I'm a user interface design consultant; I work with companies to produce web sites, applications, and consumer devices that give their users simple and direct tools for solving their problems. This consultancy — Miramontes Interactive — is the latest incarnation of my long-standing activity in technology, design, and usability.

Interaction design

My design projects have spanned a number of dimensions -- research to product, consumer to enterprise, desktop to web. What they have in common is a general approach to design that's based in a clear understanding of user needs, technology opportunities, design approaches, and the ways in which these factors can all come together in a successful solution to a problem. Prototyping, iterative design, and user feedback are essential parts of this process, which I carry out individually for small projects and as a part of a larger development team for corporate projects.

Usability

I've worked on a wide range of usability projects, from early-stage ethnographic field studies of work environments, user needs, and market requirements to "traditional" usability studies of competing interface designs. My usability work is almost always accompanied by design recommendations: I understand the connection between design and usability, and I can tell whether a design recommendation will require a simple tweak or a major architectural overhaul. As a result, I can structure my recommendations to meet the needs of the client and the product at hand, and be certain that the client will get maximum value from the study.

System development

I've gotten a lot of calls recently from clients looking for a combination of interaction design and development services. Design and development require different perspectives on a problem, but I understand design, and I do know how to code, so I've ramped up my development skills and services accordingly. In these projects, I rarely operate simply as a programer. One way or another, I'm inevitably working on the interaction design of the site, and bringing in as much usability testing -- formal or informal -- as I can.

miramontes.com: now with added introspection!

I've added a number of my older papers and technical reports to the site, and the casual visitor might be some questions about why anyone should care about these relatively ancient documents. (1995?? Did they really have computers then?) So I've added present-day annotations to some of these papers, pointing out aspects of the work that I still think are worthy of attention, personal or historical insights about the projects, and post-hoc justifications for what, at the time, honestly seemed like really good ideas, regardless of what ultimately happened. Enjoy.

As an aside, I found that it was a lot of fun to go back through all this stuff and think about it from a more up-to-date perspective. If you happen to have a web site with a similarly historical overview of your own work, I'd highly recommend this -- you'll learn a few things by doing it, and it may provide some additional value to your visitors.

IEEE Internet Computing columns

I've written a column for IEEE Internet Computing, focusing on user experience issues. Written from the perspective of a user experience guy talking to research and product development people whose expertise, by and large, is not in user experience, these columns point out new developments in the user experience world that are opening up new opportunities for research and products, and address technology issues that could be helped by thinking more carefully about user experience. If that suits you, come by for a look.