About

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[Image Description: A white man with a beard is smiling. He is wearing headphones and has a guitar in his lap.]

I'm a creative self-starter with a love of language and universal design. I started my career as an ESL teacher and educational writer. However, more recently I have combined a knack for clear communication with a passion for technology. As a soon-to-be MA in Professional and Technical Writing and CPACC (Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies), I'm looking to continue working as a technologist specializing in accessible, user-centered design.

Below you'll find my online portfolio. I designed and hand coded this site to align with WCAG 2.1 guidelines and to showcase principals of inclusivity and universal design. It's set in Tiresias, a font for people with low vision, and Sylexiad, a font for people with dyslexia. You can scroll through the projects below, or you can click on the menu items above to go straight to any section. I view accessible design as a process of communication, not a static goal. So, if you have any questions or comments about this site, please don't hesitate to contact me at the link below.


Download an Accessible Copy of Adam's CV
Contact Adam

Accessibility_

Project 1: Website Recommendation Report

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[Image Description: A web architecture diagram of the pdx.edu accessibility and disability services pages]

Competencies: Research, Written & Visual Communication

Personal Characteristics: Independence, Creative Problem Solving

Tools: Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, MS Excel

As part of a class on theories of technical communication, I researched and wrote a recommendation report on the web ecosystem for accessibility and disability service pages at pdx.edu using Portland Community College's web pages as a point of comparison. I found a number of areas for potential improvement in the PSU pages. I argue that the weaknesses in the PSU ecosystem attest to a medical / judicial model of disability rather than a social model.


Download an Accessible PDF of the Full Recommendation Report

Project 2: Online Course Accessibility Audit

A page from an accessibility audit showing the first part of the results. Results: Using the benchmark of the WCAG 2.0 Guidelines, Levels A and AA, I discovered that much of the content on the Frameworks site is accessible. However, some content remains fully inaccessible, while other content contains accessibility gaps that could make it less accessible to some users. Inaccessible Content. 1. Audiovidual Content: All audiovisual content on the Frameworks website currently lacks captioning, interactive transcripts, and visual content descriptions. That means that this content would be inaccessible to blind and low-vision users, as well as deaf and hard-of-hearing users according to WCAG Guideline 1.2. In addition, playback controls would be helpful to all users, including those with disabilities, in keeping with the WCAG principle of operability.
[Image Description: A page from an accessibility audit showing the first part of the results.]

Competencies: Accessible Design Principles, Usability Heuristics, Assistive Technology

Personal Characteristics: Attention to Detail

Tools: WCAG 2.0 Checklist, WC3 Cognitive Accessibility Guidelines, NVDA, Color Contrast Tools, Adobe Acrobat

As an independent study project at Portland State University, I conducted an accessibility review of a professor's online course materials and made recommendations for possible improvements.

Download an Accessible Word Version of the Accessibility Audit

Project 3: Help Article on PDF Remediation

A page from a help article on PDF remediation. It explains how to add a new tag to a document. Add a New Tag. 1. Sometimes Acrobat will incorrectly group several elements together or will fail to tag an element together. With the Reading Order Panel open, use the cursor to draw a box around the element you want to tag in the document window. Make sure to draw the box larger than the element you are selecting. It may take several tries to select the element. Pink boxes will appear around the element when it has been selected. See Figure 11. 2. In the Reading Order Dialogue box, select the appropriate button to add a new tag to the selected element. The new element should appear as a separate grey box in the window. See figure 12.
[Image Description: A page from a help article on PDF remediation. It explains how to add a new tag to a document.]

Competencies: Creating tutorials, translating complex tasks

Personal Characteristics: Clarity

Tools: Adobe Acrobat, Confluence, Jira

While working under the IT Accessibility Coordinator in the Office of Information Technology at Portland State University, I created a help article in Confluence with detailed instructions on how to remediate a PDF for accessibility.

