Susan Dorey Designs Software & Websites

Susan J. Dorey, CDP
Sonoma, California

Problem solving with computers!

Services and roles

A designer and technical writer with an appreciation for the visual.

Information architect
Organize and classify information (with taxonomy and metadata) and design a user interface that provides access to the information via a catalog with a visual design that contributes substantially to the reader's understanding of the material.
Technical writer
Produce software development documents like requirements, interaction specifications, and functional specifications. Document installed applications for software developers, production support, and users; typically this involves reverse engineering by reading code. Document work processes and tools. Enliven text and diagrams with graphic design and typography. Design document sets. Create stylesheets and templates, editor's guides and administrative guides.
User interface designer
A user interface (UI) is the software application's interface with the user. A graphical user interface (GUI) employs text and images and involves direct manipulation of the individual graphical elements by the user. A UI is composed of organization (of concepts, objects, tasks, and windows or pages), controls (mechanisms for interaction), labels, navigation, you-are-here, identity, and search.
A successful UI is one that
meets the needs of the user
in a way that is easy to understand and operate
and is attractive.
UI designs are based on a deep understanding of the objects, the context in which they exist, and the functional needs of the anticipated users. Designs reflect the user's conceptual model and accommodate changes in that model based on the user's experience with the interface. Documentation explains the designs thoroughly and accurately to others.
Designs reflect the principles embodied in Common User Access (CUA), which was developed by IBM, adopted by Microsoft in the 1995 version of Windows, and became the de facto standard for PC user interfaces.
Website designer
A website is a tool accessible via the internet that can sell, explain, describe, and/or advise. It can also be used a software application client (that lets the user interact with data and processes on a remote computer). A website is composed of content of text and images arranged in a visual design that has a style and expresses an attitude. The designer begins by establishing requirements founded on the nature of the business that addresses goals, audience, and topics and messages. The actual design incorporates a graphic identity, site architecture, messages and/or stories grouped onto pages, and layout, navigation, and typography.
Application architect
Application architecture is the abstraction used to deal with the complexity of information systems. It is a system design that decomposes the application into manageable parts, defines those parts, and orchestrates their integration in a rationalized manner governed by design rules and principles. Application architecture becomes increasingly important as the complexity of the application grows.
Business systems analyst
Discover, analyze, and elaborate business objectives and user needs for proposed software applications, and research system/product capabilities. Envision possibilities. Specify application functionality and user interfaces and redesign the business processes. The business analyst is the agent for the users and the agent for the software developers, ensuring the needs of both are met perfectly.

Value added

Strategic
Keeping my eye on the long-term goal while handling the day-to-day stuff.
Pragmatic
Search for practical solutions when circumstances work against intellectual and artistic goals. Advocate appropriate technology: the lowest level technology that can accommodate the application.
Detail-oriented
Able to work to the lowest level of detail necessary in order to ensure successful implementation.
Effective
Able to design solutions that meet the subject's needs and constraints. It is an art to make the complex appear simple.
Design informed by what is possible
The strength of my designs derives from my knowledge of the tools with which they are to be developed: programming languages, database management systems, operating systems.

Blog

Information architecture blog.

Resume

Resume in Word document format: Designer and Technical Writer
CDP: Certificate in Data Processing
This certificate was the first offered by the Institute for Certification of Computer Professionals (ICCP). It was granted after passing a comprehensive examination in the five areas of data processing: Certificate holders subscribe to codes of ethics, conduct, and good practice adopted by the ICCP.

e-Books

These documents are offered in good faith; no warranties are made for their accuracy. I rely on these in my work and am pleased to share them with you.

