The ‘Roll Call’ series is all about introducing new faculty for the 2015-2016 academic year to the Communication Leadership community. Our next featured incoming faculty member is Karen Morrill-McClure. Karen is a web developer with a passion for interface design, front-end coding and all things geeky. She will be teaching user-centered design and research courses at the University of Washington.
I’m a web developer/designer who loves usability, user-centered design, interface design and front-end coding. I’ve had a hand in all aspects of web development and design, so I’m a jack-of-all-trades, master of few.
I’ve been doing this since just after the appearance of the web. Before the web was there for me to play with, I got a masters degree in engineering and worked on the Space Shuttle for five years. Then I struck off as a freelancer and worked with companies ranging from PacifiCare Health Insurance to California State University of Northridge to St. John’s Hospital. I’ve worked with other small businesses and organizations along the way.
Lately I’ve been doing a lot of work with WordPress sites trying to make both a great user experience and a great experience for the people who have to maintain the site.
I’ve always been the one with a foot in two worlds: one in design (through theatre, creative writing, and user centered design) and one in tech (through programming, engineering and being a geek). So I love to translate between the two and teach people from one side that they can learn how to use that other side as well.
I’m teaching two courses for Communication Leadership. Both are special topics:
- Foundational User Centered Design Methodologies
- Advanced User Research and UX Strategies
In the first class we’re going to explore User Centered Design by creating “choose your own path” adventure games. We’ll focus on designing a game tailored to your team’s audience that meets the goal of teaching your audience something.
The second class will focus on the tools used for information architecture, interface design and visual design. By tools, I don’t mean software — I mean things like site maps, wireframes, composition, typography and color.
For fun I pick apart bad interfaces (and occasionally good ones) and read technical books (really!). My family watches a lot of movies, especially horror and science fiction, and we have almost as much fun discussing them as we do watching them. I’m getting back into reading comic books.
I also love women’s soccer (go Reign!), playing Dungeons and Dragons (when I can), playing World of Warcraft, taking care of my family’s menagerie of animals, snapping photos with my iPhone, stretching my iPad to its limits, and enjoying the nature around Edmonds and Washington.