In 28+ years focused on interactive design and usability, I’ve helped lead the evolution of online and interactive media, mostly behind the scenes and in large organizations, both as an executive with large staffs and as an individual consultant. I’ve had a real impact on that evolution, not least because of the dozens of designers I have brought into the field and mentored – and who have gone on to become recognized talents and leaders in the field.
2006 – present
designtangible, Montreal, Quebec. I work with large and small companies both in Canada and the U.S. to help them develop products and services that integrate the goals of their business, their brand and their customers. Clients have included My Virtual Model, Merrill Lynch, Tungle, Intercontinental Hotels, Mate1.com, Fidelity Investments both in the U.S. and Canada, and Starwood Hotels. I have partnered with various development groups and agencies, including Tank Design and Zebra Crossing. My user experience design consulting practice has been based in Montreal full-time since the beginning of 2008.
2002 – 2006
Fidelity Investments, Boston, Massachusetts. Vice President, Design Director. I led two design teams of information architects, graphic designers, prototype developers, and writers who focused on Web sites central to Fidelity’s strategy.
Guidance. My team led the design of Fidelity’s award-winning financial planning tools. Analyses by Forbes, BusinessWeek, Monitor, and many others placed us at the top rank.
Fidelity Employer Services Company. Fidelity is the largest employer benefits provider in the U.S. For 2½ years, I led the teams that designed Fidelity’s Web offerings, including:
NetBenefits, the site used by millions to manage their benefits. When I arrived, it already was the top-rated benefits site. I led the redesign, resulting in an increase of customer satisfaction ratings from the mid-70th percentile to 92%.
The redesign of Plan Sponsor Webstation, a system used by human resources professionals to administer benefits. When I started, it was rated 8th among such sites by the independent Boston Research Group based on surveys of users; after the redesign that I led, it was rated 1st.
Organization. I was tapped to refine processes for the central design group with its more than 120 staff, and to lead the design effort for the next-generation vision of Fidelity.com.
1997 – 2002
Digitas, Boston, Massachusetts. Group Creative Director. I developed one of the leading user interface practices in the marketing field, and led creative teams focused on Fortune 100 clients.
My clients included American Express, Bausch & Lomb, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Delta, FedEx, General Motors, IBM, TerraLycos (Telefonica), Victoria’s Secret, and Xerox. At one time or another, I contributed to just about every Digitas client globally.
I built and led the Global User Interface Design Practice. When I started, Digitas had no specialists in usability research or design. I recruited 30 top UI professionals (the majority had over a decade of UI design experience), staffing every office globally. As in my previous roles, I built a usability lab and made customer research central to every project
I contributed significant intellectual capital, much of which became part of the company’s DNA. Most strategic analysis (and new business pitches) included my work.
1995 – 1997
Independent Consultant. For nearly two years, I developed strategies and designs both for the Web and for personal computers as a consultant to both large and smaller, entrepreneurial clients, including Firefly, Greylock Partners, Mainspring Communications, NYNEX, White Pine, and MediaOne.
1991 – 1995
AT&T Interchange, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Design Director. I led the ten-person team that designed the Interchange Online Network.
My principal achievement was the design of the Interchange Online Network. Interchange introduced many concepts now considered key to the Internet: separation of form and content; indexed searching of large domains; extensive personalization without scripting or forms; aggressive use of client-server technology; . Reviews of the design ranged from “elegant” to “stupendous.” AOL, Prodigy, and MSN cheerfully imitated as much as they could.
Publicly unveiled in early 1994 as the hit of the Agenda 94 conference, Interchange was launched mid-1995 with the Washington Post, The Minneapolis Star Tribune, Ziff-Davis, and the Gartner Group as partners.
During the first half of 1995, I helped to establish the design and editorial staff for Europe Online, working for five months in Luxembourg, Munich, Paris, and London.
1985 – 1991
Citibank Development Division, New York NY. Vice President and Director of Humanware. The Humanware unit was formed in 1986 to centralize skill and learning in user interface design. I was a founding member, and was named Director in 1988. During my tenure, the group grew from 8 to nearly 30 full-time designers. Toward the end of the period, I received the highest people-management scores of any manager in a Division-wide study.
Humanware contributed to development efforts in which Citibank invested massive resources; the cumulative learning (from failures as well as successes) was hard to match.
Design projects under my management included:
The Enhanced Telephone, a home banking device for the masses. It required one page of instructions — on how to plug it in. (This was in the 1980s.) In both lab and field research, the ease-of-use and overall appeal of the experience consistently got highest scores (over 90% favorable).
A system for customer service representatives. Handle time, morale and turnover improved significantly. Service representatives previously took six months to get up to speed, and turnover ran at 100% annually. On the new system, training took half a day.
Approximately a dozen other major initiatives, including financial planning packages, interactive sales, back-office tools, and next-generation ATMs.
1984 – 1985
Lexica Corporation, New York NY. Vice President for Software Development. I led a team within a consulting firm that built a variety of videotex and PC-based projects. Clients included Panasonic, Southern Bell, and Citibank, for which I developed the first-ever online credit card application.
1981 – 1984
Time Inc, New York NY. Designer / Editor, Time Teletext. As a team member and then team leader, I created sections of an ambitious graphical home information system, delivered to television sets via cable and a custom-built decoder.
I co-founded a design team that developed educational games for young children and teenagers, using formative lab research to marry cognitive psychology with Time production values. The output of this small team accounted for more than half of the usage in field-test households.
Williams College, Williamstown MA. B.A. in History of Ideas. Magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Gargoyle Society.
Fluent English and Italian, nearly fluent and constantly improving French, solid Spanish