I’m a seasoned educator and a budding hacker. If your project has didactic intent, I can help you shape your interface for your intended audience. If you need a courageous team member to learn a new program or coding language, I’m happy to do it. In my 20 years of tinkering with technology in the humanities, I see joy in every opportunity, from designing game-based play using TWINE and building critical collections in Manifold to automating the resizing of huge collections of images in Photoshop and creating envelope-pushing audio versions of text and primary sources. As a published author of fiction and a long-standing department chair and curriculum director, I’m also happy to write and edit.
My passion for research has been reignited since entering the DH program. Last year’s courses led me to the collections of the Morgan Library and Schomburg Center for the sacred experience of holding in my hands an 1899 edition of The Yellow Wall-Paper and letters penned by Nella Larsen. I’ve loved the digital bloodhound pursuit as well, sniffing around the web for details about New York Times best-selling authors or merging and cleaning datasets from disparate sources.
Last spring, in Patrick Smith’s Software Design Lab, I helped a peer create a network-independent website for teaching DH in prison. In considering the UX for that site, we did a lot of research into the psychology of prison reform, the psychology of color and layout, disabilities common among the imprisoned (there’s a disproportionate number of colorblind inmates), and W3C accessibility guidelines. What the Intro to DH course last term taught me is that good UX goes farther than that: you start with a diverse team, the principles of universal design, and a deep eagerness to detect implicit bias in the work. You also include loops of testing and feedback with a diverse group of reviewers. And even then, there’s still work to be done, such as versioning and clear crediting, as our reading for this week reminds us. I’m deeply committed to these issues of accessibility and universal design. (In fact, there are great accessibility tools even in WordPress that I think few have explored.)
On the more skill-specific side, I’ve used Photoshop for years and I’ve just begun to explore Illustrator, so I’m happy to create web graphics or logos as needed, though I don’t have a background in graphic design.
Years of serving as a dean of studies and department chair have taught me that explicit expectations and clear deadlines can turn brilliant vision into reality. In order for a project to work well, team members need to agree on the timing, medium, and nature of their meetings and work—decisions that often vary widely from group to group. My experience with workflow apps has been limited to proprietary software for education, but I’m happy to learn.