VoV 086: Prototyping and The Design Cycle With Michele Cynowicz

Views on Vue

The guest panelist for this episode of Views on Vue is Michele Cynowicz. Michele is a senior front-end engineer at Vox Media. The discussion opens up with Ari asking Michele to share her background of how she got into development. She started in design in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s and transitioned into being a front end developer working with basic HTML and CSS and moved up into working with JavaScript, frameworks, and back end technologies. She has also worked with templating systems for Python and PHP. She is currently working on projects with Ruby on Rails and has recently worked on a project where she put a VueJS front end on top of a Ruby on Rails back-end. This project was the beginning of her forray into VueJS and this leads her into the topic for this episode, prototyping and the design cycle. 

Ari asks Michele to elaborate more on what design means in this context and she shares a story of a time she was looking at a resume that was poorly designed, and the candidates’ attached portfolio had a poor user experience. Michele points out why the combination of these two factors made it challenging for the candidate to get job offers. Michele brings out the conclusion that it is possible to have a lifetime of front end user experience and have little to no exposure to user experience and design. She shares an overview of how the development process operates where she works and how design is involved in that process. Ari and Michele then have a discussion on usability testing, how they came to use it in their respective organizations, and how they put these concepts into practical application.

The next topic covered by the Vue experts is functional prototyping. Michele explains what she defines a functional prototype, how they work with components, and shares an example. She also details what she calls a prototype wrapper and how it works. Michele explains how the process they go through for user testing helps to improve the usability of the application. Michele also explains some differences between agile and waterfall development methodologies. Elizabeth then asks Michele to share more detail on how she implements these ideas in production without exposing half finished code to the world. Michele shares that she uses these concepts in applications that require sign-in and in this way she is able to control who sees them.

Michele shares how logistics can be an issue with her method of user testing. If users are in multiple locations, it can be difficult to work together. She details how she overcomes these types of challenges to build prototypes and keep them in production. Elizabeth then shifts the discussion to a more technical explanation of how this prototype scaffold works and the panelists discuss this in more detail as well as how to overcome some of the challenges presented. Michele is on twitter and can be reached in the vue vixens slack community.


  • Ari Clark

  • Elizabeth Fine

  • Ben Hong


  • Michele Cynowicz




Elizabeth Fine

Ben Hong

Michele Cynowicz

Ari Clark


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