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Round Rock Texas 78680


Howdy! My name is Ansa and I'm a designer in Austin, Texas.

Currently I am a User Experience Architect at Chaotic Moon. Previously, I spent two years as a freelance interaction designer and before that, some time as creative lead at a startup. I like to occasionally write about things I'm thinking about or working on, and I even change my mind occasionally. 




Freelance designer based in Austin, Texas.

Over-Thinking It

Ansa Copeland

Perhaps my biggest struggle, in both my professional and personal life, is my tendency to over think everything. In life, for example,  I'm that person that takes FOREVER to choose from the menu. I'm probably thinking through what I ate last night, what I'll have later, and how this will fit into my day nutritionally. Also, which item will both be enjoyable now and not produce regret during my upcoming client meeting or yoga class? Which choice is also cost effective?

In design, this means that I can get bogged down attempting to think through all of the details at once. Well-considered details are what makes a design, but when I start obsessing over them too soon, I risk missing the larger picture... 

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Special Visitor

Ansa Copeland

This past week, the President of the United States of America visited my co-working space as he kicked off his Jobs & Opportunity Tour. Pretty cool, right? 

Obama visiting Capital Factory

Obama visiting Capital Factory

Rapid Prototyping with Middleman

Ansa Copeland

Despite the fact that many people espouse prototyping, there is relatively little on the web about how to actually go about it. Through trial and error, I have arrived at a robust solution that is flexible enough to handle a wide variety of projects.

Frequently, I find that paper prototypes are sufficient for smaller projects since the functionality and interactions are pretty standard. On these projects, I am frequently acting as a front end developer as well as a designer, so a fully-fledged prototype seems redundant.

On larger projects I find that a prototype is worth a million words, both to me as I test out ideas, and to the developer...

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Recommended Reading: "Learning Rails Made me a better designer" by Jonas Downey

Ansa Copeland

Anyone who works with me knows where I stand on this issue; I believe designers are generally better when they can code. This post is good on it's face, but I had a tiny epiphany when reading through the comments. "Joe" responded to the very common Coding-Designer = Conservative Design argument in a fresh way:

It’s not just difficulty to implement [radical designs], but also difficulty to maintain, change, troubleshoot, and enhance over the years of the product’s life. The clever but arcane solution to problems may seem great at first, but the shine wears off and the product takes hits when the future you or future programmers are less productive later (requiring larger programming staff and slower product updates) due to it.
— "Joe"

I don't believe that a design should be tossed out simply because its difficult to implement, but I do agree that everyone in the project needs to understand what they are signing up for when choosing to pursue a radical design. It's a long term risk, and rarely one that a project can afford. Just some food for thought.

Austin WordCamp 2013: Designers Should Code

Ansa Copeland

On May 18th, I will be presenting at Austin WordCamp! This will be my first presentation in the last several years so I am a bit nervous. However, I'm mostly looking forward to the presenting my thoughts on why designers should code.

I tend to be very deliberate with most of my opinions, and more so when approaching hot topics such as this one. There is on-going and significant debate within the design world (and amongst the developers who work with them) around the topic of coding. In this talk, I will present my thoughts on the advantages of being a coding designer and share some real examples of how knowing a bit of code helps me to be a better designer. I will also try to address some of the more common counter-arguments and provide a glimpse of my preferred tooling and workflow.

If you are interested in attending Austin WordCamp, find more information at

Hover-friendly Hexagons

Ansa Copeland

On one of my recent web projects part of my design included a hexagonal grid of images. The design involved being able to hover over the images to reveal a description. While building out the site I ran into an interesting problem - how does one build hover-friendly hexagons?

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Quote: Trent Walton

Ansa Copeland

I like the idea of being self-taught when it comes to the web because it almost creates a desperation and resourcefulness - and sometimes, insecurity - that I might not otherwise have... The idea that I've missed something has kept me on my toes.

— Trent Walton

Podcast Appearance: Quit!

Ansa Copeland

During the recent South By Southwest conference, in Austin, Texas, I had the pleasure of meeting Dan Benjamin and Haddie Cooke of the 5by5 Network. They invited me to join them for a couple of shows, including the March 15 episode of Quit! 

Dan and I took a few calls and chatted about how I became a freelancer. You can listen to the show over at the 5by5 site.

Edge-Painted Business Cards

Ansa Copeland

After much futzing, I am finally happy with my business cards. I've been through several designs in the last year and none of them "passed muster". Iterative design process, indeed.

Part of the problem has been with nailing down my own branding. I assume it will always be a work in progress but I think these cards should hold up pretty well. Or at least I won't be sick of them by the time I use the last one.

I knew I wanted my brand to show my love of classic, clean and high quality craftsmanship. But I also wanted them to have an element of the handmade. I knew I wanted edge-painted, letter-pressed cards on 160lbs cotton paper...

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Favorite Things of 2012

Ansa Copeland

2012 is over! I'm looking forward to a new year and to new discoveries. But in an effort to remember my favorite things / moments of 2012, here is a list. Also, its an excuse to make a list...

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