I help clients design and improve their software so that it is efficient, usable and distinctive. With over 10 years of experience and a Master's in Human Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon University, I have worked on scores of projects involving desktop applications, web applications, mobile device applications and web sites and robotics. Often I'm helping improve or update an existing application. Other times we're designing from a blank sheet of paper.
Most of my software work has been focused on applications used to get work done, not consumer or marketing oriented web sites. With experience in sales and business management, I bring a special set of skills to my engagements and am able to communicate effectively with all levels of the organization.
When able to conduct field research and observation of users in their work environment, I can help the organization and the project team better understand the context in which their product will be used. Uncovering and describing the nuances and idiosyncrasies found in every workplace provides the important QUALITATIVE information that affects issues such as:
- Rate of adoption of new technology
- Ability of the product to handle exceptions
- Making software that has an element of delightfulness to it
- Generating positive endorsements from early adopters which will encourage those who may be resistant to new tools
- Creating a better reputation for IT and the development team within the overall organization
- Software that not only automates but adds real value to the workday
I have been using wire frames organized into what we originally called "Visual Use Cases" for many years to elicit, communicate and refine project requirements. The visualization of the software may come out of facilitating a meeting with customers and stakeholders to conceptualize a project or a 200-page requirements document. In all cases the visualization helps everyone understand what the project intends to build and how it is going to work from the user's point of view.
With new visualization and prototyping tools it is now even more efficient to create a high-fidelity visualization combined with traditional text requirements that the whole team can use. I have used iRise, Axure, Visio, Keynote, Omnigraffle and a few other tools over the years.
Early visualization of the product has many advantages. Some that I have seen on my own projects include:
- Helping large groups of stakeholders with competing interests arrive at a shared project goal
- Avoiding costly rework after coding has begun
- Allowing management to decide NOT to build something that was shown to be more complex than originally thought
- Enabling early user feedback to guide future design and development work
- Shortening development time
- Enabling deeper iterations to uncover details before coding
Having worked as the analyst/designer/project manager on my own software as well as for large and small clients, I have an intimate understanding of the entire development life cycle.
This site will be used to document some of my ideas and experiences and to offer prospective clients some portfolio access.