Barry Cogswell, Artist & Sculptor

I also want to thank you for helping to make the process so easy and pleasant. It was great working with you. From the beginning you had a very clear idea of how the site might be designed, but you were also more than willing to listen to my own ideas and suggestions. Throughout I found the complete process, from starting with my initial request to taking delivery of your excellent final design a very positive and enjoyable experience. I assure you I will not hesitate to recommend you to acquaintances and friends who may need the help of a web-site designer.

Thank you again.

James – Training Participant

Throughout both COMM 1007 – Technical Writing Style and COMM 1008 – Technical Editing and Grammar classes, Jason stressed the importance of learning industry standard software used in technical writing. The amusing visuals he used and his approachable manner helped to make the classes very engaging. And his frequent anecdotes about experience in the industry helped me understand something about the real work of a technical writer.

Client of Frances Carere, Business Development Manager, CDI Education

Thank you for providing [us] with Jason Hall’s services during their migration; the project is officially over. During the sign-off interview, [our IT Manager] said she was extremely satisfied with the work Jason did. (Despite me giving you such short notice!) [She] was particularly impressed with Jason’s ability to quickly resolve their logo migration issue. This would have been a huge problem for them to resolve but Jason did it within a day.

Thanks again for pulling the rabbit out of the hat. I look forward to working with you again.

Perfect Contract

The Perfect Contract

I was contracted to provide technical help, which I would describe as The Perfect Contract. What was perfect about this contract was how much I was able provide because it mirrored my diverse range of skills and abilities. So much so, in fact, that the description of what I did reads almost like my résumé. This contract was a quick turn around – I was called on Thursday and had the majority of work completed by the following Wednesday.

Needs Assessment – 6 hours

The client was in the midst of an office-wide migration from Macintosh computers to Windows PC computers to be compliant with head office. I spoke with their IT Administrator to determine what operating systems were involved and what she thought the key issues were.

I discovered that some Users would migrate directly to PC computers and other would be on their old Apple Macintosh computers running Windows in a Citrix shell for several weeks. My training and materials needed to reflect that.

I explored their system making notes. I needed to know their systems well enough to anticipate a broad range of questions pertaining to both Apple Macintosh and Windows PC operating systems as well as the Citrix Shell. I concluded that I would be giving a lecture type demonstration to all staff using screen projections and handouts.

Create End-User Guide – 11 hours

At home, I created a complementary End-User Migration Guide aimed at both the full PC Users as well as the Mac Users now operating Windows in the Citrix Shell.

Topics covered included Understanding Windows 2000 Server, Using Word and Excel in Windows, Introduction to Outlook, Good PC keyboard shortcuts for Mac Users and how to navigate between the two environments.

Deliver Presentation – 1.5 hours

On Monday, I delivered a presentation to all available staff in their boardroom. I handed out my Guide and used a projector to demonstrate how their new computer environment would operate.

Following the demonstration I answered questions ranging from how to access old programs and files to security concerns in Windows 2000.

Provide Desk-side Support – 14 hours

After the presentation, I visited each staff member in person to help with specific questions or concerns. As with many offices, there was a broad range of skills to accommodate. Some Users had come from Windows backgrounds in other companies and were pleased to return to a Windows environment. Others had only ever known a Mac environment and verged on terror at the prospect of starting all over again with a new and unfamiliar operating system.

I took time to assess their individual needs so that I could provide service to even those who initially thought they didn’t require any support. For example, I showed some Users how to create mail rules to organize their email in Outlook, how to assign their favourite keyboard shortcuts to toolbars in Word and how to navigate and manage files in Windows.

I returned over several days to provide desk side support and re-iterate the initial presentation to those how had not been to the original presentation.

Design Corporate Logo 3.5 hours

An interesting spin-off of this contract was that the IT Administrator discovered that their corporate logo did not port over well from Macintosh to Windows and asked if I could redesign it.

My solution was to recreate their old logo using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop and create both Web and print versions to suit all their needs. After one revision, they were pleased with what I created and the new logo now adorns their corporate letterhead and Website.

Conclusion

Although I have taken on more technically challenging contracts than this one, rarely have I been able to roll so many skills into one short contract. I welcome all other creative and diverse opportunities where my skills and abilities can be as well utilized.

And here’s what the client had to say

Thank you for providing [us] with Jason Hall’s services during their migration; the project is officially over. During the sign-off interview, [our IT Manager] said she was extremely satisfied with the work Jason did. (Despite me giving you such short notice!) [She] was particularly impressed with Jason’s ability to quickly resolve their logo migration issue. This would have been a huge problem for them to resolve but Jason did it within a day.

Thanks again for pulling the rabbit out of the hat. I look forward to working with you again.

Jeremy Berkman, Artistic Director, Turning Point Ensemble

Thank you very much for your support of Turning Point’s efforts to be important contributor to BC’s and Canada’s artistic wealth. Your contribution both financially, and artistically, help us tremendously both fund our work and present ourselves clearly and with flair to the greater community.

Latest image – September

I’m resolved to knowing everything there is to know about transparencies and gradients. Here’s the latest mandala—for the month of September.

Audience-Centred Writing

Here’s a great vlog by Jim Everett on how effectively Starbucks employs audience-centred writing. Jim’s writing and speaking exemplify the best of web usability in itself.

My Favourite Writing Videos

[myyoutubeplaylist Vc2aSz9Ficw, x-5mIompIQ8, qn8VM8bJNjE, lQvsGZNU4UA, jwMj3PJDxuo]

July is about change

I’ve been speaking with a lot of people recently who’ve expressed how much change they’re going through these days. Maybe it’s the economy or the realization that the environmental chickens have finally come home to roost, but it does indeed seem like change is in the air.
For my 2010 Mandala a month, I’ve called July’s entry “Change”. Although a mandala is fairly static, the fascination I have with mandala’s is how they focus my mind. It’s like watching a fire. It’s mesmerizing.
By way of explanation, this mandala is based on the golden mean – that is, the number 1.61803399. There have been a lot of studies done into design in nature as well as asthetics that indicate this number prevails. For example the nautilus is based on it.

This isn’t a scholarly document, so I’m not going to go into details about how the golden mean (ratio) comes into play here, except that it does.

My first draft of turning this into a mandal was promising, but not really up to standard (my measurements were off for one thing).

The problem was that I couldn’t figure out how the circle came out of the square, so I decided to jetison the squares and look at circles instead. The core concept, still fitting with the nautilus (golden mean) ratio and placement resulted in the following:

I then replicated it four times, recoloured it, used that set angle at 45?, played with opacity, shading and voíla!

July - Change

Roman Antics

This is such a clever way of visualizing data creatively that I had to share it.