About

👋👋👋

I’m Jenny Slaughter, a chronic systematizer and serial organizer. I live in Virginia, where I untangle chaos, make checklists, and build websites.

I’m energized by creating systems, designing interchangeable parts, and inventing repeatable processes. That’s why I love design systems and pattern libraries. I’ve built dozens of pattern libraries for large institutions and am obsessed with organizing, developing, and documenting perfect patterns.

Jenny Slaughter at Blackwater Falls, WV

Professional Background

I’ve worked officially in the web industry since 2002, although prior to that I’d made many websites for myself or any local organization with a domain name and a mission statement. The first site I built for a real client who paid in actual dollars was for a professional mandolin player.

It was a Flash site that featured a flying instrument. You could buy CDs via a form you completed, printed, and mailed in an envelope to the client’s home address. Music played on load and there was no way to turn it off.

I was immensely proud of it.

My portfolio has more recent work, but with unfortunately less ActionScript.

What I'm doing now

As a design technologist, I thrive in the place where design and development intersect. For most of my career, I’ve worked as a hybrid front end developer and designer in agency settings. I enjoy learning new languages, frameworks, and technologies, but my real passion is for architecting the systems that use those tools, rather than the tools themselves.

In 2014 I started to focus on building atomic design pattern libraries for my agency clients. Ever since, I’ve been obsessed with crafting flexible, functional systems using a limited set of well-engineered parts.

As a result, I’m shifting to focus full-time on design systems: building them, growing them, and evangelizing them to others. I enjoy sharing my obsession by speaking at workshops and conferences. I love helping people understand not only design system mechanics, but how design systems can create better products and more consistent user experiences.

Me (left) with NewCity team members at the agency’s 20th anniversary party in 2015.

Sharing design system knowledge: giving a talk about pattern libraries at Texas A&M University and leading an atomic design workshop at an education-industry conference.

Remote Life

In 2016, I transitioned to working remotely full-time. I’m comfortable on a distributed team, and enjoy the balance of self-managing, maintaining open communication, and building connections remotely.

As a small town resident, I appreciate how remote work can help build more talented and diverse teams through different perspectives and backgrounds.

Attempting a remote hug while joining an office party via Zoom.

Extracurriculars

My love for systems extends beyond those constructed with code. I see beauty in organization, and build a system for nearly everything in my life — enough that it probably annoys all the people in my life. I own the same shirt in thirty different colors and prints. I systematize laundry, dinner prep, home projects, and party planning. I enjoy packing things into cars.

I tend to collect hobbies rather than drilling deep into a particular interest. I’d recommend this if you want to learn a lot about a wide variety of topics and spend a lot of money on equipment and supplies you’ll never use again.

When my laptop is closed, I enjoy making things, throwing parties, learning to sail, and going on adventures with my daughter in the Virginia mountains.

I also travel, go outdoors, spend time with my family, ride around in barrels, and all the other typical human being activities.