FMCG & HCI
Human Computer Interaction crosses boundaries between art and science, software engineering, ergonomics & emotional engagment. Bursting with principles like Neilsen's ten heuristics, Fitt's law, Gestalt processes, the Golden Ratio - design was subjected to academic scrutiny.
For my masters thesis I called an integrated communications agency to ask about measuring the emotional impact of advertising creative and to validate rich media's brand impact on implicit memory. We compared the more traditional measures like online reach and the total 'shares' (by email in those days with new metrics concerned with emotional engagement, implicit attitude and brand recognition.
Lancaster's HCI course brought together experts in computing, psychology and sociology. Together we considered how team dynamics influenced outcomes in collaborative design and learnt methods for modelling, sketching and prototyping websites.
Lessons in Marketing from a Changing Institute
A seasoned marketeer with expertise in airline branding blazed a trail through a training and development company with an ambition to modernise and an interest in Fast Company's thought leadership business model. His objective was to raise marketing's stakes in the boardroom, to showcase case studies of corporate thought leadership and to re-design courses around a modernising agenda. Projects changed focus, management teams learned of new constraints and whilst several face to face training & development solutions transformed into blended learning programmes, others were halted altogether.
A project to procure or design e-learning tools transformed into an internal communication and software audit then information architecture for a student support site. A second side project in e-learning grew into an information architecture and build project for development education specialists.
An education professional with an interest in learning and teaching about Sustainable Cities introduced me to the work of the Mayor of Curitaba. I played with Mambo server in my spare time then found a partner in Llama Digital, willing to help me share, apply and help tailor his CMS product for free. Change can be disruptive or gradual. Learning how the here and now differs from the theory and textbooks then switching between five year long strategic propositions and on the ground debugging and delivery made for a good introduction to all things digital.
Consulting stakeholders and structuring content
Consulting sharpens the mind and instantiates a do better but keep it straightforward mindset. Historically consulting has put focus on the individual as outside expert when this is rarely the case. Consulting for a user experience focused digital agency gave me opportunities to learn from all sorts of organisations whilst also drawing on their fantastic internal expertise in accessibility, usability, design and front end coding. I re-organised and simplified large information-heavy sites, finding and collaborating on better organising schemes, researching what customers really wanted, finding new ways to improve both search and browse.
Projects I enjoyed most were change driven - merging organisations to form a new identity, organisations who were aware they needed a simple proposition but holding multiple views on what that could or should be. We spent time shaping sites - often more with words than with pictures but occasionally the reverse - etching out better frameworks, identifying redundant content - the best results being based on clearly understanding people - people relationships and dynamics or breakpoints and disjoints in interaction flows.
Accounts, systems, integration and APIs
Specifying end to end customer journeys for an e-commerce store, developing product features and opportunities and defining how a system is integrated with an account API, social platform APIs and related marketing sites and services. Moving from auditing large information heavy sites through consultations with stakeholders to an agile development process where the minimum value proposition and target demographics changed from month to month was a great introduction to agile and Agile processes. This was a re-branding and re-architecture project with challenging UX journeys and problems. The best way to understand a moving target? User flows, whiteboard sketches and structured collaborative working.
Natural search optimisation and education partnerships
From tweaking the patterns for auto-generated page titles and descriptions to increasing link authority and overhauling information architecture there are many ways to improve indexing in search engines - the tricky part is the cost-benefit analysis - which efforts merit the most resource, should be scheduled first and will have most impact? We delivered new educational resources and explored new content partnerships.
Fresh identity, complexity, conversion
I worked in house on a complex re-branding project for the merger of two financial services organisations. A key challenge was identifying new stakeholders within the organisation, understanding their online communication requirements and bringing them together to plan a new digital proposition. I balanced rebranding projects with prioritised 'business as usual' work including accessibility audits, site refreshes and conversion modelling and application user interface redesigns. Our team collaborated with business analysts to visualise new process flows and service designs then model impact on usability and ROI for partner organisations. We used swim lane project mapping techniques to plan time constrained projects, then collaboratively fathomed out task flow and project roles, to meet a company wide immovable deadline.
Futures, Film & Festivals
Freelance, I've delivered UX projects and sites for local businesses and community organisations. I facilitated research sessions for film and finance websites then delved into open source to deliver smaller community orientated websites.