Ah, the dotcom bubble years. While Fortune 500 companies were hiring any warm body who could spell HTML, I was working for free, building web sites for friends–for fun and non-profit.. I wanted to get in on that startup boom. Vignette stock peaked at $297 per share. I hired in months later at around $90… and left less than a year later at around $5.
I started doing best practices research and design comps in Photoshop for the Merchant Suite — a turnkey site management system for E-commerce. I worked with some excellent graphic designers to build composition skills.
I spent a lot of time creating site maps and schematics for the user facing side — I remember having an office with a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall whiteboard, and filling up one wall with the screen flow mapping for the entire application. I cataloged assets as well — did a lot of documentation.
Financial Advisor Suite
I was the sole UX designer, and did a lot of the graphics, for the Financial Advisor Suite — part of the plan to create site management tools for different market segments. Working with business analysts, development, and sales advisors, we defined the feature-function mix, and I mapped out task flows.
I defined the style for the application with CSS, building in the flexibility for customized branding for individual customers.
Being the sole UX/graphics designer on the application, I also created demos and scripts for Sales, working with them to illustrate key value scenarios.
Vignette was a fast-paced environment, typical in the dotcom startups, but we had a lot of talented people on the team. I think the entire project was ready for demos and sales in four months.
Unfortunately, we had scheduled our big launch event to potential customers in Manhattan on September 11, 2001. We were watching the towers burn in our office conference rooms, while I was tweaking CSS for the next iteration. So 9/11 was the end of my dotcom boom. A quarter of the company was laid off exactly one month later, including our whole team.