My name is Jonathan Bowman and I design and build meaningful, elegant, fun, and engaging user experiences.
I designed an entirely new interface and added several features to the Monument Designer software.
I had the privilege of working and learning alongside some of the most talented engineers and artists of my career at BlackBox.
We catered to a variety of industries and employed several languages and technologies ranging from basic HTML/CSS/JS static websites to image recognition software and video surveillance and management suites.
I went from a salesman in the Athens branch of the Apple reseller to a corporate department head creating and overseeing the training efforts of 13 stores across 3 states, representing hundreds of employees and tens of thousands of customers.See More
I met the band's manager, Bertis Downs, in 2012 and have since been providing various IT and training services to him, the offices, and (occasionally) members of the band.
They appreciate my patience and interpersonal skills, making me their silver bullet for most things technology related.
Design Mart, working with Black Box, created the online monument design software - Monument Designer - to streamline the design and presentation layers of monument retailers. Though the software was functional and well-received by a community with relatively sparse options for digital tools, they still felt there was room for refinement.
My task was to identify areas for both improvement and addition within Monument Designer.
As with any new project, I needed to start by learning how the people who work with this program on a daily basis actually use it. I spoke to and met with several members in the granite industry to learn as much as I could about the history of monument design and manufacturing, as well as the manual processes that our clients would be accustomed to. Given the age and background of the majority of this software’s audience, I wanted to create tools and functionality that would be friendly and accessible.
I use modern design software on a daily basis and know first-hand that with depth of functionality there is usually a tradeoff in both complexity and ease of use. Isolating crucial features and boiling them down to as usable a state as possible was the key to creating a more effective and enjoyable user experience for Monument Designer clients. To this end, I created basic layer management, intuitive error reporting, stored asset browsing, essential canvas interactivity such as panning and zooming, and many other general UI improvements to make everything more readable and accessible.
Black Box provides a variety of design, engineering, and technical consulting services. While serving as their UI/UX Lead, I was able to work with such clients as the University of Georgia and in industries ranging from fashion to video surveillance.
I created wireframes, mockups, brand and marketing assets, as well as implemented my designs using a broad array of languages and frameworks to best meet our clients' needs.
I rebuilt the presentation layer of Black Box from the ground up, including marketing materials used at trade shows and a brand new website designed and implemented by me.
The new site includes a full, responsive service catalog to make it easier for potential clients to understand what the company provides.
One of the largest networks of granite providers in the world, the Elberton Granite Association (EGA) wanted to update their site with a more modern look. I visited their headquarters and drew inspiration from their city and museums, creating vector versions of some of their old promotional marketing from the 50s and using them in the design for the new site. Their site also includes an archive of all of their previous issues of their Graniteer magazine in digital format, which is a great way for both new and old patrons to learn more about the industry and appreciate their heritage.
Black Box created an incredible, fully online and fully software video monitoring and management suite. Primary clients are state governments, and Replicam is already revolutionizing the way several cities manage their video surveillance networks.
I designed an array of marketing materials for the product, including a 25 page product catalog detailing the features and benefits, as well as the banners and backdrops used at conferences such as ITS 2015.
All things considered, this is where I began appreciating what it is to create a great user experience. Before I knew what HTML was or had even heard the terms "UI" and "UX", I was just an artist who also happened to enjoy listening to and helping people.
Empathy, patience, and insight are essential components to crafting the ideal user experience, and these are all skills I developed as the first trainer promoted at PeachMac. After being promoted to Training Director, I had the opportunity to further refine this skills and reach an even wider audience.
I wrote workshop scripts, developed tools to improve the satisfaction of our staff and our customers, and created individualized seminars by request by our business customers. Most importantly for my development, though, I taught our Trainers how to teach.
In teaching someone, you learn so much more than you ever could on your own. My interpersonal skills greatly improved during this time, and my work during this period has been of a profound benefit to my ability to empathize and communicate with people.
In addition to writing and delivering training curricula, I also believed it important to ensure a degree of design be added to the materials I produced. PeachMac appreciated the additional level of professionalism I brought, since unique and nicely desiged presentations allowed us to stand out against the competition.
This was also when I was first exposed to coding in the form of AppleScript and Visual Basic as tools to streamline the usage of data and reporting. I began by writing little scripts here and there to automate tasks and eventually I was writing custom installers for the distribution and automation of demo machine setup and configuration.
Creating good user experiences starts with strong interpersonal skills, empathy, and the trust and understanding of your clients. Molding enjoyable interactions - through software or in person - starts with personal investment and genuine concern for customer happiness and satisfaction. UX is so much more than design, and exemplary customer service and interpersonal skills mean the difference between a good product and a great one.
I've provided the offices and members of the band R.E.M. with everything from network setup, mail troubleshooting, data migrations, and support for anything else that runs on batteries or plugs into the wall. I started providing these services when I was at PeachMac, but even after I left they insisted on continuing to work with me directly because of my personability and dedication to their needs.
It is with these experiences and values that I approach everything, from graphic art to interaction design. It's all for the benefit of the user, and you can't provide exceptional experiences without a personal connection.