It has occurred to me on more than one occasion that I really do need to update my professional online presence. More than a decade ago, I was all over the internets and social media — so much so that people thought I did social media for a living. (I don’t.) But I have been around quite a while, and I’ve worn a variety of hats over the years . The beauty of having been around long enough to experience the birth of the internet and its rapid expansion is that you’ve seen an amazing journey unfold before you. The down side to this is trying to keep up with it all. As the landscape changes, our skills change and adapt to focus on current needs, often times faster than we anticipate. So too does our work. My online presence started by creating intranets and resources, then exploring wikis and leaping headfirst into twitter and every other new social media platform that was created. Soon we were slogging through websites and hand coding html, then embracing design applications like homesite, dreamweaver, then back to hand coding… And then I discovered I was spending more time hacking things because I didn’t think they were easy to use. It was to become a theme of my professional life, and finally they came up with a name for it: user experience design.
I was hooked.
Since the industry legitimized something I was already doing, I dove head first into this ever widening subject matter, and was fortunate to find a place at Penn State that values the user experience. I certainly haven’t been bored in my job as a UX designer, and often I’ve been challenged by scope and breadth of projects that we get. Spending so much time doing the work at work, however, means that my own site gradually went into a state of disrepair. I tried to pull all my content together under one main site, but it became forced to write professionally when I really didn’t know how to talk about the work we did. In the five years I’ve been with the Studio, I’ve done a lot of work, but it took a while to figure out how to present that work in a form for others to view. After all, my chosen profession is one where we collaborate and work together as a team, so my work can be difficult to define. Often, user experience is only obvious when it is glaringly bad. Then you can see the pain points and say, “We need to fix this. It’s bad.”
I rather think that’s where I was with my blog.
So I’m starting with a clean slate here. I’m going to see if I can do a better job of sharing resources and breathing life into this ongoing portfolio of work. My old site will still exist — after all, you can’t take the Renegade out of the girl — but I think it’s time to discard the halfhearted attempts at being professional there and just truly embrace the rebellion of wherever the wind takes it, propriety be damned. It found a different voice and I’ve grown weary of trying to reign it in.
Let’s start to show you how we practice what we preach.