html and a smile
Before I wrestled with tools like Visio, Omnigraffle, Indesign, or Axure, Bethany's Ux tool kit was her own creation: icons, graphic and data visuals, whatever her previous projects she re-purposed for her current one at the time—an immersion travel website for the middle of the road to extreme adventure traveler, the short-lived unexplored.com.
Wireframes?! All visual mock-ups. Conveyed so much that executives confused it with final, polished design. At the time, I focused on creating a Flash intro website, html prototypes, and visuals as needed.
Notions of information architecture, nomenclature, mental model, were all new to me. I distinctly remember an epiphany during a usability session as a potential customer reviewed our website. This and other informational meetings with Bethany surfaced during our one-on-one time together.
I don't remember if we called it mental model back then, but it instilled my natural curiosity along with a small book she showcased, “The design of everyday things” by Don Norman.
From Bethany to an e-commerce aggregator web site called Yellow pages, I learned—at times, painstakingly arduous—complex data visualization. Learning Indesign as a wireframe tool coupled with unduly tight deadlines, beleaguered my colleague and eventually, my manager, Jon.
In the end, the project was tinged with anxious finality. Missteps, mistakes, circumstance can make you a better human, and in this case too, a better designer.
From the 1999, years of web production segued into visual design/producer roles while gaining insight into web site architecture/user interface design for companies such as Visa, PG&E, and the infamous Webvan Group.
This funneled into Interaction design roles for agencies and fortune 500 companies. I dig the diversity of projects with an emphasis in long term contracts or better, a contract to hire, or a full time Ux role.