideas, and created comprehensive roadmaps for planning and execution.

Built a culture and team of empathetic problem solvers dedicated to putting our end users first. Developed process for recruitment, training, skill development, and mentorship. Led global brand refinement including logo redesign, product marketing, a new corporate website, style guides, and templates. Developed a design system that supports sub-brands within BLAZE and future growth

2013 – 2019

Weedmaps - Sr. Product Designer, Frontend Engineer

Worked closely with product and engineering during the early stages defining design culture and team growth. Transitioned to engineering and worked across many Agile teams, helped to build Weedmaps design system SDK – using react, Next.js, Mobx, and styled components. 

Design and Develop an initial mobile application, geolocation/region-based directory of listings with product menus, photos, and reviews. Hands-on releasing many features, facilitating design sprints and design reviews. Design, Develop and Maintain design system with a focus on accessibility and internationalization. Pivotal in the development of Weedmaps Deals, a place to find daily and limited discounted items (a High traffic area)

2012 – 2013

SearchCore Inc, - VP of Creative Operations

Managed a team of creatives, and worked with clients and stakeholders. Pushed team to learn bleeding-edge technology at the time – nodejs and invision.

Lead recruitment, training, performance, and development efforts for designers and developers. Design and Develop a global brand identity, a new corporate website, and templates. Launched redesign of Tattoo.com a finder site focused on finding tattoo artists and alternative lifestyle community. Launched ManufacturedHomes.com a finder site connecting dealers and manufacturers to home buyers.


Cal Spas - UX/UI Designer, Frontend Engineer

Design and Develop features for many cal spas websites with a focus on engagement and SEO. Completed wireframes and comps with strict timelines.

2011 – 2012

Spinx, Inc. - Project Manager

Responsible for accomplishing the project objectives for website work at SPINX Agency. Key project management responsibilities include creating clear attainable objectives and building the project requirements using Waterfall methodology.

Trust the Process

My design process follows a structured approach: Learn, Define, Iterate, Build. It is firmly grounded in Design Thinking principles, which prioritize empathy and understanding of user habits, frustrations, wants, and needs. Each project begins with in-depth learning and defining a clear problem statement. By doing so, we lay the foundation to develop a thoroughly iterated and extensively tested solution. This method ensures that our designs are user-centric, effective, and continuously refined for optimal outcomes.

1. Learn

Let’s start by adopting a “beginner’s mind”, with the intent to remain open and curious, to assume nothing, and to see ambiguity as an opportunity. Use empathy while conducting research in order to develop knowledge about what our users do, say, think, and feel.

2. Define

Combine all the research and observe where the problem exists. Is there a common pain point across different users? Identify any unmet user needs and watch for additional learning opportunities. Once we know the users’ needs, we can highlight opportunities for innovation.

3. Iterate

Here’s where we loop creating and testing. Brainstorm plenty of different ideas and build off one another. Then test these ideas with the users, gather their feedback and start iterating again.

4. Build

By now we should have a tested well iterated solution to implement. Let’s focus on unblocking engineering with documentation and possibly design systems.

5. Analyze

Let’s take a look and make sure our users are actually using the product we just shipped. Is there a change in user behavior? What are the metrics to determine if this project was a success or not? This is a good time to write a case study.

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