About Me

Kristin with whiteboard notes on information architectureI have spent many years working as a professional communicator in Snohomish County, first as a journalist, then in government public relations and online content.

Wanting to communicate with the public effectively is what got me interested in website usability, plain writing, and user-centered design.

Work History

I started my career as a newspaper reporter and editor, focused on public engagement and government accountability. I loved telling stories, learning new things, and helping people be involved in their communities. Writing and designing for newspapers has similarities with writing for the web, although my award-winning headlines might not cut it in today’s search-driven world.

Then I  spent 13 years working for local government agencies. I was hired by Community Transit as a public information officer. My work extended to public relations, marketing, and customer information. Ultimately, I managed the content of the website and led the agency’s website and social media teams.

When Snohomish Health District wanted to improve its image and the public’s understanding of its work, I became that agency’s first communications manager. Much work on branding, media policies, and our entry into social media followed. Also a new website – see Experience.

For more about my work history, education, and some recommendations, please see my LinkedIn profile.

Usability Training

I have received training from leaders in the field at Nielsen Norman Group (Usability Week 2013) and from the CDC at the National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing & Media (2012).

In 2015, I received a graduate certificate in User Centered Design from the University of Washington. My instructors included local experts in user experience for government. I got lots of great hands-on experience through the project-based program.

Professional Affiliations

I regularly seek out learning and networking opportunities through the following groups:

Skills

I use my skills as a team leader, writer, trainer, and researcher to help local governments and nonprofits improve their online tools. For more about my work history, education, and recommendations, please see my LinkedIn profile.

Writing: I have written websites, brochures, speeches, opinion pieces, how-to documentation, award-winning headlines, web content guidelines, social media policies, and much more. What and how I write depends on the audience and their needs. Writing effectively for the web and plain language are my passions. I love working with people and information to develop effective communications.

Technical:  I know HTML and CSS, WordPress, DNN Evoq and other Content Management Systems, and other basics of web technology. I understand technical language and limitations. I don’t want to code your site as a developer, but I can communicate with the people who do.

Design: I used to design newspapers for a living, and won some awards for it. I know what elements of design can be beneficial or problematic for readability and accessibility. I can develop and evaluate prototypes. In collaboration with a graphic designer, I can plan a website that is both functional and beautiful.

Facilitation: I like to run meetings that get things done, and coordinate groups that foster diverse views while developing a cohesive vision. I am an experienced trainer and teacher.

Personal

I am passionate about engaging the public and providing good government services. I am also passionate about bicycling, cooking, and building community. And I’m a life-long Girl Scout.

I am the past president of B.I.K.E.S. Club of Snohomish County and current president of the board of Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop.  I am a past member of Snohomish County Toastmasters and have served on the board of the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau.

There are one car and 11 bicycles in my garage (though I might be undercounting the bikes).