Meet Katie, Manager of User Experience & Strategy, aka Usability Nerd
If you have had the pleasure of working with Katie, you know she loves usability! In her own words, Katie calls herself a "usability nerd," noticing usability issues everywhere—not just on the Web, but at the grocery store, at the airport, in her car, in products and packaging…and she is always trying to figure out not only how to fix them, but why they were done that way to start.
In building websites the unfortunate truth is, sometimes, when the budget is tight, the first part of the process to get scrapped is the user analysis. Clients opt for shiny over usable. Katie sees this as a challenge to solve, since it is possible to have both.
In her role as Manager of User Experience & Strategy at TBG (The Berndt Group), Katie embraces the challenge of marrying good usability with design.
"One of the many things I love about TBG is that good usability and a sleek, modern design are not viewed as mutually exclusive; it's not one or the other. Every project we do is built to provide the best possible user experience— meaning that what the user sees and feels as a result, work in harmony with how that same user interacts with the site and how the site, in turn, interacts with the user. It all happen behinds the scenes. A good site is just a good site. No one should be sitting there thinking 'they really focused on the user experience here.' It should just be 'I really like using this site,' which I guess is the reason usability is so often overlooked. If it's done well, you don't notice it."
Specific areas of expertise include: discovery, requirements and content analysis, strategy, information architecture, usability testing and analysis, interactive prototyping for internal and end-user testing and feedback, persona development, strategic content development, social media strategy, standards-based HTML/CSS development, CMS best practices (such as CrownPeak, Sitecore, Ektron), and 508 compliance.
Past projects for which Katie has lead information architecture include NAIOP (the commercial real estate development association), Johns Hopkins PACER, Mercy Hospital, Gallagher Evelius & Jones LLP, Wake Forest Baptist Health, Catholic Relief Services, Towson University, Medi-CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, The Dental Network, and the Federal Employee Program's regional health care site, and many others. Katie's Medi-CareFirst site was selected as a WEBBY Award Honoree and won PRSA's Best of Maryland award.
When she isn't heads down at TBG solving usability challenges and architecting awesome sites, Katie enjoys traveling (especially internationally), ancient history (which often goes hand in hand with traveling), art (with a special interest in modern art and photography), and playing beach and indoor volleyball.