I typically work with a cross-functional team to research, design, prototype, test, and demo new ideas to improve customer experiences with insurance to banking and everything in between. I'm part UX/Interaction Designer, part relationship-builder, part mentor, and fully in beta.
I'm a Pakistani-Canadian who works in Kitchener-Waterloo (~80km south of Toronto). I live with my wife, Sehrish, in Mississauga (~25km south of Toronto).
I'm tech-agnostic but have gravitated towards designing for the Apple ecosystem and the web. My preferred tools are Sketch, InVision, Flinto for Mac, Keynote, stickies, ample wall-space, and pen-and-paper. I'm comfortable switching between high-level UX strategy and pixel-level details. I adapt my process to every project, but I typically go through a few cycles of divergent and convergent design. When needed, I facilitate Design Sprints and group workshops. I occasionally dabble in code, too.
- James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem
I'm interested in tackling problems that lie in the messy intersection of technology, business, and the human condition. Being a designer grants me the ability to craft solutions that are a blend of art and science, and I find that very energizing.
I'm driven by a combination of restlessness with the status quo and a pursuit of meaningful change that positively impacts human experiences.
I believe the world's most wicked problems can be solved with nuanced perspective, deep empathy, systems-thinking, a pursuit for excellence, optimism, patience, and a healthy dose of good humour.
I also have a soft spot for all narratives cerebral, daring, and bittersweet.
I was trained as a Computer Scientist at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. The early part of my career saw me through a number of very technical roles, from Linux System Adminstration at a rapid-growth startup to QA Support and Software Development at Morgan Stanley.
Finding that I most enjoyed my roles whenever there was a human element to the job, I switched paths and earned a MBA from Ivey Business School. Not only did I surround myself with people who were unlike me (management consultants, investment bankers, etc.) but I also caught the Lean Startup bug and plunged into my first startup with my co-founder.
Working on my startup put me right square in the product design / customer development realm of building and I haven't looked back. I poured into as much as I could learn about design and modern entrepreneurship from blog posts to online courses and conferences. I have the privilege to have been trained in-person by Jeff Gothelf, Kim Goodwin, the wonderful folks at Cooper U, and plenty more.
“When faced with a problem, Ali looks at it from multiple points of view and comes up with creative solutions to them. He is a gifted, strategic and innovative thinker. This makes him an ideal person to rely on to design experiments, gather data and make a decision in an uncertain and undefined environment. I would not hesitate to work with him again on any future projects”
“His constant quest to learn, adapt and apply professional lessons proves Ali's ability to be an active contributor on any team. He is a very experienced professional and is able to promote personal and professional improvements among those around him.”
“Ali is an exceptional manager and an outstanding design mentor. Ali was my design manager at the RED Lab where I would watch him consistently empathize with users and put a great focus on streamlining the process of users getting to their needs. Through his guidance, Ali inspired me with his design vision and insightful feedback.”
“I had the privilege to be on the same team as Ali for more than a year while at Morgan Stanley. Ali has a strong focus on the clients and users. His positive, calm and composed demeanour allows him to handle even the toughest clients and effectively analyze issues at hand. Furthermore, Ali's excellent communication skills enable him to present his ideas clearly. This is extremely crucial considering the globally dispersed team. Additionally, being a sociable person, Ali often voluntarily organizes social or charity events that help the team gel together. In summary, Ali is a great asset to any organization.”
“Ali worked on our team as a coder and development lead, creating and fighting through roadblocks tirelessly. Ali was also an advocate of clean design and user friendliness; attacking usability issues at an early stage which allowed the design team to tackle imminent roadblocks before they became transparent. Ali's calming presence, openness and honesty were essential in times where problems existed and needed to be acknowledged, not hidden.
Working with Ali was a huge education for me in how to communicate with a team and keeping them on track. I would not hesitate in recommending Ali as a high-yield professional, for he would be an asset to any organization!”
Shura - White Light (Extended Mix)
The Fifth Discipline - Peter M. Senge
How to play the ukulele