I’m a university professor, web usability advocate, writer and motorcyclist.
I live and breathe user experience.
Whether we’re talking about a public-facing website, an intranet site, a web application, or the narrative and images that accompany these digital environments, the key to their success is a focus on the user. This is the philosophy that guides my work.
As a communications professional who speaks tech, I’ve helped organizations like AT&T, About.com, Boeing and King County Elections tell their stories. I’ve also helped students master digital skills ranging from coding websites to writing for the web, from understanding how “social media” work (and why today’s buzzword is a bit of old news) to seeing the economic disruption that digital technology carries in its wake. Always while putting the customer/user first; a user-centered design ethic for digital communication before we used the phrase.
My unique background augments traditional marketing, media relations and PR skill sets with extensive social media and digital communication experience. I am the rare career communications professional who is also well-versed in digital tools; I was the Seattle P-I “Geek of the Week” in 2009.
HTML5, XHTML, CSS, XML, WordPress, Sharepoint, Sitecore plus soft skills (project management, leadership, communication). Award-winning writer. Captivating and enthusiastic speaker.
Selected communications projects
Created community relations program for $2.3 million wastewater treatment plant expansion; included facility open house, coordination with environmental agency and advocacy groups, creation of collateral and liaison with local media.
Led volunteer committee through planning process for advocacy website, including developing technical requirements and audience definition; facilitated communication goals development; interacted with six-person advisory committee composed of senior level forest products company managers.
Developed strategic plan regarding spotted owl regulation and potential impact on pulp and paper using a comprehensive economic analysis of effects of restricted federal harvest on regional industry. Analysis served as basis for testimony, comments, Congressional letters and background material for lobbying efforts that included partner organizations such as the Pulp and Paper Workers Resource Council. Succeeded in having the missing impact acknowledged in final reports.
Established an association communications and identity program for the Pennsylvania Association of Farmer Cooperatives; implemented a quarterly newsletter.
Author of several book chapters on communications, technology web design. Created A/V and trailer for play about the life of Margaret Mitchell; production featured at the 2014 Piccola Spoleto Festival in Charleston, S.C.
Early advocate for user-centered design and accessibility, evidenced by presentation at WWW6, 1997, “Design for Usability”.
I’ve been online since the early 1990s, having discovered CompuServe before Marc Andreessen launched Mosaic at the University of Illinois in 1993. In 1995, I built and ran one of the first political candidate websites in Washington State. I then rode the dot-com boom as a communication consultant who could speak web, until the crash. In 2001, I began my fourth career as a full-time academic, first teaching techies about communications and now teaching communicators about technology. Since 2000, I have also taught newbies how to ride motorcycles.
At the University of Washington, I taught undergraduate digital journalism as well as classes in the Master of Communication in Digital Media program from 2003 until 2011, when I shifted my UW teaching to part-time. My areas of interest are the economics of information and the impact of technologies on institutions of power, like journalism and politics. At King County Elections, I manage the website (part-time) and advocate on behalf of voters in all technology decisions, a civics-oriented position I assumed in late 2011.
Before the web, I was a Dale Carnegie instructor. And on weekends, I teach newbies how to ride motorcycles (MSF).
WiredPen supports my classes with news and commentary and helps ease the itchy finger “must write!” gene. In 2004, my interest in e-voting and public policy threatened to shift focus away from technology and toward politics. I resisted that switch by becoming the US Politics Guide at About.com; I left that position in March 2009. I still write about politics at TheModerateVoice, and I have served as a political analyst for Northwest Cable News.
One day I’ll get my TFM columns (from the 90s!) moved to blogdom (from plain ole HTML) and renew my writing on usability issues; until then, look for the odd blog post, most of which are republished at ux.kegill.com. Motogrrl relates some of my motorcycling adventures and has resources for women riders and those interested in motorcycle training. (The less-expensive alternative to the four-legged beasts I grew up with: my first career goal in life was to be the first woman jockey!)
Reporters often contact me with questions about Twitter, social media, internet technologies. I’ve archived some of these references.
Bachelor of Arts, journalism, University of Georgia; Master of Science, agricultural economics, Virginia Tech. My roots in applied theory run deep.
Native of Georgia; resident of Virginia, Washington D.C, and Pennsylvania before moving to Washington State in 1989. Live in SnoCo with
my tester SO (permanent fiance) husband Mike and our dog, Katie, and cat, Rocko … and four five bikes and a scooter. :)
Impact of social media (blogs, wikis, Facebook, Twitter, etc) on participatory journalism, politics and social networks; convergence of digital and analog communication technologies, including e-voting; motorcycles, especially BMW and Ducati (and now Honda TransAlps); Cairn terriers; horses; science fiction books and movies; mysteries; public policy; gardening (but nothing like Howard Rheingold!).
ACM, AWC, Digital Eve, ONA, SMC, SPJ
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Periodically, there may be posts from guest authors — students or former students.
Some of the links to products may be affiliate links; I am not paid for these, per se, and I don’t recommend books (or anything else) because I am /paid/ to do so.
Unless otherwise indicated, all words and images are mine. Although I retain copyright, I authorize use of my material using a Creative Commons license.