Download an Accessible Word Version of the Help Article

Project 4: Blog Article on Accessibility

The introduction to a blog post about Web Accessibility. How you can help improve web accessibility. We're all responsible for making sure that PSU is an accessible place for everyone. Not only does this ensure that all members of our campus community can find the information and services they need, it can also save a lot of time and money. It is much easier to design content that is accessible from the start than to try to fix inaccessible content later on. Read on to find out how you can help. What is Accessible Web Content? Take a moment and think about how you use a computer. If you are able-bodied, ask yourself how your experience would differ if you had a disability. For starters, you might use some form of assistive technology to help you perceive information and interact with it. Blind people tend to use screen reader software to produce an audible version of on-screen text. Deaf people often use captioning, transcripts, and audio descriptions to help them understand audiovisual content like online videos.
[Image Description: The introduction to a blog post about Web Accessibility.]

Competencies: Accessible Design Principles

Personal Characteristics: Persuasiveness

Tools: Google Docs

While working on the Content Team in the Office of Information Technology at Portland State University, I wrote a post for the OIT blog with information on basic accessible design principles and some helpful tips to keep in mind when creating content.

Download an Accessible Word Version of the Blog Post

Project 5: Wiki Article on Readability Formulas

An excerpt from the wiki article on readability formulas. The Flesch-Kincaid Formula: Rudolf Flesch was born in Austria, but escaped nazi persecution to settle in the United States in 1938. As a student at Columbia University, he became interested in the role of literacy levels in mass communication. In the 1940s, Flesch developed a readability forumal that correlated the number of single syllable words with average sentence length to rate the difficulty of a text. An updated version of this formula, known as the New Reading Ease Formula, states: New Reading Ease Score equals NOSW minus 1 point 015 SL minus 31 point 517. Where NOSW equals number of one syllable words per 100 words, and SL equals average sentence length in words. In 1976, a study conducted by the US Navy led to a variation on the Flesch Reading Ease Formula that also produced a grade-level score, known as the Flesch-Kincaid Formula. The Flesch-Kindcaid Formula has become one of the most widely used readability metrics in the English-speaking world. It was incorporated into computer programs beginning in the late 1960s, including a program developed by General Motors for industrial applications. More recently, an automated version of the Flesch-Kincaid Formula was added to Microsoft Word.
[Image Description: An excerpt from the wiki article on readability formulas. This excerpt focuses on the Flesch-Kincaid Formula.]

Competencies: Research, Written Communication

Personal Characteristics: Curiosity

Tools: Local Wiki

For a class on Advanced Technical Writing at Portland State University, I researched and wrote a 6-page article on readability formulas, including the Flesch-Kincaid formula, which is currently used by Microsoft Word to determine reading level. The article was posted to the university Technical Communication Wiki.

Download an Accessible PDF of the Wiki Article

Project 6: Magazine Item on Accessible Kitchens

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[Video Description: A person raises and lowers the level of a sink by pressing a button. There is a low mechanical hum as the sink moves.]

Competencies: Interviewing, Editing

Personal Characteristics: Observant

Tools: MS Word

As an assignment for a class on magazine writing, I researched and wrote a short magazine item on the accessible kitchen at the Seven Corners Community Collaborative Building in Portland, OR. I am currently pitching the piece to home cooking journals and local weeklies.

Download an Accessible Word Version of the Magazine Item

Project 7: Speech on Accessible Housing (Newspaper Report)

Headline: Portland approves spending 5.5 million dollars for city projects, social services
[Image Description: An online newspaper article with a picture of five city council members sitting behind a long table.]

Competencies: Public Speaking

Personal Characteristics: Advocacy

In October, 2019, I was invited to join a group of friends from Real Choice Initiative, an accessible housing rights organization, who were speaking in front of Portland City Council. I have mixed feelings about this article. On the one hand, I'm disappointed that the Oregonian chose to quote me, the only able-bodied speaker that day. On the other hand, I'm proud to have been a part of this effort, and glad that we secured some of the funding we sought for a survey of accessible housing in the Portland Metro region.

