Expert answers to your UI, SEO, and web problems.
I specialize in UI (User Interface) / UX (User Experience) Design, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) web design, development of database driven websites, applications, content management systems, corporate intranet applications, usability, accessibility, Human Factors Engineering, Human/Computer Interaction (HCI), and search engine strategy for corporate entities, highly successful small businesses, and select non-profit organizations.I have worked for some of the best companies on the planet, and there's a reason for that - it is because I care enough to do the kind of work that gets the results that leaders in their respective industries expect.
A little about me...
I started my internet design career in early 1998, in Munich, Germany while still attending college for Computer Management/Information Services. I worked for top-tier advertising, web design / development / new media companies there for several years, until I came back to my home state of Wisconsin near the end of 2000.
More than 20 years of user-centered design / information architecture and development experience in the USA and Europe has given me the expertise necessary to offer the design, the usability, the functionality and the search engine ranking your company needs. You can only get this from a seasoned, senior UI/UX web designer/developer. I am one of the very rare individuals blessed to have started my career with one foot in the design camp, and one foot in the development camp. I do both.
I have an extensive proven track record in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and I am a strong proponent of usability, section 508 accessibility, and adherence to validation and coding standards (W3C) and practices that facilitate cross-browser compatibility.
You can open my online portfolio here, or visit my links page to see some of the latest things I have been working on.
Design and the Interface
Good design is a cross between art and efficiency - a blending of principles that could be thought of as analogous to customer service + ergonomics.
The most important thing in UI design for commercial business is that a prospective customer does not get so discouraged with the interface that they give up - the interface must be usable. There's no profit in partial transactions, but that's what you'll get if you are not designing and developing your UI for the USER. (After all, that's what the "U"stands for in UI, right?)
It used to be that users were, by comparative standards, patient, and would generally wait eight seconds for a page to load. Now, statistics show that if a user has to wait more than FOUR seconds for a website to fully render, they will most likely leave. In some cases, less than four seconds.
Further, it doesn't matter how good your user interface is, if nobody can find it - an aggressive Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plan is essential to any company that hopes to be successfully engaged in business five years from now.
What are UI, UX, GUI, UCD, and HFE?
You can read my "Usability and Intuitive Design" article here, or download it in MS Word here. (document size: 42KB)
My SEO/SEM philosophy
I only engage in what are known as "white hat" SEO practices. There is no justification for trying to cheat the search engines - even if such practices can yield a short-term improvement in SERP (Search Engine Result Pages) ratings, "black hat" SEO techniques will, over the long term, result in being penalized by the legitimate search engines such as Google, Yahoo, MSN, Live Search/Bing, AOL, and Lycos. The bottom line is, it does not pay to try to gain an unfair advantage.
The best advice I give my clients and students is, BE RELEVANT. That will yield better search engine results than anything else! If you compose well-written text about wizzy-widgets, you will be found by users conducting searches for "wizzy-widgets."
search engine optimization (SEO) results
I lived for a short time in Cincinnati, OH. By the time I had lived there for only five weeks, I had achieved top search engine results for terms such as "UI Cincinnati" and "SEO web Expert Cincinnati".
I've done a lot of work for businesses based in New York, NY, too - NYC, especially Manhattan, is a very competitive place for SEO and UI/UX experts, but I still achieved number one search engine rankings there.
Here are some of those results, which still stand today. This underscores the importance of using legitimate, or "white hat" SEO techniques.
I'll let the results speak for themselves:
These are proven results, and I've had the number one ranking for most of them for years now. Imagine what I can do for your company!
For Good User Experiences
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I am appalled at the poorly designed interfaces I see daily on the internet.
There are a lot of things that are done wrong on the internet, either by laziness on the part of the designers and/or developers, or by their negligence and/or incompetence. These are things such as:
2. Client side validation that is not only badly coded, but is actually vindictive - validation should not punish a user for entering incorrectly formatted data, but should assist and guide the user in the completion of the task at hand.
I have actually seen LONG forms that clear ALL their data if the user makes a "mistake" - like putting hyphens between the groups of numbers in a telephone number. Or NOT putting hyphens between the groups of numbers in a telephone number. Sometimes, it's a coin toss.
I won't buy anything from companies that do this. Caveat venditor, or "seller beware." Enough said.
3. Pages that are not liquid - If a user has to horizontally scroll (this is actually called "panning") to read your page, or cannot see a section of the page because your web development team doesn't know how to dynamically size pages, your website will frustrate users, and again - you will lose sales. This point becomes increasingly important as we become more reliant on mobile devices to access the internet.
4. Excessive clicks - A common misconception is CLICKS ARE BAD. This is not always true - the truth of the matter is this: UNNECESSARY clicks are bad.
