Joseph Calarco smiling in a plaid button down shirt.

One collaborative design process

into another...

I had been a theater artist and educator for years. These experiences gave me invaluable tools to enrich my processes in the world of UX and Product Design. Before I even knew what UX Design was, I had been preparing for it for most of my life.

Like a lot of folks in the field, I started off as an actor. I worked in the Chicago theatre scene before moving to California for my MFA.  I helped create a theater company.  I did some film. Did a bit of TV. I fell in love with both audio design and show direction, and rapidly made a name for myself in both areas. I was recognized by awards organizations and press for my first efforts. Stage & Cinema called me "the best director of his age in Los Angeles." In 2019 I became Co-Artistic Director. Everything seemed to be going right when...

Well, I'm sure you can guess.  Like it did for so many of us, Covid changed my life.

I had already been enamored of emerging technology, particularly spatial head mounted devices such as Virtual and Augmented Reality.  I began working with a stealth startup made up of engineering alumni from the Google Spotlight Stories on tools to create live performance scenarios in XR. I became obsessed with researching and devising methods to interact with the tool based on the expectations and needs of different disciplines. I soon found that what I was obsessing over was the process of UX without knowing it. 

I began to notice how much the process mirrored what I had been doing for most of my career. They both have research (dramaturgy), sketches (blocking rehearsals), low and high fidelity wireframes (run-throughs and tech), and the final prototype (dress rehearsals.). There's a fundamental desire to help users, and to build on their input. And there's a great need to understand flow and the interplay of aesthetics on user experience.


Yup, I've been preparing for UX all this time. And I couldn't love it more.