Hi, I'm Patrick Thornton

I love design, user experience, product design, technology, the Internet, media, journalism and information. I'm fascinated by the intersection of all of them.

I'm a user experience and usability expert. I'm also an experienced product designer and leader. I use human-centered design principles to build great websites and products for companies. I also run usability studies and design sprints.

I'm currently the senior director of user experience and strategy at CQ Roll Call, part of The Economist Group. CQ Roll Call is a SaaS product and information company that designs software to help people understand what is happening with legislation at the national and state levels, as well as how to take action to influence legislation and politicians. I lead a team of designers, front-end developers and ux specialists to build usable products that delight users.

Prior to that, I was the director of digital products at Washingtonian, where I led a mobile-first redesign of all of our digital products. I led a team of designers, developers and producers to make kick-ass products that made users happy.

I led the Society for Science & the Public's and it's two publication, Science News and Science News for Students, usability and social media efforts. I was able to grow Science News's Twitter and Facebook followers to above 1 million each.

I ran New York University's grant-funded journalism project BeatBlogging.org. The project studied how journalists used social media and other Web tools to improve beat reporting. I write articles for the journalism think tank Poynter.org on online journalism, social media and how computers are changing journalism.

You can find my full work history in my résumé. You can email me at patrickwthornton [at] gmail [dot] com or send me a tweet.

Thanks for stopping by.

My product design process


I kick off every major project with usability studies, user interviews, surveys and other research to help understand user needs before we think about designing anything. This helps us frame the challenge and understand where we need to go.


Once we have established what we need to do from a high level, we begin the design process. I run design sprints and daily design demos and critiques. My team follows a human-centered design process that incorporates user feedback before, during and after the design process.


Design is not done until it is in code (or a physical prototype). With needing to deliver designs that may need to work from a smartwatch to a phone to a tablet to a computer and maybe a voice AI component thrown in, we have to keep iterating once the building process begins.

Rinse and repeat