Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled graphics...

With nearly 20 years creating a wide variety of media and web experiences, I've been blessed to work with an amazing blend of people, talent and toolkits. Now when web applications get more complex every day, I've found my place working on improving user experiences. For projects to be successful, you need to have an ultra clear picture and direction. This means the planning process must include visual and well-written documentation. It means formalizing the process but engaging people to improve the ideas informally as well.

Skills Matrix

User Interface Design
Wireframing / Prototyping
UX Architecture
Interaction Design
Responsive Web Design
Visio / yED

Adobe Creative Suite
Video / Editing / Photography
HTML5 / CSS / Bootstrap 
Copy and Technical Writing
Agile / SCRUM
Axure

Training / Webcasting
3D Modeling (Blender)
Windows / Mac / Linux
Email marketing campaigns
Version control
Invision

About Me (The Boring Braggy Work Parts)

Most of the point of this site is to make sure I tell you about my work and how I think it can help you. I'm not a big fan of trying to sell myself, but I do wantpeople to know where I'm coming from in terms of background....

I've worked in large corporate environments, medium size businesses. I used to facilitate workshops with groups of salespeople, teachers and students, where I'd train them the software and plugins my company developed which would also serve as in depth usability testing opportunities. I love meeting with clients and stakeholders to learn their needs and develop relationships. That's nearly always the most motivating factor in all my work.

I've worked in public relations / public affairs teams for a university as a design / dev resource. I've worked for the government and I've worked for smaller startups and I've worked for myself. Not everyone subscribes to this, but I believe I'm a pretty unique crossover for UX and UI because I have both a design, media, filmmaking background, but also I'm a self-taught web professional.

I've done technical writing, written a book on the Adobe Creative Suite, which was internationally published, still on Amazon and found in some libraries. And I've done my own product development where I've created physical products, mostly side projects and prototypes but they involve the drafting and CAD work to create in the real world. No patents out there but its' not out of the question. So I'm extremely aware of working through many variables, and though every situation is different, I'm always keeping production workflows and architecture in mind.

I don't subscribe to a rigid UI or UX methodology so much as I consider the dozens or hundreds of requirements, variables, constraints, whether they be within the organization or platform or budget and work around all those. I like the agile process, and have kind of worked that way before it was called agile. I'm a very amiable and diplomatic person but as a consultant, I know it's my job to make sure the best decisions or conclusions get a push behind them.

Screens and More Screens

Development of a website means months of abstraction. So I've always seen it my job to ground it in reality from the very beginning. That way as much of the expectations can be set as possible and frankly I know what the heck I'm looking at. Nobody wants to stifle good ideas that come from deep within the weeds of the development process, but at the same time, you need to start with a clear picture early on before all that happens. So I will create or work from an architecture diagram of the flow of a site. From there, sketching thumbnails of various screens, and in the process of that hopefully showing the stakeholders, here's kind of how this thing will work. And then it gets to be higher and higher fidelity, until it can, but not always, look exactly like the final product.

Continuous Improvement

It seems like every 3-4 years in web development there is a huge change that shifts the industry, a framework maybe, or a new paradigm. But every week there are new services or upgraded standards of executing some element of the work. I strive to stay up with current trends without being distracted by what's trendy. Our work needs to last so we can see it exist in operation. But it's worth commenting on that somewhere that balance exists, staying current and withstanding the allure of the new and temporary.

What I try to do is make sure I'm dabbling in new tools every few months, testing them out and making sure that I know what's going on. I think I'd put more weight on mastering something. So I try to take time every quarter and work on something new, or improvement to an underdeveloped skill. And I pay attention to the industries I'm involved in every week or so to make sure I know what's happening. This might be through articles, meetups or being subscribed to a few key mailing lists for summaries.

If anyone new to this is reading, I recommend a laser focus on the work, but hit the brakes briefly once in a while to just know what's coming from the many directions. Now that we're all connected and people are sharing constantly, you never know when the next perfect tool for your toolkit is invented by tinkerer in Bulgaria. Or that someone may be you. So contribute what you can, enable yourself to do that by learning.