I motivate CEOs and manipulate pixels with equal skill and ease. As a seasoned UX professional, I've done just about everything just about everywhere
Past clients and roles
As Director of Mobile Experience Design, I transformed Marriott’s mobile practice, positioning UX design as an integral aspect of all strategic mobile product planning.
Public Broadcasting Service
I managed the design, information architecture and Web analytics resources for PBS' Interactive Team and introduced the organization's first enterprise-wide Web analytics package.
American Museum of Natural History
I led the UX discovery efforts in the development of AMNH's first wayfinding app.
U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs
I introduced mobile design and usability standards to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
I was washingtonpost.com's first Director of User Experience and introduced the information architecture discipline to the organization.
U.S. Dept. for Homeland Security
I defined and designed an immigration research system for the DHS.
I led Tribune Company's online design efforts in South Florida during the early days of the commercial Web, launching the company's first classified advertising sites as well as Digital Cities, a partnership with America Online.
I was born in Baltimore and grew up in the Washington, D.C. suburbs. I graduated from the University of Maryland in 1987 with a journalism degree and an intense desire to get busy. After a year designing features pages and pounding out informational graphics and illustrations for the Burlington Free Press in Vermont, I went way south to the Sun-Sentinel newspaper in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Four years of slamming Metro section designs together led to a gig as the art director for a new Palm Beach County magazine. We shuttered that after a year and I moved to another of Tribune's magazines where I did every job except photographer and ad salesman.
We put the magazine on the Web in 1995 and then a few months later actually asked if we could. Surprisingly, that worked out and set me up nicely to lead Tribune's digital design in South Florida for a couple of years.
I moved back home to launch robust digital products and introduce user experience as a concept at The Washington Post's online operations.
The dot-com bubble bursting at the beginning of this century provided an opportunity for me to learn about online education at a company called K12 before I got back into the director-of-user-experience business with a three-year gig at PBS. I followed that as a consultant and de facto lead for UX staffers at Sapient. After five years of fascinating projects, I went to work for a friend at Marriott where I took over the company's mobile experience design efforts and transformed them into a mature practice.
Along the way, I became a father, launched Cranky Talk Workshops for New Speakers and illustrated and co-wrote a book (Designing the Conversation, New Riders, 2013). I also picked up a Master's in writing and finished my first novel (which stubbornly continues to not attract an editor interested in publishing it.)
My wife and kid mean more than any project you could possibly discuss with me and don't expect me to ever forget it. That being said, I don't have anything resembling a well-balanced life. For example, I don't have any hobbies. Rather, hobbies have never made any sense to me. I draw and create things, I run workshops, I write fiction and UX-related non-fiction, I help friends who are writing their own books and I speak at a bunch of conferences every year. All of these things I treat as work, not as some kind of casual or frivolous hobby, and I tear into all the work I do (paid and unpaid) with the same passion and energy.
I love work.
dan [at] dswillis [dotcom] - @uxcrank - linkedin.com/in/uxcrank