Read a Newspaper Account of the Effort to Secure Funding

User Research_

Project 8: User Research Study of Conference Attendees

An excerpt from a list of summary results showing a pie chart. Question 10: Have you ever experienced any accessibility challenges related to vision, hearing, mobility, or cognition at past conferences or events? 45 responses. 13.3 percent of respondents answered yes, they have experienced accessibility challenges related to vision, mobility, or cognition at past conferences or events. 86.7 percent of respondents answered no. Question 11: If yes, can you describe the accessibility challenges your faced. 7 responses. Answers. Response 1: It's difficult to hear in crowded areas and hard to have conversations. Response 2: N/A. Response 3: Mobility: requireing stairs or long walks, or not having enough seating. I have a bad foot. Response 4: Moderate memory impairment. Response 5: ADHD means I need a lot of signage and written instructinos. More signage and a what to do would be helpful when entering the venue. Especially if cell signal is spotty and I can't reference the emails or app. Response 6: Having a quite space in the vemue to retreat to for a variety of reasons is extremely beneficial and appreciated. Response 7: I have an auditory processing disorder, so information that is presented through audio only or in a space with distracting noises is difficult for me to process.
[Image Description: An excerpt from a list of summary results showing a pie chart.]

Competencies: Survey Creation, Interviewing, Collaboration, Advocacy

Personal Characteristics: Organized, Flexible, Creative

Tools: Google Forms and Docs, Zoom, InDesign

As part of a class on user research at PSU, I participated in a project with a local organization for customer support professionals called Support Driven. Support Driven hosts a conference in Portland every summer and our team devised a research project to learn more about conference attendees. Early in this project we conducted a survey of conference attendees using Google Forms. We later conducted a series of interviews with attendees via Zoom Meetings which we then coded and used in an affinity diagram. During this process, I advocated for the inclusion of questions related to disability and access. At the conclusion of our research, we created a series of user profiles. I helped write two of these profiles, in which I highlighted potential isues related to disability and cultural inclusion. We presented our results and our profiles to senior management at Support Driven. In their response to our research presentation, management noted their appreciation for the focus we had given to disability and access.

Download an Accessible Word version of the Survey Results Summary
Download an Accessible PDF of a Coded Interview

Download an Accessible PDF of the User Personas

Project 9: Card Sorts and Similarity Matrix

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[Image Description: An Asian man and a white woman sort index cards together.]

Competencies: Quantitative Data Analysis, Collaboration

Personal Characteristics: Methodical

Tools: Index Cards, MS Excel

As part of the same class mentioned in Project 7, I helped carry out a study of a university web page. We wanted to determine how well the menu groupings on the website matched user expectations. Our group first conducted a series of card sorts, both open and closed. We then produced a similarity matrix in which we collated the data from our open card sorts. To do this we created a table that cross-referenced all the menu items. In the table, we noted the number of times participants in our card sorts grouped these items together. We then noted whether correlations chosen by three or more particpants were reflected in the actual website menu groupings by adding a "yes" or "no" note.


Download an Accessible Excel Table of the Similarity Matrix

Project 10: User Research with Clackamas HHHS

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[Image Description: Two women discuss a paper representation of a screen image.]

Competencies: Trust-building, Interpersonal Skills, Empathy

Personal Characteristics: Flexibility

Tools: Paper, markers, tape

From 2018 to 2019, I worked for the volunteer organization Code4PDX, as a member of the UX Design team. Our team's project was to design an application for Clackamas Health Housing and Human Services. The app was conceived as a social media scraper which would help the HHHS monitor the community for early signs of an outbreak in addition to false rumors about outbreaks. We began by circulating a survey among the epidemiologists at Clackamas HHHS, which we followed up with a series of interviews. We later created exploratory paper prototypes in collaboration with members of staff, as well as a series of user personas based on our research.


