Poster Design/Human Factors: Improvements to GitHub Error Recovery


Github provides code repositories that end users can share with a larger development community. While developers love the programming friendly way to setup repositories, understanding the logic can be difficult for entry level users and self-taight programmers.

Specifically, the error messaging when a user ended up at an URL that seemed technically correct lead to a 400 error page that didn't redirect the user back to the intended page. As an entry-level programmer, it is already difficult to pick up a new skill; why not make Github more friendly to entry level users by providing more information on the error page?

Shot of suggested edits to a portion of the 404 error screen.

During the poster presentation, I spoke to Daniel Kahneman's theories on learning, and infused those with new ways to setup the error page messaging.

Shot of suggested edits to a portion of the 404 error screen.


User Population

New users and aspiring software programmers are not familiar with Github's logic and flow of information


Language acquisition, especially later in life, starts with cognitive strain. The goal is for GitHub users to navigate with cognitive ease.

Behavioral Objective

During learning, recovering from an error needs to happen with ease. Otherwise, the mental energy that it takes to complete more complex tasks might become depleted.

To help users acheive desired behavior, consolidating choices based on scenarios can help users get back on track. A quick recovery can also save conscious learning for more difficult tasks.


  • Keep the GitHub cat - the figure evokes a fun trust.
  • Combine the cat's figure with helpful text.
  • Use the same error messaging across instances.
  • Persuasive Rationale

  • Anticipating the user's need through tunnling can get users to the right place.
  • Presenting error scenarios to the user, rather than suggesting an unspecified 404 error, will help users decrease cognitive strain.
  • A chat option can also provide another option for real-time recovery.
  • Measuring Effectiveness

    Tracking link clicks and chat interactions with the new landing page design can help to determine which path is most common.

    Skills Used: Poster Design, Design Thinking, Storytelling

    Who am I?

    I make the non-linear clearer.

    I am a hybrid Content and UX Designer with a love of writing, photography, graphic design, strategy, and mapping. What I care about is helping people and organizations reach their goals of increasing quality, both in terms of product and process.

    Hobbies: Taking photos of porches, baking, hiking, drawing, running, painting, and listening to music.


    Image of charts with survey data results for participants who answered the question - Do members of your community vote?

    Surveys: Who Registers to Vote?

    After studying best practices for survey design, our group asked a sample of people about their voting behaviors and preferences.

    Success, Access, and Innovation bubbles with recommendations

    Information Architecture: Maryland Higher Education Commission

    Another project at The University of Baltimore required rethinking the information architecture for Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC).

    Blurred out image of a gaze plot

    User Research: Public Housing Authority Project

    At The University of Baltimore, my team was tasked with completing a eyetracking research project for a local housing authority.

    Image of a group of researchers testing paper protypes of a mobile design.

    Interaction Design: Hosts for Humanity

    Our group got to work with local non-profit Hosts for Humanity to build a new booking process. Based on research, our group prototyped a mid-fielity mobile site experience, and I was the lead on creating the asset in Axure.

    Chart with cognitive learning principles.

    Poster Design: Redesigning Error Messaging on Github

    Speaking from experience, learning to code is intimidating! And while the developer community is generally friendly, learning how developers work takes patience, time, and resiliance. What can Github do to help users, especially those learning to program, recover from errors while using the application?

    Gloo map with results of data from the contextual inquiry.

    User Research: Improving the Admissions Customer Experience

    A university wanted deeper insights about improving the overall admissions experience for potential students. Using contextual inquiry methods, the group I worked with pinpointed pain points and suggested potential solutions.


    eCommerce Specialist (Mar 2020 - Present)
    QA Analyst (Feb 2019 - Feb 2020)

    Money Map Press

    Perform checks in staging and production environments for a multitude of projects, including development deployments and site configuration changes. Troubleshoot coding errors and clean up HTML/CSS on existing pages.

  • Significantly reduced ordering errors and increased responsive design output.
  • Contributed to eComm and promotional team efforts with designing with HTML/CSS, system maintenance, data analysis, cross-browser/device testing, and project management.

  • February 2019 - Present

    Data Analyst and Administrator

    The Park School - Baltimore

    Provided data administration in Raiser's Edge for the development and fundraising department. I mastered comparing large data sets in Excel with VLookup, served as the project lead for the annual report data listings, and provided data for monthly board reporting

    October 2017 - January 2019

    Contract Web Content Specialist

    Johns Hopkins Medicine

    Worked within Drupal and Confluence to setup new navigation structures for an association website release.

    August 2018 - September 2018 (Temporary Contract)

    Implementation Specialist


    Provided a bi-weekly online training about managing responsive web content and generating emails in StarChapter. Updated HTML, CSS, and PHP code as needed to meet the customer's design requirements. Provided technical support, product assistance and training to the customer base of board members of local associations.

  • Gathered requirements and setup 100+ business systems with websites and relational databases for new customers.
  • March 2015 - June 2017

    Recruiter - Creative and Technology

    Creative Circle

    I interviewed more than 300 job applicants for positions in design, copywriting, marketing, project management, art direction, UX design, and account management.

    May 2012 - March 2015


    University of Baltimore

    M.S. Student in Interaction Design and Information Architecture (IDIA)
    Current Coursework: Sequential Visualization and Analysis

    My goal in pursuing a Master's degree in IDIA at The University of Baltimore is to research accessbility for voice and gestural based devices. Part of this research is becoming technically proficient in programming interfaces.

    January 2020 - Present

    University of Baltimore

    UX Certificate
    Coursework in Design Psychology, Interaction Design, User Research Methods, and Information Architecture

    GPA: 4.00

    August 2018 - May 2019

    The Graduate Center at CUNY

    M.A. in Liberal Studies with a focus on Gender and Sexuality Studies
    PhD Level Coursework in Educational + Developmental Psychology, Sociology, and Political Philosophy. I pursued this program with a goal of applying for PhD programs; however, I decided to go into the private sector.
    May 2008 - January 2011

    New York University

    B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication, minors in English Literature and Sociology
    September 2001 - May 2004


    Professional in Human Resources Certification (PHR)

    May 2014 - Present


    Tools and Languages & Tools
    • HTML/CSS
    • Research Methodologies
    • JavaScript (Beginner)
    • Photoshop/InDesign
    • Wireframing Tools (Miro, Figma, LucidChart)
    • Responsive Design
    • Excel/Google Analytics
    • Content Management Systems (Various)
    Graduate Level Coursework
    • Interaction Design
    • Information Architecture
    • Intro to JavaScript
    • User Research Methods
    • Humans, Computers, and Cognition
    • Educational Psychology
    • Developmental Psychology
    • Rethinking Neoliberalism