About Technical Writing
Itemizes the types of documents, discusses how scope of work is determined, itemizes needed writing and technical skills, details the key tasks at the beginning of a writing project, and provides guidelines for organization and presentation. 3 pages.
Typography in Internal Business Documents
Typography is the style, arrangement, and appearance of typeset matter—"the visual aspects of written language." Describes the elements of typography, typefaces, typographical design, and the use of Microsoft Word. 4 pages.
About Developing Software
For the uninitiated. The importance of a plan and a discussion of what constitutes a successful implementation. 1 page.
One Document Reference Library: A Case Study
The needs of a work group for a document reference library and description of the solution. 2 pages.
Workgroup Knowledge Sharing, Some Ideas
[In development.]
DOS Tools
Sometimes DOS tools are the simplest way to accomplish something worthwhile. 24 pages.
Windows Techniques
A description of techniques I find invaluable in setting up a new computer, especially formatting the Start Menu and Windows Explorer. While this was written for Windows XP, much is still applicable for Windows 7 even if the UI has changed. 8 pages.
Useful Microsoft Word Techniques
How to organize documents; use templates; publish documents as PDF; insert chapter numbers and titles into page headers and footers; customize Word with macros, toolbars, menu, and shortcut keys; use styles effectively; use and style tables of content; field codes; shapes; and watermarks. This was written for Windows 2003, it applies to Windows 2013 although the UI has changed (for the worse). 95 pages.
Indexing with Microsoft Word
How to design and create a document index. Index design is based on the Chicago Manual of Style. Word field codes explained. Process detailed. 14 pages.
Word Techniques - Text Boxes
What text boxes are and how to create and format them. This was written for Windows 2003. I found them to be more trouble than they are worth. How about you? 5 pages.
How To Create a Document Template with Microsoft Word NEW!
Directions for crafting template documents: templates to jump-start the writing of certain types of documents. 9 pages.
Normal.dot
This is my can't-live-without-it global template with my custom menus, toolbars, shortcut keys, and macros. Wherever you save this file, link to it with the Tools and Add Ins dialog box.
Vocabulary
I use this document to clarify definitions of words and their synomyms so that I can choose the best word in any given situation.
Making Acrobat PDF File From Word Document with Visio Diagrams
This is a standard technical writing task. Sometimes it works perfectly, sometimes it does not. Acrobat can mess up the Visio drawings. Read this for a solution.
Word VBA Techniques
A reference to Visual Basic (VBA) code that I have found valuable in working with Word documents: organizing macros; using MsgBox to interact with the user; portrait and landscape; document properties; page numbering; page headers and footers; watermarks; and assembling a single document from several files. 59 pages.
Using Microsoft Access
Directions for using the standard record navigation tools, editing data in a multi-user environment, undoing data changes, saving data, deleting records, reports, etc. Meant for end users. 3 pages.
Microsoft Access Techniques
Many details for using Access to develop and document applications. Forms, reports, and SQL queries. Lots of code snippets. My bible. 100+ pages.
Microsoft Access VBA Techniques
The companion document focused on using Visual Basic (VBA) in conjunction with Access. Over 100 pages.
Creating a Website
For the uninitiated. What is a website? Why does design matter? What are the elements of website design? What guidelines can help direct the design? What physical objects are most similar to a website—and can serve as design models? How do I get started? What about do-it-yourself websites? 5 pages.
An HTML Primer
A thorough discussion of HTML for the beginner and my essential reference. HTML is the lingua franca of the internet's World Wide Web. HTML, an acronym for HyperText Markup Language, provides text, images, sounds, and hypertext links within a formatted context to the web browser program on your desktop computer. 35 pages.
CSS Primer
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is the mechanism by which content and appearance are separated: HTML handles content, CSS handles appearance. A thorough discussion of CSS, both levels 1 and 2, with an emphasis on the features that have been implemented in most browsers. I am still learning new layout techniques. 53 pages.
JavaScript Reference & Cookbook
JavaScript is a full weight programming language that can be combined with HTML to add dynamic interaction to a web page. This monograph is my daily reference. All the techniques I have learned are documented here. Over 40 pages.
HTML Forms
A reference for using HTML elements to create a form which users fill in and submit. Form controls are described, scripts are introduced in terms of what they can do, and submission is described. In addition there is sample code for the form, editing logic, and the form processing page. 11 pages.
About Microsoft SharePoint
Discussion of architecture, scope, security, and the various components of websites built with Microsoft SharePoint Services and Portal Server. 58 pages (6-27-2007).
Using Microsoft SharePoint
Directions for using Microsoft SharePoint Services and Portal Server. 15 pages.
Managing Risk, an IT Manager's Responsibility
A 2-page essay on what managing risk is, realistic risks faced by IT projects, and mitigation techniques and their dangers. I welcome a discussion!
Process and Procedure: A Primer
by the Software Engineering Institute of Carnegie Mellon University is an invaluable description of what these two things are, how they are related, and how they are best documented. Since discovering this I rely on it for some writing gigs. The file is 916KB, so opening it may take a bit of time. Be patient, it is worth it.

Portfolio

Available upon request.

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Revision: 10-2-2016.