Sarah Madden

User Experience & Design

I’m Sarah Madden, a multidisciplinary user experience designer in the San Francisco Bay Area. I enjoy leading design teams and working on many facets of web design—from product strategy to user experience, content and visual design to front-end development—to make interactions and information engaging, accessible, and beautiful.

Selected Projects


I’m Sarah Madden. I am a user experience designer and former urban planner (among other multidisciplinary habits) based in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. I enjoy working with interdisciplinary teams and making applications, interfaces, and data visualizations that are engaging and beautiful. I especially enjoy creating tools to support educated decision making.

I am the Senior Director of Design at GuideStar, where we publish and analyze data about nonprofits. At GuideStar, I lead the design team, and work closely with product managers and a distributed team of software developers to facilitate product development, conduct user research, and iterate on designs in both drawings and code. Before joining GuideStar, I was the Visual and User Experience (UX) designer with WestEd, a non-profit research, development, and service agency, and, while based in Massachusetts, I was a designer/urban planner at Sasaki, facilitating planning processes and developing interactive software tools for campus and municipal clients across the United States.

In past lives, I was a graduate student researcher at MIT, where I studied the process by which cities adopted (or didn't adopt) new policies to support sustainability, and a designer and educational researcher in the STEM group at WestEd, where I managed experimental design studies and designed algebra curriculum. To keep my chops fresh, I've sustained a freelance design practice for about a decade, designing brand identities, interactive applications, print publications, and a handful of food trucks. I post photos on a tumblr. My food truck designs caught the eye of Communication Arts in 2013.

On the academic front, I hold a Master of City Planning (M.C.P.) from MIT (focus area: Environmental Policy and Planning, with an eye towards how design can impact decision-making), plus a B.A. in Linguistics and a B.S. in interdisciplinary environmental sciences (from a program in which the College of Natural Resources graciously allows students to propose an individualized course of study) from the University of California, Berkeley.

I’m based in Berkeley, California.