Zeke Franco


About Zeke Franco



I have been designing for over eight years. My specialties are interaction design, research, and strategy. I’m driven by a passion for meticulously crafted products and services that work to improve a user’s experience. As a strong supporter of human-centered design methodologies I believe user research and behavioral insights are fundamental to crafting exceptional services and products. I love conducting and synthesizing user and design research and taking those insights and creating futuristic designs that can be implemented today.

I have worked in both fast paced and agile startups as well as on multi-touchpoint initiatives for complex enterprises. My approach to experience strategy revolves around user-centered research, concept validation, cross-functional collaboration, and flexible processes that make ideas actionable not just conceptual. Being able to recommend the right process to define and satisfy the strategy is key to effective design leadership.

During the day I’m employed as a UX Director within ÄKTA, a user experience agency in Chicago. ÄKTA was recently acquired by Salesforce and in 2014 ÄKTA was recognized as one of Inc. 500’s Fastest Growing Companies in America.

My efforts at ÄKTA have been two-fold: to provide design strategy for projects and to lead design within projects. The ability to both be strategic and tactical helps me provide vision to clients during the project definition phase as well as lead the design vision through the delivery of design artifacts such as research reports, journey maps, wireframes, prototypes, and user interface design. This is done by collaborating with all the essential roles within ÄKTA such as user researchers, business analysts, UI designers, product managers, UX designers, and developers. My work has help transform offerings at companies such as DeVry, Motorola, and INXPO to name a few.

Prior to ÄKTA, I played a key role as the first dedicated interaction designer at GrubHub. Starting with the company when it had less the 50 people and eventually leaving after a successful IPO 3.5 years later. My efforts were focused on service design on digital transformation of the processes and touchpoints across the experience. I designed innovative restaurant-facing technology such as OrderHub and DeliveryHub in order to improve the service experience. On the diner-facing side my attention focused on creating experience enhancements like Yummy Rummy, Track Your Grub, and the 2016 complete redesign of GrubHub’s and Seamless’ iPhone and Android mobile applications.

Passionate about interaction design and research I cofounded Designation in 2013 – a 16 week design bootcamp. Nearly three years later over a 150 students have graduated from the program. 94% of graduates who sought a new design job got one, with an average salary increase of 62%. In 2016 Designation is set to quadruple its classroom size. The expansion will be within 1871, the nation’s largest digital startup hub.


Hmmmm… where to begin. First things first; as in first person. I’m passionate, detail focused, introspective (but very social) and a bit of goofball. Yep, that sums me up. I geek out about my work and I have a strong desire to learn about pretty much any subject; especially science. Geeks unite! Perhaps more importantly, I still will laugh at a fart joke. And more than likely I’ve made the bad joke. Oh, and I’m always down badly dance to Never Gonna Give You Up or another random so-bad-it’s-good tune. I use the term dancing loosely, it’s really just wiggling and extending out an arm and index finger in an alternating rhythm.

When I’m not designing or teaching I like to spend my time taking pictures, eating new foods, relaxing with my cats or stay in for then night to read and listen to music.

Rather than talk about myself more, you can just browse my lifestream to see my “digital artifacts.” Feel free to connect with me on whatever social network you prefer or contact me using the footer below.


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