David Knell | Portfolio (for Coda)

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Hi! I'm David!

Interface Designer

System Architect

Solution Maker

Idea Communicator

. . . oh, and one other thing . . .
David Knell profile.png

Coda Lover!

Coda is the ultimate platform. I use it every day. It’s the tool that saved me from all of the overly-opinionated productivity apps I used for a decade in my search to find the right one for me. Now, I don’t search—I make!
I’ve used Coda to: decide where to live, find my current job, write a novel, name a baby, and . . . apply to work at Coda!
I have only one , and it’s about Coda 😆
Coda’s Twitter asked a question, and I 😂

Why do I want to work at Coda?

I love the product. Coda is mind-bendingly powerful and luxuriously flexible. But also simple. How, you ask? Because it’s atomic. Like chess or Go or nature itself, the complexity comes in its use, but the tool itself is made from pure, un-opinionated building blocks. I’m a systems thinker. I want to help create toolsets that makers can use to build whatever they want.
I love Shishir’s philosophy and vision that anybody should be able to be an app-maker. I want to use my talents, skills, and experience to help realize that vision!

Design Portfolio

But without further ado, the reason you came here today . . .
These projects are from my previous company, Sawtooth Software. Projects from my current company, Lytho, will be added shortly.

Some Accomplishments

A few ways I've improved companies and products:

Combined six disjointed web apps into one user experience.

Seeing the pain and frustration of navigating several distinct web experiences, I architected a single, streamlined web experience for users with varying needs and goals. Through formal presentations and casual conversations, I earned the buy-in of the whole company. Now we're well on our way to realizing the vision; of the six apps, three are now a single user experience.

Established the UX practice at two companies, bringing design culture, practice, and processes into developer-centered orgs.

When I joined the two companies where I was a designer, there had never been a UX designer or UX practice before. I introduced each company to UX values, practices, and processes, evangelizing design and changing the culture and development life cycles. It's gone so well that the company hired a second designer.

Created a new design system from scratch

Our UI styles were old and numerous, so I set out to create a new design system that better expressed the company's brand identity. After thorough internal research to understand and codify our identity, I developed a design system that better reflected that identity while bringing our style up to modern aesthetic standards. I crafted a component library in Figma, working closely with our front-end developers as they constructed a corresponding Angular component library.

Improved the Product Development Life Cycle

Our process was broken, so I conducted an internal investigation that identified its biggest problems. It was clear that our development process was struggling, leading to roadblocks, miscommunication, and frustration. I offered to do a formal research project to uncover what was going wrong. I conducted the research, synthesized the findings, and proposed solutions. My proposals were implemented, and as a result, we made major changes that have dramatically improved the direction and throughput of our development strategy and process, including fully adopting an agile development process (Scrum).
Feel free to ask me more about any of these projects or those in the section.

About Me


I collaborate openly with PMs, developers, stakeholders, and other designers.


My approach is to always see beyond an individual design to the larger user needs, technology constraints, and business goals.


I have managed employees (teams of 6 and 4), co-directed managers (6) and employees (~40), and hired and mentored other designers.


I bring an extra level of writing and communication quality to every project.

🗺 I’ve been a . . .

California baby (1 year)
New England toddlah (2 years)
Maryland child and teenager (16 years)
France jeune homme (2 years)
Utah adult (13 years)
North Carolina newbie (1 ½ years)

✍️ Writing

I’m writing a . It’s really hard, but I’m determined! 💪 ✏️
(Using Coda to write my novel allows me to finally organize my notes, scenes, drafts, etc. in the ways I’ve always wanted to but never found a writing app that could handle it.)
Every so often, I write and share a few life lessons and so if I get hit by that proverbial bus, some of what I’ve learned will stick around and maybe benefit someone.

🔨 Productivity Tinkering

Over the years, I’ve used Things, Evernote, Trello, Workflowy, Todoist, TheBrain, and more. But since 2019 it has meant Coda!
GTD is the method I keep coming back to. (”I’ve made a lot of special modifications myself.”)
I’ve also developed my own , which is the basis for my primary productivity Coda doc.

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Family

👩🏻 Wife
👧🏼 Daughter (7)
👧🏼 Daughter (5)
👦🏼 Son (< 1)

📚 Fiction

Currently reading:
🎧 Silver on the Tree (the last Dark is Rising book)
📖 Good Omens
📖 Dune Messiah
📖 The Silmarillion

📽 Film

Recently watched:
🎞 Spirited Away 🐉
🎞 The Perks of Being a Wallflower 💔
🎞 Dune (again) 🪱

🍽 Food

🍣 Sushi (all the sauces, please)
🍦 Ice cream (bonus points if it’s local)
🍿 Popcorn (homemade)

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