E-mail: david@mentalmodels.com

Over 20 years of "in the trenches" experience in User Interface Design and Implementation of feature rich business class applications. Involved in all stages of the Product Realization process beginning with interaction with Product Management and Customers to build consensus among stakeholders, continuing with the Information Architecture and Interaction Design, leading interdisciplinary teams to realize these designs, conducting lean tests to validate and evolve these designs and managing engineering teams to carry out these designs.

I have a strong belief in a highly interactive, iterative, and multidisciplinary design process including task analysis, focus groups, storyboarding, prototyping and lean testing. Successful at combining the best of Agile Approaches for timely delivery with a Strategic perspective. The goal is an implementable, usable, and supportable design solution that pushes the envelope of functionality and innovation.


Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology
Dissertation Title: "Towards an Information Processing View of Graph Comprehension".
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
BA in Psychology and Biology


Information Architect, Interaction Designer, Principal
Mental Models, New York and San Francisco Bay Area
  • Mental Models, Inc. is a boutique design company located in San Francisco Bay Area and New York. We employ a multidisciplinary approach to the iterative user-centric design process and specialize in feature-rich web and mobile applications. Established in 1994, we have provided user experience design, creative and technical resources to over 75 large, medium and small companies across the United States and abroad.
    • Personally responsible for the interaction design and information architecture for all projects.
    • Function as an individual contributor, in-house manager, or manager of a consultant design team depending on the needs of the project.
    • Multiple experiences building and managing a multidisciplinary team including, engineers, usability professionals, visual designers, graphic artists, and copywriters.
    • Thorough knowledge of the capabilities of current UI technologies including native desktop and mobile applications as well as the gamut of Web-based adaptive interfaces.
  • Experience with products ranging from portals to enterprise applications including:
    • Zendesk: Cloud-based Customer Service Software for Happier Customers and more Productive Teams.
    • First Data: Financial Services Back Office Replatforming.
    • Elance (Merged with oDesk, relaunched as Upwork): Online Staffing Platform.
    • Humana: Experience Transformation for Small Business Health Care Benefits Selection.
    • AnyCloud: Cross-cloud Photo Organizer.
    • ShelfLife: Virtual Book shelf on Facebook.
    • Adaptive Computing: Moab® Cloud Suite intelligent cloud management platform.
    • Mayo Clinic Health Solutions: MMSI Online Service Center.
    • Cardinal Health: PatientScribe tablet and software for delivering clinical services to patients.
    • Attributor (Acquired by Digimarc): Content Protection for News, Video Games, Magazines and Books.
    • Fanfare (Acquired by Spirent): iTest Automated Testing Solution for Systems and Devices.
    • IQNavigator: Procurement and Spend Management Solutions for Contingent Labor and Outside Services.
    • First to File (Acquired by CPA Global): Electronic File Room™ (EFR™)for patents.
    • Kachingle: Content Monetization Platform.
    • Warner Music Group: Artist and Fan Club Websites.
    • Interactive Data: Streaming real-time financial quotes, charts and news to a variety of mobile devices.
    • Epsilon: Dream platform for email communication solutions.
    • Taleo(Acquired by Oracle): On demand talent management solutions to assess, acquire, develop, and align workforce.
    • Syndera (Acquired by TIBCO): Real-time Business Intelligence Suite.
    • ReadyTouch: Touch-screen PC kiosks based point of sales systems.
    • Operative: Dashboard product for managing on-line advertising operations.
    • Cydelity: eSentry solution to detect, isolate and prevent online fraud.
    • Adobe: Eclipse-based development tools.
    • California ISO: State-wide energy trading application, Energy Market Participant Portal
    • Avaya: IP Office Suite including Phone Manager and Contact Center CRM software.
    • CenterRun (Acquired by Sun): System for automating the configuration and deployment of new application services in the datacenter (now Sun’s N1 offering).
    • XDx (Now CareDX): Biomedical laboratory accessioning application.
    • National Cancer Institute Center for Bioinformatics: Portal for the scientific researchers and clinicians.
    • CenterBeam (Acquired by EarthLink): Customer portal for outsourced IT services, Customer Care Console.
    • CXO Systems: Business visibility dashboards.
    • Nextance (Acquired by Versata): Enterprise software for contracts and commitments.
    • QAD: QAD eQ ERP Application.
    • Eloquent: Multimedia design, management and presentation applications.
    • Automated Power Exchange: Web-enabled real-time trading application for the power/electricity industry.
    • UpShot (Acquired by Siebel): Internet-based sales force automation.
    • Sponsorwise: Web-based system for posting and purchasing sponsorship properties.
    • Annuncio (Acquired by Oracle): Marketing platform.
    • Oncology Therapeutics Network: Lynx2OTN - "The Oncology Portal to the Internet"
    • World Telehealth: HealthePoint.com healthcare portal.
    • @TheMoment: Platform for real-time trading, TicketMaster ticket auction application.
    • Clarify (Now Amdocs ClarifyCRM): eFrontOffice eCommerce Platform (now Amdocs? ClarifyCRM eFrontOffice)
    • Novell: ManageWise network management application
    • Resumix (Acquired by Yahoo!): Human resource management application.
    • Oracle: Web-enabled document management system.
    • Documentum: Web-based document management, sales and marketing applications.
    • Fujitsu Network Services: Java-based network management application.
Industrial Design Director
Make Systems, Inc., Mountain View, CA
  • Design responsibilities. Responsible for design of all products across the company. Aspects addressed include user interface, function, graphics design, architecture, documentation, training, packaging, and marketing.
    • Designed corporate standards for object-oriented graphical user interfaces, help system, and on-line documentation based on the OSF/Motif user interface for NetMaker XA, a second generation product line of decision support tools for network management of enterprise-wide networks. This suite of applications won Best of Show at Interop+Networld '94 (now owned by OPNET Technologies, Inc.).
    • Established user paradigm for new products and detailed user interface design for key applications (e.g. Network Visualizer, Query Interface, Tool Manager.)
    • Designed user interface for Macintosh based sales force automation application. Product is currently in use by large corporate customer.
    • Developed rapid prototypes to aid in the design and communication of the standards.
    • Produced and delivered high quality demonstrations for press, analysts, and customers.
  • Management responsibilities. Coordinating manager for all R&D resources working on NetMaker XA.
    • Proposed, built, and managed Application Framework group to ensure the timely delivery of applications that met the highest standards of industrial design. The Framework provided a toolkit for building applications and consisted of an object-oriented database, a C++ class library, user interface services, and an integrated messaging system.
    • Management responsibility extended to the, Application User Interface developers, Graphics Designers, and Technical Documentation group including recruiting, hiring and budget
    • Managed the transition of R&D to object-oriented approaches, languages, and databases and ensured high code quality through defined standards, reviews, education, and recruiting.
Member of Technical Staff, User Interface Architecture Group
AT&T Bell Laboratories, Holmdel, NJ
  • User Interface design for telecommunications network management systems.
    • Interfaces were on the then cutting edge of interactive windowing graphics using X Windows, OPEN LOOK, and Motif.
    • Accumaster Integrator, the largest of these projects, was named "Product of the Year" (1989) by "Communications Week.
    • Developed user interface prototype and mockups on Sun Workstations.
    • Usability testing for network management systems: Produced questionnaires and interview materials, conducted evaluation of the user interface and Task Analysis at all beta sites.
    • Functionality included Configuration, Notification, Trouble Reporting and Tracking.
  • Established and evolved corporate user interface standards.
    • Coauthored the AT&T Network Management Graphical User Interface Standards and Guidelines and coordinated with external standards activities.
    • Developed user interface prototypes during design and to aid in the communication of the standards (Sun workstations and PC's.)
    • Managed the change control process for standards and certification of products following standards.
    • Provided support for products moving from older platforms to the then new generation of graphical user interface platforms (e.g., OPEN LOOK, OSF/Motif, Windows, and NewWave.)


