My name is Dan Turner, and I'm an Interaction and Product Designer based in lovely and active Oakland, CA. Design is how something works, so I design and lead teams to collaborate on gaining insight and building real solutions to real problems. Most recently I’ve been the Lead Product Designer at a startup, and a member of a product design team at the agency Potato.

My story? I'm a graduate of MIT and the UC Berkeley School of Information with a background in journalism. I'm a strong advocate for the user part of user-centered design. My past work has taught me to question assumptions while being able to ask people to explain things to me as though I were five years old. Try it. It's a good way to learn and to make a connection.

I've worked on public good projects that are set to become the open-source reference model for thousands of communities around the world, on shipping commercial apps for professional hospital staff, and on rapid projects for food security. Most recently I was Lead Product Designer at Open Garden, where I led the team to move from a technology demonstration to well-review Android and iOS products.

In addition, I've taught UX at San Francisco State University and for, where I trained community college instructors on how to model their own design programs. If you want to hear my opinions on the practice of UX, you can find things I've written in UX Magazine, The Pastry Box Project, Boxes and Arrows, and A List Apart; I was also a chapter co-author of the ASIS&T Book of the Year, The Discipline of Organizing. You can probably find me tweeting at @ddt and participating and moderating the User Experience Design Slack Group, for which I also organize a monthly meetup.

Critical thinking is a key part of my work, and a key part of what I'll bring to any project or product. Too often we get caught up in building, or applying a cool new tool, without asking the basic questions of, "What problem does this solve, for whom, and how do we know this?"

I can promise I'll always bring that thinking to bear, all in service of producing a better result for the user. And that makes for a better product and return for you. Let's work together!

Let's put the "why?" in UX

Featured writer for A List Apart, Boxes and Arrows, UX Magazine, KQED Pop Culture blog. Chapter co-author of the UX textbook, "The Discipline of Organizing". Speaker at SF Design Week 2016 and guest lecturer at General Assembly.

I've taught Interaction Design at San Francisco State University, CCA, and for the Mid-Pacific Information and Communication Technology Center ( it was exciting to see my students take back what they've learned to bring innovation to their companies, or start their own.

Currently based in the SF Bay Area, I’m really, really interested in taking what I’ve learned, working collaboratively, and helping shape tools for journalists, researching the future of news, and working on educational projects and tools.

I carry with me two lessons I've learned from being a designer and a journalist:

  • If you know how an app works, then you are not the user.

  • If your mother tells you she loves you, get a second source.

When I’m not mulling over why the rule of thirds seems to work, or figuring out how this or that could work better, I’m reading policy and/or comics, on my bikes, or trying to share my love of magazines and books.

I have lectured at General Assembly, mentored at Code for America, and led design and development teams to win awards at a range of hackathons for public-good projects. Let me help you figure out what problems you can solve, and we can build a better world together.

Recent Reading List

(In case you want to know what's been influencing me, or the range of thinking I can bring to your project or company.)

Customer Development:
Badass: Making Users Awesome by Kathy Sierra
The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank
Lean Customer Development by Cindy Alvarez

Setting Up Overall Processes:
Design for Real Life by Eric Meyer and Sarah Wachter-Boettcher
Lean UX by Jeff Gothelf
UX for Lean Startups by Laura Klein
Sketching User Experience by Bill Buxton
Designing for the Digital Age: How to Create Human-Centered Products and Services by Kim Goodwin
Well-Designed: How to Use Empathy to Create Products People Love by Jon Kolko

User Research:
Just Enough Research by Erika Hall
Interviewing Users by Steve Portigal
Practical Empathy by Indi Young
Humble Inquiry by Edgar H. Schein

Usability Testing:
Rocket Surgery Made Easy by Steve Krug

Important and Deeper Thinking:
Geek Heresy by Kentaro Toyama
Things That Make Us Smart by Don Norman
Design, When Everybody Designs by Ezio Manzini