Brian
Takle

/ senior UX pro / writer / team manager / process thinker

       

A brief history of time

In college I studied both English and French literature and in the meantime sharpened my skills with code and web site development.

  • Wrote, designed, and coded online games.
  • Designed and coded web sites.
  • Composed a thesis on the Cathar religion.
  • Developed a multilingual understanding.

       

Games

One of the games on which I was a formative developer is still up and running. With the logo I designed, even.

Armageddon

Sites

One of the sites I worked on has evolved quite a bit since I worked on it in 1997.

UWRF Modern Languages Site

Languages

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.

Early career

After school, I went to work for companies in the industrial measurement and software development industries. At first, I worked through an agency. But shortly I started working for myself.

  • Wrote, designed, and coded company web sites.
  • Led teams of writers, developers, and artists.
  • Managed print and translation vendors.

       

Software development

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.

Sitespring doc Sitespring QRG

Industrial measurement

At two Emerson companies - Rosemount and Micro Motion - I had the chance to learn publication, release management, and translation.

ELITE PDS

Information architecture

Language acquisition and critical analysis were now my best allies. I was instrumental in helping build a 14-language structured authoring system based on DITA XML and XSLT.

  • Incredibly complex IA
  • Massive terminology library
  • Demanding vendor coordination

Late career

Determined to drive further into user experience, I sought out opportunities to build scaleable, data-driven web sites and devices.

  • Live prototypes & A/B testing.
  • Analytics for KPIs and insights.
  • Audience personalization and optimization.
  • Component UI frameworks.

       

Prototypes

My programming background made creating advanced prototypes in tools like Axure a natural fit.

Scrolling Axure Component

Analytics

I've developed not only a strong understanding of analytics but an ability to craft custom insights and implement code for tracking new activity.

Adobe Analytics

Component frameworks

Enterprise efforts need a component UI that can scale with development and also support analytics. JavaScript templates, practical code management, and localization best-practices are what make this a success.

UI Development Framework

More examples

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.

       

Whiteboards

I often say I can't lead a talk without a marker in my hand. I like to draw ideas as they happen.

Data Visualization Responsive Mapping

Low-fidelity process

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.

Design Patterns Design Sprints

Low-fidelity product

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.

Navigation One-time Passcode Low-Fi Documenting Functionality

High-fidelity

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. Colors deliberately left out or muted to leave room for the creative team.

Design Evolution Mobile First