Sarah Royal joined Mount Vernon in June with a dual role, she acts as the School’s in-house Director of Web Development and Digital Experience and is an Upper School faculty member teaching User Experience (UX) Strategy Design in Mod 1 and 3. With a master’s degree in Business and Technology from The University of Georgia and over a decade of experience building intuitive digital destinations she has become a favorite around the Upper School and HQ with students, faculty, and staff.

Her UX Strategy Design class explores how creating a fun, functional, and satisfying user experience is essential for anyone designing a website, app, or digital experience. The course helps students understand the strategy behind design decisions in the real world. Focusing on understanding business as a whole, the class dives into how to determine a target market, evaluate competitors, and use that information as a guide to overall UX strategy. Students in her class are learning best practices and design principles for creating a good design and experience for optimal user engagement. Projects include a SWOT analysis, competitive analysis, user persona development, focus groups, other UX research methods, flow charts, mood boards, and more.

Sarah explained, “My goal for this class is for my students to get first-hand experience in all the thought and intentionality that goes into any design decision. Things never just “are”. There is always a reason behind the way apps and websites function, and even the layouts of the stores we’re walking through. There is purpose and intention within the smallest detail of our everyday life. In this class, we learn to lead with empathy and compassion by always having the user at the heart of the decisions we make. How can we make life easier for our users? How can we create the most seamless experience? We can only do that by first understanding who our users are.”

In a recent activity, Sarah conducted a focus group, soliciting feedback from her class on materials the Brand Team developed to promote the School externally. Grayson Leiter, Class of 2024, had this to say, “The focus group was probably my favorite thing we’ve done in class so far. It was nice to hear everyone’s opinions on things that mattered around the school. Furthermore, to feel like what we said was heard and acted upon made the whole thing much more meaningful.”

When Sarah isn’t in North 303 teaching she can be found in HQ working to improve the speed, accessibility, function, and flow of the School’s 3 main websites for the day school, the online school, and Mount Vernon Ventures. There are several big site redesign projects in the works which we are excited to unveil in the months ahead.

“I knew the School needed Sarah shortly after I arrived at Mount Vernon last year,” Chief Brand Officer, Michele Koch said. “Sarah and I worked together at GreenPrint, a sustainability firm based in Buckhead, where we built customized sustainability programs for our corporate clients. Her experience in UX is the epitome of empathy applied to business and client interaction. Her kindness, approachability, and the way I witnessed her mentor others, made it easy to imagine her working with Mount Vernon students.”

In addition to her two jobs at Mount Vernon, Sarah is also a mom to Rainey Royal, Mount Vernon Mustang Class of 2040.