Where I’ve been and what I’ve done.

A little background on yours truly: who I am, what I do, who I do it for and, most importantly, why it matters — both to me and to the people I help.

Here’s my story.

I’ve been speaking publicly on the topics of User Experience (UX) and Design for 29 years, from national and global conferences like HOW Design Live, IxDA/ISA, SDD, DevWeek and QCon, to regional events like PechaKucha. I also spend as much time as I can talking to students across the country at colleges and universities, because I believe in giving back what others so generously gave me in the early years of my career.

I’ve launched eight successful online courses. I’m privileged to have helped over 140,000 students who have taken courses like Design Rules, User Experience Design Fundamentals and UX & Web Design Master Course. That response has been nothing short of humbling and overwhelming, but the level of engagement and the fact that enrollment grows daily tells me that people find it valuable. I have several UX training courses on my own platform as well, and am continuously creating and launching new courses and workshops.

I’ve written several books. My first book, Design Means Business, was published in 2000 (and is now woefully out of print). My most recent book on Product Design and User/Customer Experience Strategy, Think Firstwas self-published and has been read by more than 10,000 people. Over 53,000 readers have downloaded my latest eBooks, 10 Commandments of UI Design and UI Fail.

I’ve written numerous articles about the roles Design, UX and CX play in business success for publications such as Fast Company, HOW, SmartCEO, The AIGA Journal, The Baltimore Business Journal and Business Monthly.

I have been a UX/CX Consultant for nearly three decades, and have been privileged to work with organizations from Fortune 100 companies to Government Agencies to small startups. That work includes commercial industry leaders like Google Ventures, Kroll/Duff & Phelps, Broadridge, Condé Nast, Johns Hopkins, Mettler-Toledo, PHH Arval, SC Johnson and Wolters Kluwer, as well as government agencies like NSF/NCSES, NIH and the Dept. of Homeland Security.

I now devote my time to writing, coaching, consulting, and speaking. I’ve always been immensely passionate about UX and design and their inherent power, and I’m downright giddy when put in a position to share that passion and hopefully ignite someone else’s.

Nothing thrills me more than seeing that fire in someone’s eyes, the light of recognition that leads to change. It just never gets old.

I live outside of Baltimore, MD with my wife Eli; together we have three children. In what little free time I do have, I enjoy motorcycling, art and making music.

I call myself a User Experience (UX) Evangelist because I believe passionately in the power of activity-based design and engaging user experiences to build, strengthen and maintain customer relationships. When a product makes customers feel good or safe or creative or in control, trust and loyalty are built and maintained. And that’s the foundation of what makes an organization profitable.

I am often asked why UX should matter to business. Here’s the short answer.

A significant chunk of revenue for most businesses flows through some flavor of transactional experience via computing – a scenario where there’s no face-to-face contact, no opportunity to persuade or build trust through traditional means.

As such, if you’re a business, your product, your app, your system, your web site acts as an avatar,
an ambassador for you
. So when it comes to business via computing, the strength of the customer relationship depends on the experience they have doing business with your ambassador.

Which means that if the site sucks, you suck.

If the system is slow and unresponsive, so are you.

If the app is confusing and frustrating, they’re frustrated with you too.

I’ve been privileged to serve a number of clients who have realized substantial business benefits from this strategic approach to user experience design. I’ve been fortunate to see measurable success come from tried-and-true best practices in UX and design, and I’ve learned great lessons from some spectacular failures as well.

I hope you find this corner of the universe useful, usable and valuable.

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