If a user has to "Click here to go to the 'Contact Us' section" then "Click here to go to 'Contact Us' SUB section" - then "Click here to go to 'Contact Us' LINK", then "Click here to expand a collapese 'Contact Us' FORM" (You get the idea), your website will frustrate users, and yet AGAIN - you will lose sales, because that kind of navigation frustrates people.
Websites can be several layers deep, but don't make a user click endlessly for no reason, just to navigate your site. A good rule of thumb is two clicks, three maximum to get to any informational content - no more.
5. Hiding content behind HUGE forms - I don't generally mind providing a name, email address, or phone number to access content of real value. And, I don't mind giving a legitimate company my address, if they're going to send me something. But DON'T make me fill out twenty blanks of ALL REQUIRED information - and don't EVER expect me to give you my social security number, date of birth, or mother's maiden name, or other sensitive or uniquely identifying information.
I won't. Neither will other savvy users.
The bad news: You lose a sale, perhaps, but more importantly, you put your NPS (Net Promoter Score) in jeopardy - you're losing a loyal customer. There are few things worse in ecommerce.
6. Hiding content - I don't want to have to click EVERYTHING on a page to see if the info is hiding there. I call that "Hide-and-Seek" navigation. It's a tremendous waste of time for the user. Don't do it. It's better to display the content by default, and offer the option to hide it if not needed.
It is a common misconception that people are overwhelmed by text. They're not, unless they're idiots. Let the user decide if he wants to play hide-and-seek.
7. Failing to provide real, valid, contact information - I might buy your product online, but if I can't reach someone if I have a question or a problem, your company will:
Those people who know me know that I place great importance on the practice of good UI design, and on creating a good user experience, by applying good design practices to result in an intuitive user interface. The reason for this isn't arbitrary, it's driven by one of the most fundamental principles of good design: if users cannot complete the task on your website they wish to complete (buy a book, find information, track a package), they will go elsewhere, and they'll take their money with them.
During the 1980's, men like Trammell Crow popularized the principles of customer service - real customer service principles that exemplified the slogan "Customer is King" - making people suddenly aware of the reality that the customer/client/patient, etc., is actually important to your business.
Good usability practices are the manifestation of such principles. If you care about your users, make it easy for them to accomplish the task - the reason they're at your site - if you want to be successful. Men like Trammell Crow became billionaires by remembering that people matter.
It is all about the user, after all!
Yours in usability,
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If your company is truly committed to offering your users an exceptional experience, and if you're an industry leader (or want to be) seeking to hire someone that can bring something real to the table, contact me.
I am looking for something that seems to be quite rare - a solid, stable position with an organization that has extraordinary vision, and a sincere appreciation for my commitment to excellence. An organization that realizes that doing things well actually takes less time.
I can solve your UI / UX, usability, and interface design problems, and give you the kind of front-end design that will enhance your company's success.
Looking for the Exceptional
I am seeking a permanent opportunity, or at least a long term contract, with an exceptional company - one that has vision, and understands the value of a job done right. A company that wants the pinnacle of excellence to be the goal of every one of their employees. One that, breaks away from the pack, and isn't a follower.
Maybe your company is aware of the inherent problems with the too-early adoption of every (often unproved) trend to blow into town on the winds of technology.
Or, maybe your company understands the advantages of a distributed global office model.
If I've just described your company, please contact me - I'd love to talk to you about a position.
I have the experience, business sense, and determination to help you solve your SEO, usability, ADA and Section 508 accessibility, and interface design problems, and give you the kind of front-end design, with fast, dependable rendering in any browser, on any device, to enhance your company's success. I have yet to see an online system that I cannot improve.
Try me. Be better.
I just finished creating the UI (User Interface) designs for two VA (Veterans' Administration) applications. One is an application that will allow veterans to "tell their story" and share memories of their service with peers, family, and friends. The other is a life-saving application that will point out and prevent VA health care providers in VA clinics from prescribing medications that will interact with other medications the veteran is taking, or that will trigger an allergic response. This application will save the lives of thousands of veterans each year.
I expect my progress bar to be a much emulated element in websites and applications that have multi-step processes.
I recently finished the new responsive design website for Park Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, in Naples, FL - see it at www.myParkDental.com".
I have also created another nice, responsive website for a charter fishing and sightseeing company called Nature Coast Inshore Charters - their website can be seen at NatureCoastInshoreCharters.com.
The Cobbler's Kids Need New Shoes...
My wife and I have recently finished building our dream house, in a very remote location. Since this ENORMOUS project is nearly finished, I hope to be able to spend some time soon updating this website, and my portfolio, which I haven't done now for about two years.
Please bear with me - thanks!
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