Product designer and manager with over 20 years' experience leading design across agency, startup, and corporate

Tony Portrait Bio Photo
Short Story or Long Story

I have worked as a design professional for over 20 years since the days of 800x600 design comps, table layouts, and limited font choices. I honed my skills with digital agencies for the first 12 years of my journey before moving to in-house product, but from 2000 to 2003 were my formative years as a designer. I transitioned from struggling to find a job out of college to heading the creative department of the southeast's leading web agency within three years.


Chapter One

Baptism of fire

My journey began with Datapac as part of a nine-month venture examining the viability of e-commerce solutions. The brief was to design a library of core templates and design assets for a product called Intershop, assist a team of developers in implementing these layouts, and train the developers to create new designs based on the templates. It was my first time working closely with an engineering team, and I learned to include dev in the design process from the outset.

Later in 2000, I joined Web I.T. as a junior designer, and over the next two years, I refined my design skills under the mentorship of the Creative Director, an ex-architect who had worked in the US with clients such as Nike. His approach was to focus on functionality and delivering clean, simple, and easy-to-use products. It was also my first time being part of a design team, and I worked under the watchful eye of an incredible design lead and NCAD graduate with very high design standards. I became a senior designer in January 2003, and shortly afterward, with the departure of the Creative Director, I assumed design management and creative vision responsibilities for all agency projects, as well as overseeing the hiring and mentorship of designers.


Chapter Two

Deep house

In September 2003, I moved to Dublin and joined Webmedia as a senior designer. Webmedia was a relatively young agency with a client list of Dublin's top clubs and venues, ski resorts, and event companies. It was the kind of office where deep house played on a mini-disc player in the background, and indoor smoking was allowed. Over the course of the next three years, the company matured, changed its smoking policy, relocated offices, and shifted its focus primarily to servicing the hotel industry.


Chapter Three

Awards, awards, awards

I joined Lightbox as Design Lead, where I would stay for six years. In November 2007, one year after my arrival, Lightbox won "Best Web Design & Development Agency" at the Eircom Spider Awards. Four other projects I had designed also won awards at the event. Lightbox was the highlight of my agency career; we enjoyed a string of successes, garnered more awards, expanded the company, and worked with an array of incredible clients. I also had the opportunity to collaborate with Niall Harbison on, which led to him and Sean Fee appearing on Dragons Den in 2008, as well as a full freelance redesign of


Chapter Four

Turning heads in Silicon Valley

In May 2012, I joined SkillPages in Dublin. A few weeks later, we initiated a full overhaul of both the mobile and web platforms. "SkillPages 2" or "SP2" involved close collaboration with the CEO, C-level executives, and department heads to achieve the design vision through balancing business objectives and user needs. The new platform was released in November 2012 and received positive worldwide feedback from members, as well as turning heads in Silicon Valley. There was a dramatic increase in new user acquisition along with increased user engagement and content generation after the release, leading the platform to grow from five million members to over 26 million. This was a jump in growth from one million users per year to over seven million per year.


Chapter Five

Next level research

I joined Paddy Power in January 2015 as one of two product design managers, working with UX researchers, UX architects, and UI designers across multiple cross-functional teams. The organisation's dedicated research team and UX maturity, along with matching resources, offered a great opportunity to further enhance my research knowledge. It turned out to be a period of exciting change for the organisation, with multiple restructures and a merger with Betfair taking place throughout my time there. While it presented challenges, such as assuming leadership when my team grew to over 20 due to the departure of the Director of Product and my product design manager counterpart, it also provided incredible opportunities. Directly managing the research team allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of their inner workings. I left in July 2016, having successfully led my team through the multi-billion euro merger.


Chapter Six

Breaking new ground

In 2017, I set up my own freelance business, providing services to Easytrip and other SMEs. This afforded me the opportunity to relocate from Dublin to Wicklow, bidding farewell to the rental market after 17 years and embarking on the ambitious endeavour of renovating an 1800s farmhouse to fulfil a mortgage-free dream. I personally undertook all renovation work while utilising a combination of savings and freelance income to fund the project.

With Easytrip, my primary freelance client, I was engaged to tackle a range of challenges and opportunities. As part of a holistic design strategy, three key projects were identified: upgrading the internal CRM to replace a legacy system, implementing a responsive API-enabled customer portal allowing business customers to manage their fleets and accounts, and developing native iOS and Android apps empowering personal customers to manage their vehicles, accounts, tolling, and parking.

The strategy had a significant impact on Easytrip. The new CRM led to an increase in agent productivity and a 90% reduction in customer service calls related to billing issues. Historically, customer service had a 90% call centre and a 10% online split across the business, but that changed to just 20% call centre and 80% online. The customer portal was a resounding success, as small business customers began dealing with the majority of account-related tasks themselves. This consequently led to a significant reduction in customer service requests from this cohort. The mobile apps have also had over 100,000 downloads, demonstrating both their popularity and usability.

Overall, the operational savings achieved, coupled with the increase in customer satisfaction rates, empowered the organisation to resell its unused call centre capacity to other organisations. This, in turn, led to the expansion of the customer service department. Not only were redundant tasks eliminated, but Easytrip were empowered to capitalise on new revenue streams. The success of the design strategy facilitated a profound business transformation and played a pivotal role in Easytrip's sale to DKV Mobility at the end of 2023.

Renovation Montage


Chapter Seven

Seeking incredible humans

I am actively searching for a full-time position with a team of exceptional individuals dedicated to crafting outstanding digital product and guided by robust and authentic leadership. Ideally, a hybrid work arrangement rather than fully remote or entirely on-site positions. Get in touch on LinkedIn or email tonyodonohoe {at} gmail {dot} com

I am a people-first design manager

Tony is incredibly encouraging, highly approachable, kind and supportive, which has enabled me to produce some of my best design work to date.
A true leader, his passion for the end product and the team that makes it is clear throughout the entire process from conception to delivery.
Tony’s ability to provide direction to a diverse team of UX, UI and Research Professionals of varying levels is second to none.
Tony led us through a number of difficult key product releases. He introduced several inspiring and motivating internal design initiatives.
I cannot speak highly enough of Tony. He is one of those rare people who goes the extra mile for people.
An incredibly talented designer who never identifies a problem without bringing a solution to the table.


I am a product designer and product design manager, with over 20 years’ experience, spanning agency, high-growth startup and corporate. Throughout my career I have worked on all aspects of the product life cycle from the initial stages of discovery and user research through to design, user testing, iteration, build, launch, measuring impact and beyond. As both a product designer and manager, I am just as comfortable designing award winning products as I am leading large teams of design professionals.

I thrive collaborating with department leaders effectively implementing design strategies throughout an organisation. As a manager I have an inherently positive attitude and a naturally authentic management style that cultivates trust and empowers people to achieve their best results. I am a people-first leader and I strongly believe in fostering an environment where teams are set up to win and given the trust to make key and impactful decisions.

In addition to my expertise in desktop and mobile design, I have also successfully worked in various other domains, including firmware, print, email marketing, software design, administration interface design, TV, terminals and POS systems.

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