Annette neu

Experience designer driven by data, empathy, craft, and creativity.  Currently at InStride designing solutions that help reduce barriers to higher education worldwide.

Work & Speaking

FedEx International Shipping Platform

Research, Strategy, Design

2017 – 2019
Annette Neu FedEx International Design Research

Led international design research and strategy for FedEx Ship Manager mapping customer workflows and needs across 7 countries, with the ultimate goal of defining a single, global solution for the multi-billion dollar B2B portfolio.

Facebook Special Projects

Research, Strategy, Design, Implementation

2018 – 2019

Was part of a multidisciplinary leadership team that worked closely with Facebook Special Projects to help them launch new products in new categories.

Southwestern University Experience

Research, Strategy, Design, Implementation

2017 – 2018
Annette Neu Southwestern University Website

Led a multidisciplinary team to conduct a brand and digital experience overhaul for Texas’ oldest liberal arts college, Southwestern University.

Audi Shared Fleet

Research, Strategy, Design, Implementation


Led a multidisciplinary team to develop a connected mobile experience, service and product design for one of the world’s leading car brands, helping Audi stay ahead of the curve in the rapidly changing mobility landscape.

Seattle Women + Design

An evening dedicated to highlighting the impact women are having in creating more diverse and inclusive cultures.

Austin Design Week
Annette Neu Austin Design Week

A focused talk plus hands-on activity focused on how best to set domestic and international research projects up for success.

Blucora Financial Wellness

Research, Strategy, Design, Implementation

2017 – 2019

Led the product evolution of Blucora’s financial health and wellness portfolio through domestic field research, product strategy, concept and usability testing, UI and product design, and content strategy and content production.

WP Engine Digital Experience Platform

Research, Strategy, Design


Led a multidisciplinary team to create a comprehensive guide to support the planning, design, and implementation of a winning DXP strategy developed in close partnership with WP Engine.

Nickelodeon Product Consolidation

Research, Strategy, Design

Annette Neu Nickelodeon

Digital business road-mapping, design, and concept validation for one of the world’s leading children’s entertainment brands.

Silvercar Portfolio Aquisition

Research, Strategy, Design, Implementation


Multidisplinary product work spanning four years and multiple products (Silvercar, Dealerware,  Audi Shared Fleet) culminating in a landmark acquisition of Silvercar by Audi.

Design Craft: Google Design
Annette Neu Design Craft Google Design

A Holistic Experience Design Conference  presented by Google and Handsome, covering topics relevant to designing for the modern human experience.

Circles Conference
Annette Neu Circles

A three-day design and development conference, where I gave a fun talk about how to make chaos and ambiguity your BFF. 

how I work

What’s in my design kitchen: how I lead multidisciplinary teams from research and strategy all the way through to design and implementation.

Leading Teams & Organizations

Building Multidisciplinary Teams

Creativity involves making connections between seemingly unrelated things and using your talents to come up with something new, which is why I invest in diverse, multidisciplinary teams over siloed. 

Balancing Processes & Methods with Creativity

I lead small teams of experts to leverage context, culture, creativity, and aspects of design thinking and agile to create beautiful and intuitive digital and physical experiences. 

Playing the Connective Tissue

Ongoing multi-departmental support and buy-in is crucial. I lead teams to not only deliver tactical designs for dev, but externalized artifacts from research and co-creation exercises to iteratively create a shared vision for the short-, mid-, and longterm.

Setting and Campaigning the North Star Vision

I lead with strong point of view. I lead though culture. And, I always, always, always lead alongside my team.

Research & Strategy

Leading International Field Research Teams

The world is becoming increasingly globalized, and we as creators have an incredible responsibility. From overcoming bias, to recruiting, to preparing, to conducting an interview, to in-field and dedicated synthesis—I know how to lead teams out of the building and into the world.

Conducting Generative & Evaluative Research

Whether you have some idea—or no idea—of what the solution is or could be, I can help you plan, prioritize, and conduct qualitative and quantitative design research to wrestle those noisy, chaotic problem spaces into a coherent narrative that inspires the rest of the team. 

Moderating & Facilitating Design Sprints

I’ve helped startups and Fortune 500 companies rapidly map a problem space, collaboratively pick an area of focus and sketch solutions, make difficult decisions as a team, and turn concepts into high-fidelity prototypes tested with real humans over the course of 3 to 5 days.

Generating Product & Service Roadmaps

I’ve partnered with some of the world’s biggest companies to break through bureaucracy and align disparate groups through the ongoing externalization of short-, mid-, and long-term experience roadmaps.

Design & Implementation

Creating Use Cases, Storyboards & Prototypes

I help create instant tangibility for teams and key stakeholders through storytelling and rapid prototyping methods, ranging from use cases to storyboarding to paper sketches to high-fidelity digital prototyping. 

Building Design & Content Systems

I lead teams to build detailed design systems that go beyond just collections of reusable components, and lay the foundation for meaningful, centralized, and evolving maps of a brand’s known product territories with directional pointers to help team members explore new regions.

Defining the Information Architecture & Narrative Flow

I help teams ensure the technical and operational feasibility of the experience through the creation of detailed information architecture, system maps and models, and/or the supporting documentation and diagrams to accompany the design direction and system describing the flow of information throughout the experience.

Iteratively Implementing & Launching Products & Services

Launch is just the beginning. I encourage teams to do an initial launch to a small set of users and quickly gather feedback and make updates. Once launched, we’re measure our KPIs and then it’s on to the next set of objectives.

Annette Neu Scout Enchanted Rock

About me

I love what I do, and I have a long track record of building successful design teams that help brands transform and grow over time. Currently, I lead design at InStride helping teams to create solutions that reduce barriers to higher education around the world. Prior to InStride, I was the Director of Experience Design at Handsome, an Austin-based design agency, where I toggled between executing personally and leading teams of experts to deliver seamless digital and physical consumer experiences.

Always informed by research, I’ve helped solve complex, human-centered problems for domestic and international brands like Audi, FedEx, Nickelodeon, Facebook, Blucora, Southwestern University, WP Engine, Chase Bank, Whole Foods Market, Silvercar, and most recently—InStride. I’m also a frequent speaker at conferences, and helped Handsome found DesignCraft to bring together designers, creators, and leaders with diverse backgrounds from all industries to spark and inspire new ideas.

Outside of work: I never rarely say no to an outdoor adventure, and I love a good story shared over a good drink… especially if those stories involve ghosts.

Contact me

Partnering with you in the field and learning about conversational empathy helped me identify gaps in this new department I’ve moved into. I really appreciate all the work you did for us.

Cullen Sanderson

Every day Annette was with Handsome was a day I grew as a designer, our team, and the company as a whole. 

Conner Drew
Senior Designer, Volvo cars technology

Let’s chat

Want to learn more about my work or speaking experience? Shoot me an email, or connect with me via LinkedIn!

Have a ghost story? I host a podcast featuring specialty cocktails and first-hand accounts of the supernatural called “Beer, Wine and Spirits!” If lore and libations are your thing, let’s swap spirit stories 👻 

I’ve also been known to create the occasional giant piñata, so if you ever find yourself in need of custom piñata co-captain, hit me up 🙂

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