I'm a born introvert who's accustomed to swimming in the deep end of the pool. In other words, I observe intensely and study with great detail, while keeping aware of where I need to be and what needs to be done to stay engaged.
I was raised to move fluidly in different cultures, building multigenerational relationships and honing a curiosity for what someone different than myself has to teach coming from their life experience. My appreciation for others and love of observation led me into photography, which I worked at professionally for over 10 years. During that time, I also gained experience in the business of service/retail, marketing, reportage, editorial publishing and public relations (particularly media & community relations, and defining a cohesive corporate voice for communications).
My interest in the systems through which my photographs got published drew me into editing, layout, web design, and from there into communications. As I became fascinated with writing for the web and building websites – really, contributing to changing what was available on the Internet out of its awkward, geeky clothing and into design that provided more personal style and reflected the real person or organization, I stepped into programming, and from web design to web applications design. Being able to absorb technical requirements and read code made it easy for me to focus on changing the conversation from, "What is needed just to build this?" to "What are we trying to provide with this and how does it speak to who's using it?"
Tell your visitors who you are, where you come from, your experience, and what makes you unique. Why did you decide this? What motivates and inspires you?
I believe it is important for teams to build empathy for every type of person who will use their solution – to treat users not as others, but as their own friends and neighbors – and that that understanding is critically important from the start to build a positive, accessible experience effectively and efficiently. Different tools are necessary to build that understanding depending on the project – from clear technical documentation and analysis, to interviews and qualitative insights – but research, storytelling, open communication (internally and externally) and mutual agreement are fundamental.
Tell your visitors what your customers can expect when they hire you. Do you do consulting over the phone, video chat, or in person? What will you do to make the interaction enjoyable and stress-free?