Download an Accessible PDF of the User Personas

UX Design_

Project 11: Static Wireframe

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[Image Description: The dashboard of the Code4PDX social media scraper app with search boxes for entering serach terms and location, and calendars to set start and end times for the search.]

Competencies: Visual Communication, Teamwork

Personal Characteristics: Problem Solving

Tools: Figma

In spring, 2019, I had to leave my Code4PDX team due to scheduling overlaps with my class schedule. However, before leaving I helped produce a set of collaboratively designed static wireframes, based on the paper prototypes we developed with the staff at Clackamas HHHS (see project 9 for more information).

Download an Accessible PDF of the Code4PDX Wireframes

Project 12: User Interface Redesign (User Flowcharts and Scenarios)

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[Image Description: A user flow diagram for the SoundCloud interface redesign project.]

Competencies: Visualizing User Workflows

Personal Characteristics: Inductive Reasoning

Tools: Draw.io, Lucidchart

As a part of a class on UX Design at Portland State University, I conducted research on the user interface of the SoundCloud music platform, and then redesigned that interface. Following an initial series of interviews, I created user stories and personas for my principal user groups. Next, I developed user flowcharts followed by a series of user scenarios. This helped me to sharpen the focus of my redesign to focus on a key set of features I hoped to improve.

Download an Accessible PDF of the Flow Diagrams

Project 13: User Interface Redesign (Click-through Wireframe)

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[Image Description: A page from the click-through wireframe showing the my music page with various setlist editing options.]

Competencies: Visual Communication, Human/Computer Interaction

Personal Characteristics: Imagination

Tools: InVision Online

At the conclusion of my class on UX design, I was assigned to create an interactive wireframe of the SoundCloud redesign (described in Project 11) using InVision. My design responded to some of the feedback I had heard in my initial interviews: it offered more clarity and precision in menu and search options, as well as greatly expanded community-building functionalities. I used this interactive wireframe to conduct user testing and make improvements to my design. Note to Users: Unfortunately, I came to realize that InVision prototypes are not accessible to screen readers. Therefore, the link below is not fully accessible. However, I am currently at work on an Adobe XD version of this wireframe, which will be accessible. For those who decide to try the interactive wireframe, note that many of the illustrated buttons are clickable.

Try the Click-through Wireframe

Graphic Design_

Project 14: Eight-Page Spread (Film Synopsis)

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[Image Description: An island with a pagoda in the middle of a lake is filled with golden light at sunset.]

Competencies: Visual Communication, French

Personal Characteristics: Attention to Detail, Creativity

Tools: Photoshop, InDesign

After completing a class on graphic design software, I created an 8-page illustrated film synopsis for my brother in-law, Sebastien Lefèbvre. Sebastien is a filmmaker, and had recently finished shooting a documentary about Myanmar. I used some of the still photos from his journey and a synopsis he had written in French to construct the illustrated synopsis using Photoshop and InDesign.

Download an Accessible PDF of the Film Synopsis

Project 15: Logo Designs

[Image Description: A logo with light and dark green triangles that form a letter W. They resemble trees and open books.]

Competencies: Visual Rhetoric, Imagination

Personal Characteristics: Creativity, Client Communication

Tools: Adobe Illustrator

Over the past several years, I have designed logos for various purposes. I enjoy logo design because I feel that it can involve a process of getting to know someone or something better. In creating a simple image to represent a person, organization, or place we also explore our relationship with the subject. I also enjoy projects with clear constraints, and the enforced minimalism of making a logo is one that appeals to me. Here are three of my favorite designs.


Project 16: E-mail Marketing Flow Chart

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[Image Description: A pair of flow charts with bright colors.]

Competencies: Visual Communication, Process Description

Personal Characteristics: Creativity

Tools: OmniGraffle, InDesign

While doing consulting work for AGENCY Tourism Marketing, I produced the following flowchart for a presentation with clients. The flowchart demonstrates how the company's automated marketing e-mail software works.

Download an Accessible PDF of the Flow Chart