illustration portraying me juggling user experience, technology, and business goals

I design workflow tools for people.

I've worked at developer focused organizations like Apollo GraphQL, Netlify, GitHub, and appendTo where I design and build workflow tools for humans who bring code to life.

illustration portraying me juggling user experience, technology, and business goals
Research, strategy, prototyping, design, code

Core disciplines

I use imagination, drawing, writing, design tools, and code to solve business problems with software solutions.

Design process

Product development is an ongoing cycle of identifying problems and opportunities, exploring solutions, shipping to real people, listening to feedback, iterating, and measuring results. This is how I work.

An illustration depicting the product development cycle


Apollo GraphQL

Sr. Staff Product Designer 2020 – 2021

Apollo makes tools for GraphQL developers. I led product design for developer tooling on Apollo Studio, a collaboration platform for graph maintainers and consumers.

Illustration of a GraphQL symbol being assembled, packaged into a box, and then shipped out on a conveyor belt


Human 2019

In 2019 I took time away from my career work to focus on restoring balancing to my life, refueling my soul, face my mental health, and re-sync with the rhythm of my family.

Illustration of a sign hanging on a wall that says AWAY


Head of Design 2018

Netlify lets developers host static websites and hook them up to powerful backend functionality. I helped build it's growing design team, and did product and marketing design for key projects.

Product illustration for Netlify's core product concept


Product Design Lead 2013 – 2018

I designed and built experiences for the millions of people who use GitHub every day, including Code Review Requests, Code Owners, Protected Branches, the Package Registry, and the Checks API.

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Visual Design Engineer, Tech Lead 2012 – 2013

I was a front-end developer focused on implementing designs for client projects such as the responsive redesign of,, and others.

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CURE International

Principal Designer 2011 – 2012

Web & Graphic Designer 2009 – 2011

Responsible for design across all mediums including print, web, UX, and brand for a global network of charitable hospitals.

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workflow illustration of code review collaboration on GitHub

JAG Design Ideas

Founder 2004 – 2016

Provided contract design and development services for NGOs, startups, and agencies.

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My clients have included organizations such as StackOverflow, AndCulture, CURE International, Spreadshirt, Papertrail, and many more.


Adjunct Professor 2008-2012

Taught non-credit technology courses to continuing education students, including Intro to Web Development, Photoshop, Illustrator, Computer Basics, and Digital Photography.

Illustration of a book and an apple.


I would emphasize his particular thoughtfulness in producing a collaborative environment for peers to offer influence and feedback in his work. He has produced so much context around user problems that I still work off of, and the output of his time at GitHub will remain a great resource for many projects.”

Profile photo of Kathy Zheng

Kathy Zheng

GitHub colleague

Watching Joel's design process unfold was a delight, and the care and mindfulness he infused in every step was inspirational. He is supremely talented, but even above that, he is a thoughtful, conscientious, open minded, positive individual that makes the work environment more inclusive and welcoming for everyone.”

Profile photo of Elizabeth Barron

Elizabeth Barron

GitHub colleague

What stands out most about Joel is that he is an exceptional person to have on a team. People love working with him. Joel communicates well, articulates himself clearly, provides objective feedback, praises when people do well, and speaks up when things aren’t great.”

Profile photo of Cameron McEfee

Cameron McEfee

GitHub manager

Joel is not just a gifted product designer, he also has the patience, dedication and work ethic that motivates the rest of the team. He is one of those colleagues that you wish you could have on every project.”

Profile photo of Jialee Chau

Jialee Chau

GitHub colleague

I consider Joel a rare and genuine soul, an incredibly capable teammate, and strong project leader. I'm thankful to continue to work with him in a volunteer capacity and would be glad to collaborate professionally once again.”

Profile photo of Joel Worrall

Joel Worrall

CURE manager, HospitalRun co-founder

During his time at CURE International, Joel was a key player in transitioning CURE International's web presence from an awful legacy website to a world class platform that has received numerous awards and accolades. Given the opportunity, I would hire Joel in a heartbeat.”

Profile photo of John Kleinschmidt

John Kleinschmidt

CURE colleague, HospitalRun co-founder

I'd been impressed with Joel's design talent well before he joined the team at appendTo. Once on board, his other technical skills were put to use on numerous projects. Joel's passion for his craft and enthusiasm he brought to his projects were immediately visible.”

Profile photo of Doug Neiner

Doug Neiner

AppendTo colleague

Personal projects

an illustration of me digging with a shovel
Apollo Midnight theme screenshot

Apollo Midnight theme

Creator 2020

A VS Code theme based on the color palette of Apollo Studio's GraphQL Explorer in dark mode.

HospitalRun screenshot


Co-founder 2014 – 2019

An open source, offline first EMR designed for hospitals in resource constrained locations using Ember.js, Couch, Pouch, and Node.

6.2k 2k 243
Dev Tees screenshot

Dev Tees

Creator 2012 – Present

A line of t-shirts for developers started with the help of nearly 500 Kickstarter backers in 2013. screenshot

Creator 2012-2015

A job board and job seeker site for connecting remote employees with new opportunities. Acquired by LiftUX, 2015.

Fizzy syntax theme screenshot

Fizzy syntax theme

Creator 2014 - Present

A custom syntax theme for Atom with bright and bubbly colors.

64k 4
Resume template screenshot

Resume template

Creator 2015 - Present

A simple Jekyll-powered resume template for GitHub Pages sites.

1.4k 1.3k 19
Minima screenshot


Creator 2014

The default Jekyll theme that shipped with the release of Jekyll 2.0.

2.5k 2.6k 70