1994 MAKE-IT-HAPPEN Individual Performance Award, 6/94
1993 MAKE-A-DIFFERENCE Individual Performance Award, 4/93
1991 AT&T Individual Performance Award, 3/91
1990 AT&T Individual Performance Award, 3/90
1989 AT&T Individual Performance Award, 7/89
1989 AT&T Individual Performance Award, 3/89
1983 Benton Underwood Summer Fellowship
1982 Northwestern University Fellowship (4 years)
1979 BA--Magna Cum Laude, General Honors, Honors in Psychology, Honors in Biology


Patent #6,505,088 for a novel USB based toy.


Mitchell, D. H., Harp, S. A., & Simkin, D. K. (1987). A knowledge engineer?s comparison of three evidence aggregation methods. Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence, (pp. 297-304). July 10 12, Seattle, WA.

Mulligan, R. M., Altom, M. W., & Simkin, D. K. (1992). User Interface Design When you Do Know How. Technical Correspondence in Communications of the ACM, 35:9 (September 1992),19-22.

Mulligan, R. M., Altom, M. W., & Simkin, D. K. (1991). User Interface Design in the Trenches: Some tips on shooting from the hip. CHI '91 Conference Proceedings, ACM, April 28-May 2, New Orleans, LA.

Simkin, D. K. (1985). [Review of Quantitative Analyses of Behavior. Volume IV. Discrimination Processes]. American Journal of Psychology, 98, 473-475. Simkin, D. K. (1987). [Discussion of Graphical Perception: The visual decoding of quantitative information on graphical displays of data]. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, 150, 224-225.

Simkin, D. K., Lederer, J. P., & Seligman, M. E. P. (1983). Learned Helplessness in groups. Behavior Research and Therapy, 21, 613-622.

Simkin, D. K. & Hastie, R. (1986). Towards an information processing view of graphical perception. Proceedings of the American Statistical Association, August, Chicago, IL.

Simkin, D. K. & Hastie, R. (1987). An information processing analysis of graph perception. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 82, 454-465.


Simkin, D. K. (1990, December). An OPEN LOOK at UNIX. Paper presented at FEDUNIX'90, Washington, DC

Simkin, D. K. (1986, August). Towards an information processing view of graphical perception. Invited paper presented at the 146th Annual Meeting of the American Statistical Association, Chicago, IL.

Simkin, D. K. (1986, May). Proactive interference in rat spatial memory. Paper presented at the meeting of the Midwest Psychological Association, Chicago, IL.


Place of Birth: Philadelphia, PA