To promote Skype’s newly-free-of-charge Group Video Calling feature, we made this documentary-style film profiling an actual two-man startup who used it to keep their business lean, mean, and profitable. I served as co-creative lead on this piece.
Bicycle startup gears up with group video calling
EAT Club Earth Day campaign
This 2019 campaign announced EAT Club’s new green initiative: to purchase enough carbon offsets to negate their entire carbon footprint, plus that of every EAT Club employee, in and out of the office.
I wrote the video and support materials in close collaboration with EAT Club. The Duke and the Duck, the animation studio I brought in on the project, did a charming — and fast! — job on the video.
A leading office catering company, EAT club prepares , package and delivers thousands of individual lunches every day. And while their model cuts down on food waste, they’re still conscious of the greenhouse gases created by cooking, packaging, delivery, etc. They created this initiative in order to address that.
At its core, UX writing is copy that inspires trust and action in the product you’re engaging with. It includes UI text, flow microcopy, product nomenclature, and , more — sometimes all on the same surface.
Elsewhere on my site, you’ll find samples of other UX writing on Lumosity’s Insight reports, including a breakdown of the Train of Thought Insight. Those combine content writing, instruction, UI, and feature naming.
Here’s a super-clear example: a diagnostic “Find Your System” tool for the American Standard Air Website re-design. Type in your zip code and instantly discover the perfect HVAC system for your weather, temperature range, and fuel source (electric, gas, etc.). I laid out the flow, did the initial wire-framing, and wrote the copy.
Brain games company Lumosity provides its Premium members dynamic reports that surface interesting and useful information about that user’s brain training.
Bob Schaefer, Lumosity’s head of Science, developed the content for each Insight. I’d step in and make the text layperson-friendly, tone-consistent, easy to scan, and wherever possible, brief.
Your Lumosity Community
This Insight shows a member how their town stacks up against others around the world.
Your Occupation Profile
What job does your skillset match? This Insight takes a member’s entire gameplay into account and identifies occupations that are consistent with those strengths and weaknesses.
Train of Thought: Your Planning Skills
Created for Lumosity’s most popular game, this Insight shows a member’s gameplay progress and gives tips on improving their skills.
I founded UX publication WANT Magazine with David Gómez-Rosado back in 2009. We wanted to promote the discipline of User Experience, the art/science of making products and services enjoyable to use. It's part design, part psychology, part marketing, and to me, entirely fascinating.
Communication Arts liked it enough to profile it in 2011. I conducted interviews with industry luminaries like Don Norman and Jakob Neilsen. As Managing Editor, I herded a team of writers, designers, and even a cartoonist to the finish line, each issue.
Cordell Ratzlaff: The Want Interview
Jakob Nielsen: The Want Interview
Bill Scott: The Want Interview
Train of Thought Personalized Insight
This Insight tracked a user’s progress in Lumosity’s most popular brain training game, and showed (in detail) how they could improve.
Here’s the full report. Below that, you’ll see how a breakdown of how copy helped achieve each of our goals.
Each section of this report needed to work on its own, while still working as a single unit of content. Clarity took priority, while still maintaining a fun, aspirational tone.
We calculated each “Planning Rank” using factors like game scores and age brackets. They required copy that explained the value of each level and encouraged users to shoot for the next one.
This section intended to explain what “planning” means in the context of the game, and how that relates to an actual cognitive skill.
This required copy to establish clear explanations and nomenclature that made the rest of the Insight report easier to use.
This section of the report tracked the quality of moves the user made in their last game: successful (green), moderately successful (yellow), and failed (red).
It also provided a toggle that let the user compare their game play to that of their age bracket. Each chart or teaching element required new nomenclature, and copy that tied it into the rest of the report.
Each section didn’t just feature new information, but new types of info that the user hadn’t encountered before. that made clarity a priority, in word and image, with one complementing the other.
The report offers up tips for better game play, served dynamically based on the user’s play style. I wrote the tips with a modular execution in mind.
"Social Media and You" Video for CA Technologies
The smallest budgets require the most creative solutions.
CA Technologies, a 30,000-employee Fortune 500 company, wanted to create thousands of new company evangelists by encouraging its employees to use social media. To that end, they wanted to distribute a video internally that explained social media's advantages and laid out proper etiquette (i.e. "Don't give away company secrets on Twitter," etc.) The vid needed to be fun and engaging, resonant to the company's wide age demo, and produced by their in-house A/V department on a *very* tight budget.
"Social Media & You" / CA Technologies
The creative solution I pitched them, and which they were kind enough to trust me with, was to make it look like a 1950s educational film, using old public-domain and rights-managed (i.e. free and cheap) footage, coupled with a 1950s-style VO and an extra low-maintenance shoot of a 1950s-ized CA employee as the clueless foil.
This was a virtual hand-off to their internal production team across the country. I provided them with a full animatic, a scratch VO, and dozens of carefully-curated clips. Time-consuming, budget-friendly, and more than a little bit of fun to put together.
I consider it a personal victory that I got the bees in there.
The Skype Blog
Working at Skype presented some fascinating opportunities, not least of which was interviewing people who use Skype to improve their lives, careers, or relationships in unusual ways.
Writing for the Skype Blog kept my journalism skills sharp while attracting new audience for Skype via engaging stories you wouldn't hear anywhere else.
"Zombie Escape" Video Game
How to keep kids off drugs? Zombies.
Created for Partnership For a Drug Free America, this game racked up a whopping 1.5 million plays in its first three months. Earth has been taken over by zombies and it's up to you and your jetpack to save the human race! Part of the PDFA's "Above The Influence" campaign; aimed at teens.
I devised the basic concept with a pair of designers, and fleshed it out into a series of scripts and creative specs that became the basis for the game development. The results are no longer online, but the screen shots below should give you insight into the fun that was ZOMBIE ESCAPE.
ZOMBIE ESCAPE banners
From the display campaign that drove traffic to the online game.