20+ Years Experience in UX, UI and Digital Creative Direction

I have over 20 years’ experience in UX/UI design with a passion for the relationship between effective user experience and brand-building creative across the spectrum of digital marketing channels from websites, custom software, and mobile apps and other digital products to multi-million-dollar multi-channel campaigns.

I have built and led large teams of UX and UI professionals to produce award-winning and effective digital products for clients from start-ups to large global brands but am also very comfortable working as a one-person designer taking digital products from abstract concepts to fully designed, working products including UX research, user interviewing, UX and UI design and conversion optimization testing and improvement.

The most effective user experiences are designed from the users’ perspective and facilitate a user getting from her particular goal to accomplishment of that goal with the least possible “friction” or frustration.

I also have deep passion for turning identified business requirements into powerful digital marketing strategies that span the most effective digital channels. While a well-performing website is the hub of digital marketing, effective strategies extend well beyond to search and paid search, social, content, mobile apps, progressive web apps and marketing automation, to name a few.

I have developed the strategies and creative behind dozens of award-winning, but more importantly, effective integrated campaigns for clients from start-ups to global brands. I have also been responsible for presenting these concepts to both clients and internal teams as well as proselytizing the importance of digital in every marketing effort. My campaign strategies and pitch secured a $10.5 Million budget for my agency.

Having worked my way up from a web designer in the mid-90’s, I am well-versed in every component of the digital design process. I am also deeply experienced in user experience testing and conversion optimization. The site revisions implemented as the result of my one-year UX testing and design contract with the Gap.com brands elevated conversions on the sites nearly 3%, a number that translates to millions of dollars of sales.

What I Do

  • Apply 25+ years experience in digital design to create compelling and effective digital products that drive conversion
  • Distill complex business requirements into creative digital products that are powerful but simple to use
  • Direct and participate in teams as large as 12 to create the IA, UX and UI of hundreds of effective websites, mobile, apps, product interfaces, e-commerce sites, custom software, responsive sites, social, e-mail and marketing automation for major global brands
  • Conduct client and user research and interviewing
  • Develop digital strategies, customer journey studies, personas, user stories, user-goal and use-case definitions, wire frames, and prototypes
  • Effectively build, lead and mentor teams of UX professionals
  • Design elegant user-centric design systems and user interfaces across all digital products
  • Design e-commerce systems from 35 to 700,000 SKU’s
  • Significantly elevate the conversion rates of digital initiatives using 15 years experience in UX testing and conversion optimization
  • Increased cart conversion rates on gap.com properties by nearly 3% by designing and pioneering quick-look and in-line shopping cart behaviors
  • Eloquently communicate strategies, concepts and designs to internal teams and clients
  • Ideate high-level digital marketing strategy
  • Direct and create effective, award-winning, UX and digital products
  • Created several successful start-up brands from concept to design/build

Where I’ve Done It

2016 – present
Freelance UX/UI Contractor

2016 – 2021
Group User Experience & Digital Creative Director
Nelson Schmidt – Milwaukee, WI

2014 – 2016
Executive Creative & User Experience Director
IceFrog Technologies – Milwaukee, WI

2011 – 2014
Creative & User Experience Director
Top Floor – Milwaukee, WI

User Experience & Digital Creative Director
TMP Directional Marketing/15 Miles – Milwaukee, WI

Director of Digital Design (UX & UI)

Nelson Schmidt – Milwaukee, WI

User Experience Director (contract)

Gap Brands – San Francisco

Senior Digital Designer

Nelson Schmidt – Milwaukee, WI

1996 – 2000
Senior Web Designer

Northwoods Software – Milwaukee, WI

Skills & Expertise

I believe in knowing the platforms we design for:

  • HTML, HTML5, CSS, SASS, Javascript, Jquery
  • WordPress, Sitecore, Drupal, Magento, XCart, AEM, and other CMS
  • Adobe Creative Suite including Photoshop, XD, Illustrator, InDesign, After Effects, etc.
  • Google Analytics, AdWords, and Webmaster Tools
  • Deep understanding and experience in online advertising platforms and methods
  • Agile, Design Sprints, Rapid Prototyping methodologies


  • Figma
  • Sketch
  • XD
  • Invision
  • UXPin
  • Axure
  • Omnigraffle
  • Balsamiq

UX Research & Testing

  • Customer Journey Studies
  • User Interviewing
  • User Research
  • Moderated
  • Unmoderated
  • A-B-N
  • Multivariate
  • Card Sorting
  • Qualitative
  • Quantitative
  • Behavioral
  • Attitudinal
  • Optimizely

Marketing Automation

  • HubSpot
  • Marketo
  • Eloqua
  • Adobe Target
  • Mautic
  • Pardot

Select Clients

What They Say

“In my many years of managing digital for global brands like Honeywell, I have not seen a designer who so well understands the relationship of UX and UI. His work has brought us serious results.”

Dane Hartzell, Global Dir. of Digital - Honeywell

Clay has the unique ability to visualize large, sophisticated and abstract digital marketing concepts in their complete fruition right from the incept of a project, and communicate them effectively. He has what it takes to see those concepts become reality.

Dan Nelson, Jr., CEO/President, Nelson Schmidt
Clay’s ability to connect with and inspire clients is something to be admired. While I worked with Clay he was the keystone in bringing on numerous projects from our biggest interactive clients. Clay has many talents which definitely set him apart from the rest.
Elise Georgeson, GMR Marketing

Clay is one of the most gifted people I have ever worked with. His talents extend into brand development, graphic design, user experience and interface expertise, human-centered design, and team-building. Working with Clay taught me that the user is the center of every experience. His redesign of our software blew us away and translated into happy customers.

Robert Cohen, President, Kewill

Clay demonstrates his passion for design by fostering not only the creativity of the designers and developers he leads, but also by encouraging collaboration and seeking new techniques and technologies to achieve the best possible results for our customers.

His expertise in design and passion for user-experience is inspiring. His approach to teamwork is driven by working together with every department to produce the best possible outcome thereby adding the greatest value for the client and end-user.

Sabrina Karani, UX Designer, Nelson Schmidt

A Swiss Army Knife of creative and digital skills.

Jeff Ericksen, Group Creative Director, Nelson Schmidt