Writer and User Experience Designer
Welcome to my online CV! I'm a writer and user experience designer for the web with more than twenty years of experience, largely in the public and nonprofit sectors.
I write blog pieces, book proposals, articles, op-eds, speeches, press releases, policy reports and web content.
On the web side, I work with designers and developers to create concise, easy-to-navigate websites that effectively communicate the client's message and give users the information they want.
I specialize in taking complex content and breaking it down into clear, comprehensible language for both print and online media.
Working with team to transition the U.S. Department of Education's STAR training on adult literacy from a face-to-face model to an online learning community. Set out the new online structure in wireframes, worked with subject matter experts to develop storyboards for the e-learning modules, managed media for the e-learning modules (including audio, video, photos and images), edited scripts, edited media where needed and acted as project lead on the client end. Communicated extensively with team in video scrum calls. Used Trello and Jira to manage tasks and communicate with team.
Do research for and ghostwrite blog pieces, articles, book proposals, book excerpts and other work as needed.
Oversaw a major redesign of the AIIA website per a contract with the Department of Labor that will highlight the benefits of apprenticeship for employers, communities and potential apprentices. Created a flat, user-friendly navigation structure that incorporates audience-specific webpages and developed structures to showcase data-rich content in an accessible, intuitive format. Ongoing role as user experience designer and content manager.
Overhauled existing website to improve organization, content and clarity. Managed the creation of a new, interactive content section -- Occupational Standards (developed the architecture, wrote the HTML and CSS, subcontracted for and managed programming and data entry staff). Managed a design redevelopment to a cleaner, brighter, more professional website. Retained as website content and usability manager.
Helped newly launched website for significant cultural project reorganize content, streamline navigation and make other improvements for greater usability (recommendations pending).
Made it possible for theatre staff to update the An Lab website with new events and photos via secure, online forms. Old events are automatically sorted onto the archive page. Created the system with MySQL, PHP, AJAX, JQuery and CSS.
Brought oral history archive to life with a map-based, database-driven website (original test website created for UCC Computer Science Master's project). Retained by the CFP as consultant to improve and build upon the new resource (www.corkmemorymap.org) [Note: the website design has been changed. See screen shot at top right for original design].
Helped Irish high school students make short films for a national competition by co-teaching a one-week class on digital video editing techniques. Introduced the green screen and explored a range of shots and cuts. Some of the student videos created are viewable on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/UCCMPT.
Reinvigorated technical skills by pursuing a Master's in Interactive Media, Computer Science Department, University College Cork. Graduated December 2011 with 1st Class Honors.
Pursued creative interests in photography and writing. Established a stock photography portfolio on iStock, maintained an online blog with nonfiction essays on various topics, and had several poems chosen for publication in Irish literary journals.
Wrote several commissioned articles for weekly magazine of news, features and opinion.
• Distilled 100 years of Irish history into explanatory panels for a national traveling exhibition titled “Seen but Not Heard – A Century of Childhood in Ireland,” a joint project of County museums across Ireland. • Created a coherent story line for a special standing exhibit at the Kerry County Museum -- “William Melville: Spymaster” -- by editing explanatory panels.
Provided up-to-date information and interactive communication forums for state and local recipients of federal grants from the Departments of Education and Labor via user-centered, audience-driven websites, including:
STAR pilot project and online Toolkit (www.startoolkit.org), Principal Developer. Helped adult basic education teachers use evidence-based instructional research in the classroom by organizing the print version of a valuable research paper into a multimedia, online tool (the Toolkit itself is accessible only to state partners).
ACRN website (a version of this website is maintained at acrn.ovae.org/about.htm), Content Manager. Reorganized content; improved navigation; worked with team to restructure databases and search functions; developed new content and maintained fresh, relevant and user-centered material from 2002-2007. Won Standard of Excellence award in 2006.
School-to-Work website, 1995-2002. (web.archive.org/web/20011217183025/http://www.stw.ed.gov/ - archive address), Developer and Content Manager. Took fledgling government Web site with minimal content and developed a comprehensive, organized, customer-focused site that went from approximately 20,000 hits per month to 200,000. The website won several awards.
One-Stop Toolkit, 2002. Developer. Improved usability of large resource library for a Department of Labor Web site by reorganizing resources into discrete subject areas, clarifying links, and writing brief descriptions of each. Met and consulted frequently with team and clients to ensure that the site met audience needs.
Helped influential Washington, D.C. nonprofit organization publicize programs and policies that demonstrate research-based, positive outcomes for youth. Analyzed large amounts of evaluation data to distill major findings and track similarities, differences and trends. Condensed findings into consistent and readable summaries for publication in print and Web site reports. Consulted and communicated with client extensively on data results and presentation (www.aypf.org/publications/compendium/index.html).
Condensed large research reports into short, focused articles for publication. Worked extensively with researchers to ensure articles accurately reflected research findings.
Cork City, Ireland
First Class Honors.
New York City
Columbia School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA)
Cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
Weavers Way Community Farm, 2014-16. Worked twice weekly on urban farm connected to Saul High School to bring local produce to local tables. Weeded, washed, harvested, weighed, packed, planted and did whatever else was needed to help farm supervisor.
Scrogall Community Television, 2012. Worked with the Corca Dhuibhne (Dingle Peninsula) local, online television station to help organize, update and streamline their website. Also worked on community stories.
Age Action Ireland, Dingle Branch, 2010. Taught older adults basic computer and Internet skills in an intensive, one-on-one, six-week course sponsored by Age Action Ireland (we met once each week for the six weeks). Volunteered for two rounds before funding for the Dingle branch was cut in recessionary Ireland.
Screen shot of Cork Memory Map