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‘Behind the Screens: The People of OIT’ is a series that features the people working hard behind the scenes to make OIT run. 

Position: Sr. User Experience Designer & Information Architect for Creative, User Experience, & Accessibility Practice (CrUX)

Time spent with OIT: Six years

Bendte Fagge is always thinking of others. As a user experience (UX) designer, Bendte focuses on understanding people and their needs. She studies content through a critical lens, doing her best to ensure that users can experience things as they should.

What she does for OIT:
As a member of CrUX, Bendte’s day-to-day responsibilities often vary. When starting a project, she focuses on doing a content inventory. If the inventory is for an existing website or mobile app, she looks at the content it contains. If the inventory is for something new, she develops an outline of sorts, thinking through the pieces of content that the new project needs to include. For instance, when Bendte reviews a Kuali form, she focuses on the wording of the questions, their order, if there is branching between the questions, and so forth. Of course, content is not limited to words. It includes videos, images, and audio as well. 

Along with this, Bendte often conducts discovery interviews with stakeholders and end users. This helps Bendte and the CrUX team discover what problems need to be solved. These interviews are analyzed to assess what the big themes are.

While the process can start out linearly, that’s often not the case. Bendte’s work is a cycle of doing content inventory, usability testing, brainstorming, reconfiguring, and more. 

Bendte surveys a student during Duke Tech Week.

What she enjoys about working in OIT and at Duke:
Bendte experiences plenty of variety in her projects, which creates opportunities for collaboration.

“I like the brainstorming aspect of working together and collaborating, because I might say, ‘Here is what I’m seeing, and here are some problems. What do you think? Can you think of something different?’” Bendte said. “I like that aspect of working together to come up with a solution.”

Along with the collaborative environment, she enjoys getting to know her colleagues inside and outside of OIT.

“Everyone has been great to work with,” Bendte said. “People always seem very generous with their time and are willing to help you out. And I love meeting new people around Duke. There are so many departments that are doing awesome things.”

Advice for those new to OIT:
One of the things Bendte has enjoyed about working in OIT is the many events that allow her to meet and connect with colleagues. They provide opportunities to learn about the people that make up OIT and all the interesting things they do. She advises those new to OIT to take advantage of these opportunities to meet other OIT’ers.

Bendte watches as a colleague plays Frogger at OIT's End-of-Year Celebration.

“I hadn’t worked anywhere this large before, and it’s been really nice to see what different teams do and who are on the teams,” Bendte said. “When I first started, I enjoyed meeting people and having a bigger idea of what all the folks in OIT do.”

What she hopes to accomplish at Duke:
While CrUX is vital to the University, Bendte thinks that a lot of people are unaware of the team’s existence.

“I would like to get our name out there and share more of what we do,” Bendte said. “I don’t think a lot of people even know we exist. Often, when students find out about us, they ask, ‘Why did I not know about you?’ or say, ‘This seems cool.’ I would like for us to be more out there—especially for students.”

To help in this effort to connect with students as well as promote the new DukeMobile, the CrUX team hosted three student events earlier this semester. At each of the events, CrUX offered free boba or boxed lunches in exchange for feedback about the DukeMobile update.

A fun fact about Bendte:
“I’ve loved music as long as I can remember,” Bendte said. She began playing the flute in middle school and continued this passion for 25 years. Although she has taken a break from the instrument in recent years, she is considering picking it back up again.

Bendte’s many years of playing the flute gave her multiple opportunities to hone her skill and join performance groups with members that shared similar passions.

One such group was the Triangle Soundpainting Orchestra, an improv avant-garde band that exclusively used the structured improv soundpainting language developed by Walter Thompson. (To get a taste of their music, watch Bendte play a flute solo.)

Bendte also performed with Scene of the Crime Rovers, a punk rock marching band that donned hot pink and black attire. This group also utilized soundpainting at times and developed their own gestures.

Bendte marches along the street with her SOC Rovers bandmates for a parade.

Along with performing in the Triangle Soundpainting Orchestra and the SOC Rovers, Bendte spent several years as a DJ for WXDU, Duke’s non-commercial radio station. Her desire to become a DJ, which required trainings and passing a DJ test, was inspired by her experience listening to another college radio station.

“Living in rural North Carolina, I was only aware of top-40 stations until one day when I turned the radio dial left and found WQFS 90.9 FM, Guilford College’s radio station, and that changed my life,” Bendte said. “I had no idea there was a whole other world of music outside of top-40.”

What she’s listening to:
“Who is your favorite musical artist?” is no simple question for Bendte. As a musician, former DJ, and music enthusiast, Bendte appreciates a range of artists and songs.

One of her favorite albums from more recent years is Topical Dancer by Charlotte Adigéry and Bolus Pupul. The upbeat, electropop album motivates Bendte and gets her dancing. In Electric Time, an electronic album composed by Jeremiah Chiu, calms Bendte when she’s feeling anxious and puts her in a happy mood. She also appreciates that this album was an improvisation—recorded and edited by Chiu in merely four days at the Vintage Synthesizer Museum in Los Angeles. Another one of Bendte’s favorites is Ticket to Fame by Decisive Pink. She enjoys how fun the synth-pop album is and enjoys its many nods to the ‘80s.

What she’s doing when she’s not at work:
When Bendte’s not at work, you can find her listening to music—either through her beloved Sonos speakers or from the vast collection of records she and her husband, Dave Massung, have curated.

Along with music, Bendte enjoys gardening and is slowly trying to grow a mix of flowers and veggies including perennials, radishes, carrots, arugula, and more. She also appreciates opportunities to hike and travel. Recently, Bendte has been learning to sew and has even taken some sewing classes at Freeman’s Creative in Durham. With this newfound skill and her new sewing machine, she’s looking forward to taking on some simple sewing projects.

Bendte poses in front of the Shenandoah National Park sign.


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