/ senior UX pro / writer / team manager / process thinker
In college I studied both English and French literature and in the meantime sharpened my skills with code and web site development.
One of the sites I worked on has evolved quite a bit since I worked on it in Way Back When. Times certainly have changed. But hey, this happened.
I traveled solo in Europe fairly extensively. I had a command of French, and enough Spanish to not starve, but otherwise had to rapidly learn enough language and culture to get by in places like Prague, Nuremberg, and Rome. This became important later.
After school, I went to work as a writer & project lead at an agency that primarily did marketing collateral. Pretty shortly, though, I branched out and started working for myself.
At Macromedia, I had the privilege of working on a product way ahead of its time - Sitespring. It taught me SDLC, a lot more about HTML, and what attention to user experiences looked like.
At two Emerson companies - Rosemount and Micro Motion - I had the chance to learn publication, release management, and translation.
Language acquisition and critical analysis were now my best allies. I was instrumental in helping to build a 14-language structured authoring system based on DITA XML and XSLT.
Determined to drive further into user experience, I sought out opportunities to build scaleable, responsive, data-driven web sites and devices.
My programming background made creating advanced prototypes in tools like Axure a natural fit.
I developed not only a strong understanding of analytics but an ability to craft custom insights and implement code for tracking new activity.
Most of the time - especially in Agile - whiteboard sessions with developers are the best tool. The next step up is low-fi in Axure. For higher-fidelity mockups, I rely principally on Sketch. Tour below.
Sometimes processes need to be illustrated to make the biggest impact. I've used a lot of tools for these kinds of drawings, from Illustrator to Inkscape to Sketch and Visio.
Product mock-ups help document the functionality of what's being built. For me, the best tool to do this right now is Axure but I've sometimes used Sketch for this.
Knocking together examples - or even fully-functional frameworks - is pretty easy with Bootstrap 4. It can often be quicker and easier to communicate ideas with stakeholders & developers if I write a little code.
It's not that often that high-fi mockups are required when there are good graphic designers around. But when need arises, it's definitely a Sketch job.