Our “Faces of Abe” profile for October features someone who when they aren’t designing user experiences or improving the functionality of our solutions, can be found taking part in a unique mix of hobbies and interests, including piloting flight simulators. Take a few minutes to get to know Rob DiDonna, Conversational Interaction Designer.
Where do you call home?
How long have you lived there? Where before?
I’ve lived in Orlando for about six years now. Before that, I grew up and lived in Miami, FL.
Who calls Orlando home along with you?
I’m the consummate bachelor! The only other living thing that I’m responsible for is my tortoiseshell cat, Desdemona (yes, that is a Shakespeare reference).
Where did you attend school?
I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Language and Literature.
What led you to your career path?
Early in my career, I completed an internship as a copywriter with a company focused on artificial intelligence (AI). This really sparked my interest in the power that AI can have in our daily lives. At that point, I realized that I have a passion for researching user behavior and creating better experiences for them. That led me to ultimately becoming an UX Designer.
Speaking of your role, tell us more about what you do at Abe.ai…
My role with Abe sounds very specific, but it’s actually fairly broad. I research user behavior to determine how we can enhance conversations and eliminate confusion that users might feel when using our solutions. Lately, I’ve been increasingly focused on redesigning user interfaces and adding functionality so users can communicate what we’re doing right or wrong.
How long have you been with Abe?
I’ve been with Abe for a year and three months now. It’s impressive to see how much we’ve accomplished and grown over that time.
What do you enjoy best about working at Abe.ai?
I really enjoy my role’s all-encompassing responsibility to improve our product. I’m not limited to a specific domain at our company. It’s encouraging and motivating to know that I can dip my hand in any pot at the company and my feedback will be welcomed.
What do you do in your spare time?
My hobbies include a wide variety of things like roller hockey, drumming and biking. One of my weirder hobbies has become playing flight simulators religiously. I recently piloted a two hour flight from Orlando International Airport to Raleigh-Durham International Airport and forgot to deploy my landing gear – two hours wasted!
What’s getting heavy rotation in your music playlist these days?
I have pretty eclectic taste in music and my playlist is always changing, but right now it seems to have a mix of Knocked Loose, Colter Wall, Phoebe Bridgers, Bob Dylan, The Acacia Strain, Denzel Curry, The Story So Far and Johnny Cash…in no particular order.
Favorite TV show/series?
“Breaking Bad” is the best TV show of all time. Period. Fight me. But other all-time favorites include “The Sopranos,” “ I Think You Should Leave” and “Seinfeld.”
Favorite movie of all time?
That’s a tough one, but it’s likely between “There Will Be Blood,” “Goodfellas,” “Interstellar” and “her.”
What’s one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?
I have a surgically installed buckle in my right eye because my retina popped out of the socket and I went blind for a few days. The craziest part? It happened randomly and wasn’t a result of any injury.