About me

Hi 👋🏼 I'm Sarah.

My work is dedicated to helping people design products that are worthy of trust.

A leading expert in trust, design and technology, I have a well-founded reputation for my work to make trustworthy products the expectation, not the exception.

"Sarah is probably the great mind of our time about services earning trust." - John Maeda, 2024

I'm founder and CEO of Projects by IF

I started IF in 2016. We are a design and strategy team. We help our clients make the leap to trust, by delivering digital strategies and experiences that meet their strategic objectives.

We maintain and host an open source design pattern catalogue that helps teams build services that earn trust.

Clients include TikTok, Lloyds Banking Group and UK Government. Check out some of our case studies on our website.

Why I think in systems

I read Architecture at university. Architecture is not only about designing buildings, it's also about material exploration and communities.

When I entered the digital profession I understood that material exploration and thinking about communities was rare for designers. The orthodoxy is to design from the user's experience, to think of that experience as individualistic and make it delightful and easy.

This is well intentioned. But it creates challenges. Designing delightful and easy to use interfaces requires abstraction from what is actually happening within the stack of the service. How the service actually works, in particular what goes on when software is involved, is not legible in the interface. That lack of legibility causes distrust.

The lack of legibility with increasingly complex technologies like AI causes problems for people, societies and businesses alike. Problems from consumer harm, to data breaches and inequality.

In Architecture, no one would design a building without understanding the land or the environment that the building sits within. But in digital design, the user's need, delight and ease are prioritised.

We need to update our design methodologies and ways of working to emphasise legibility of the systems we use. To design "beautiful seams".

A quote by Bret Victor that says, social activists typically fight by organising but you can fight by inventing, letter-pressed in blue ink on a white postcard
One of my favourite quotes by Bret Victor, letter-pressed by me