I started my career working at 20th Century Fox and was given a IBM XT during a long writers strike and in just a few months my career changed to "all things" Information Technology.
I have worked in the IT field for over 34 years including hardware, networking, software development, interactive multimedia, video production, web site/application development and of course, UX design. In the 1990's I designed and authored several CD-ROM and Kiosk applications and also created several Computer Based Training videos (CBT's) for the Virtual Training Company (VTC). With the beginning of the Internet in the early 90's I started creating rudimentary web pages.
I currently live in Norcross, Georgia with my wife Brandie and our cat Lilly. We have just wrapped the first History Roads episode featuring Ellijay, Georgia: www.historyroads.com
My Current Rig
I have owned several personal computers for the past 3 decades starting out with an Amiga 1000, then a series of PC computers. While I always admired Apple's products, many of the applications I needed to use were PC-based. I purchased a Mac Pro 2013 and installed Parallels that allowed me to run Windows 10 and PC-based applications, and I was surprised how easily it was to share files between both operating systems - the best of both worlds.
Recently Apple has introduced the M1 chip, which is a major breakthrough of cost vs. speed and while Intel processors would run hot, the M1 chip blazes through intense CPU/GPU tasks such as 4K rendering much faster and cooler. In addition, it was clear that the Mac OS would soon only support Apple's ARM chips moving forward. The advantage to Apple's ARM-based system-on-a-chip (SoCs) is the CPUs and GPUs reside on the same chip, sharing all available RAM without any physical busses. This allows the M1 & M2 family of processors to be very fast while consuming less power.
I recently retired my Mac Pro 2013 and purchased a Mac Studio Max with the RAM and GPUs maxed out. What would take over an hour to render now takes 15 minutes. I am also using Parallels running Windows 11 (ARM-based) seamlessly. The M1-based Mac Mini sells for only $699 which is a huge benefit for video professionals and developers.
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH (NIH), ELECTRONIC RESEARCH ADMINISTRATION (eRA)
2022 to Current
Sr. UX Designer working with the BT4-DT2 development team providing front-end web developement services.
Veterans Affairs (VA)
2019 - 2022
UX Designer, Computer Based Training videos
UX Designer with the RM-MKR development team updating the applications API's and creating computer based training videos for support.
- Photoshop & Camtasia Studio
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
2009 - 2019
UX Designer, Front-End Developer and Computer Based Training videos
Provided development services for the CDC's Situational Awareness Branch and support of the CDC's Emergency Operations Management Center web applications.
Webmaster for the CDC's Laboratory Training Branch public website.
- Photoshop, Camtasia Studio & Dreamweaver
2003 - 2009
UX Designer, Web Development, Video and Interactive Multimedia Production. Customers include Allstate Insurance Company, Lockheed Martin, SMITHS Medical, COX Communications and Coopwood Communications.
- Photoshop, Director, Premiere, Final Cut Pro & Dreamweaver
IT Director - K&W Printing
2001 - 2003
Manage the Creative Development Team and hardware/software needs for the Jackson, MS & Baton Rouge, LA offices.
- Photoshop, Premiere, Final Cut Pro & Dreamweaver
Creative Director - Imagin, Inc.
1993 - 2001
Creative Director & Vice President managing the Interactive Multimedia & Web Development Team.
- Photoshop, Premiere, Authorware, Director, Flash & Dreamweaver
Software Engineer - Dynamic Systems
1988 - 1993
Sun Microsytems hardware engineer & website development.
- HTML web development & Netscape Web Server support
- Photoshop, Illustrator
Project Coordinator - 20th Century Fox
1985 - 1988
Administrative Support for Fox TV Production shows (Tracey Ullman, LA Law, Moonlighting) and Movies of the Week.
UX Design leverages decades of me working as a designer, developer, trainer, multimedia specialist and running meetings as an IT BA with clients to gather software requirements specifications and establish business rules.
Wireframing and prototyping tools have come along way since the 90's when I used Photoshop or Fireworks to create prototypes. My prefered wireframing and prototype tools are: Figma.com, Adobe Xd and Balsamiq Wireframes.
Here are my top 10 UX Centered Design tips:
- Only incorporate the best functionality - 25 strong features are better than 50 half-baked ones.
