When I finished my undergraduate studies I began looking for a career where I could utilize, and further develop, my skills as a writer. Having just wrapped up my tour as a starving student I wanted a position where I could use these skills to do glamorous things like pay the rent. Advertising seemed like an ideal compromise: a profession that is both thoroughly creative and viable as a career. My pursuit of this goal eventually led me to the east coast and an Internet services company named Modem Media. It was an event that triggered significant changes in my career goals and in how I perceive technology. It was an event that led me to you.
We created our fair share of banner ads and email campaigns at Modem Media. The company claims to have created the first banner ad after all. But there was a lot more going on than just traditional advertising. We were using information architecture, interface design and innovative new technologies to help change the ways the nation’s top corporations do business! I helped GE simplify access to each of its business units and designed a wireless application that would allow members of the press to access a contact database from a PDA. I helped them develop online tools that generated qualified business leads as well as a corporate intranet that could be customized by their employees.
It was on projects like these that I learned how to process large batches of information and how to thoughtfully present that data online. I learned about usability and the power of an effective interface. I helped standardize ways to deliver information so that it would be useful to an uninitiated online audience and an internal development team. I integrated coding instructions and amended my work with meta tags (for search engines), alt tags (for universal access), and functional requirements (for our webmasters). It was an opportunity for me to experience a different type of creativity that would, unlike most pop-up windows and spam, be valued by my audience.
I found the creative profession I was seeking, not in the hundreds of ad concepts, but in the creative ways I could deliver information. We were constantly running into the boundaries of technology, testing the limitations of our budget or butting heads with clients. Ultimately, our efforts yielded online applications that would allow customers to interact with our client’s business and get the information they wanted, when they wanted it. Ultimately, it was all worth it.
It was this new career path held more interest for me. The epiphany came in a Barnes & Noble bookstore while I was brainstorming for a Coors Light/NFL ad campaign. I realized that my goals had changed and that the compromise I had found so alluring a few years before was no longer acceptable. It was time for me to move away from advertising. This decision led me across the country and to Apple Computer.
During my time with Apple I have seen first hand how a thoughtfully designed interface enables people to use technology in ways they may have never considered before. I have seen grandmothers who are building web pages and editing digital photographs. I have seen nine year-olds who are seasoned video editors. The catalyst for this change was not the power of the computer itself. Computers are machines that bewildered hands can do little with. It was Apple’s ability to distill these functions into convenient, intuitive and approachable applications that has opened up new methods for creative expression. I decided that I wanted to help create and design these tools. I wanted to have a similar effect on the way people perceive and use technology.
That is where you come in. Technical communications is a field I have been involved in and that I am ready to commit to. I even took time to visit the campus, meet with the faculty, and sit in on an informative class given by Dr. Farkas to make sure. Just as my time with Modem Media and Apple before it, I feel the program will help me augment my current skills while concurrently helping me discover opportunities that I have not previously considered. I cannot think of a better way to begin doing that than by participating in one of the leading technical communications programs in the country. Let’s get started!