- Do customers frequently have trouble using your software?
- Do customers frequently call your technical support with basic usage questions?
- Do you sometimes feel that your company hasn't done a good job making customers aware of your product's best features?
- Are your customers complaining about the "learning curve" involved in using your product?
If any of the above is true, perhaps you need the help of someone with expertise to solve these problems. I can offer
this help (full time or contract) at very competitive rates.
I like to call myself a user experience consultant because the term encompasses the
fields of user
education, documentation and usability. If the documentation is great, but the GUI is lousy, customers may lose confidence in the
power of the software to do its job. If the user interface is clear, but users
are clueless about what the product does or how it is deployed, customers may experience unnecessary "learning pains" that reduce their overall
satisfaction with the product. And even if
the GUI is fine and the product is successfully deployed, inadequate documentation will frustrate customers and increase
the number of support calls.
Why settle for someone experienced in only one of these areas when you can have someone well-versed in all three?
Writing & Documentation
- I received a master's degree in writing from Johns Hopkins University, one of the nation's top ranked
graduate programs for writing (I was the youngest member in my graduate class to obtain a fellowship award).
- I've written and helped edit all sorts of things: grant proposals, essays, book reviews of
computer books, academic articles, engineering dissertations, medical research, a cookbook,
technical FAQ's, weblogs, web tutorials and online help.
- I've used a variety of documentation tools, including FrameMaker, Office, StarOffice, HTML editors, Visio and Pagemaker.
Education & Training
- I've taught at the university level for four years. Three of these years were at business colleges in Eastern Europe.
- While working as a "training & usability specialist" at Dell Computers in Austin, I designed a web tutorial for
software engineers about manufacturing processes. I also delivered training about a network monitoring product to
support staff, both in-person and over the web with NetMeeting.
- I recently completed two graduate courses in Instructional System Design at University of Texas in Austin.
I have written articles on educational theory and online learning.
Usability & Human Factors
- At Dell I served as "usability lead" for two projects. I
conducted informal usability testing, gathered user requirements and modeled user behavior with use cases
- I helped with the design of a GUI for a small software project at Dell. I offered feedback, suggestions and
alternate design ideas. I posed bug reports at Dell and for two open-source software projects.
- I attended a big usability conference in 2000 and an information architecture
seminar in the last few months. I also read widely in the field.
Technical Skills Summary (PDF)
for more detail about my IT skills. It describes my experience
in areas such as Linux system administration, networking, databases and hardware. (Have I mentioned that I have
three computer certifications?)
Keeping customers is not easy. It involves anticipating how they use your product and what
aspects of your product impede understanding. I'd like to help make the user
experience of your customers as pleasant as is possible!