- Understand business rules and user needs. Many designers strive for a contemporary, consumer looking design vs. practical complexity. For example, if you have ever opened an application like Lightwave or Cinema 4D you might be overwhelmed by all of the options, however experienced users would demand nothing less.
- User Research testing to support designs to demo for stakeholders. If there are two viable prototypes employ A/B testing with two separate users’ groups and typically the ideal number for each group is 5 – 7 people.
- Use Font Type size and Weight to denote hierarchy on a page or section and only use two, preferably just one typefaces that is native to both Windows and MacOS. And for goodness sakes, if there are text links make them obvious.
- If a button or link is part of a multi-step process, use an ellipsis (…) to indicate there is another action
- Validate form data entry as soon as possible to alert users. Nothing more frustrating than to complete and submit a form, then have to deal with multiple errors.
- Use existing framework classes and controls such as Bootstrap. Don’t create custom controls that force the user to learn something new to interact with your webpage or app
- Show progress bars for time-consuming tasks and always show a “proof of life” spinner when pages are loading or information is being pulled from a database. If there is an error and the task can’t be completed, stop the spinner and display an appropriate error message, never just display “Something went wrong…”.
- Show, don’t tell. Clean, simple graphics help users understand what is expected. If necessary, create short training videos that cover one specific topic.
- Make everything 508 compatible from the initial designs including Alt tags for images and Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) Attributes.
Here are the programming languages, tools and web frameworks I use:
- Bootstrap 4/5 / HTML5 / CSS3
- WordPress / Joomla
- SQL Server
- Visual Studio Code / Dreamweaver
I am a big proponent of using Bootstrap as a framework as it is lightweight and offers a wide range of built-in classes to quickly build out web applications. Visual Studio Code is a great editor thats cross platform, offers lots of free extensions and very fast. Go Live is a must-have feature as well.
Video Producer, Director and Editor
I have always had a passion for film making, starting in my early teenager years creating short 8mm movies. As desktop video editing matured on personal computers, I started creating CBTs and creating short marketing videos. Camtasia Studio is my go-to video editing program for CBTs as it is ideally suited for creating training videos with captioning.
For marketing videos and the History Roads Pilot, I used Apple’s Final Cut Pro, Motion and Logic Pro to edit the videos, create special effects and produce the music. I have extensive video and audio plugins along music libraries that makes the creative process flow much better.
As for video cameras, I used a Canon C100 Mark II for the Pilot which is an amazing camera with great dynamic range, built-in ND filters, etc. However, the majority of the video was shot on a DJI Pocket Osmo. The small profile and compact 3-axis stabilizer enabled me to shoot virtually unnoticed producing amazing quality 4K footage. DJI also makes great drones and I used a Phantom 4 Pro which captures great pictures and 4K video.
I am also the webmaster for Light on the Rock, where I produce the audio and video sermons. The video is shot in a bedroom with a green screen, uploaded to Dropbox, then I download it and knock out the background using DaVinci, which is a great application for chroma keying. It’s truly amazing what can you produce on your desktop that would have cost a fortune just a few years ago.
Multimedia Production Software
Multimedia production presents challenges that rely on wide variety of design, video and authoring tools including:
- Adobe Photoshop / Illustrator / After Effects / Audition
- Techsmith Camtasia Studio
- Apple Final Cut Pro / Motion / Logic Pro
- DaVinci Studio
- Native Instruments Kontakt
- Adobe Experience Manager Forms (formerly LiveCycle)
Adobe After Effects is a very popular post-production video effects software, however after using Apple's Motion for several years, it is now my go-to software. Even with memory-intensive plugins, it renders very fast allowing tweaks to be made in realtime.
For music production Logic Pro is amazing and comes with a nice range of synth plugins. One of the best music plugins is Native Instruments Kontakt which has a huge library of sampled instruments.
Certification & Security Clearance
- Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP), 2009
- Microsoft IIS Certification
- Microsoft Networking Certification
- Leidos Scrum Master Certification
- Camtasia 2020 Explorer Certification
- Camtasia 2020 Voyager Certification
- FAA Part 107 Unmanned Pilot License
- Google UX Design Certificate
- Security: Public Trust