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Aug 2011-Mar 2012
Paola was hired to document the hotels.com web site. She soon recognised a need to reduce variation in the user interface - to significantly reduce work for designers and developers, and because of an upcoming site rebranding.
She created a paper audit of the hotels.com user interface. Using a second copy of an audit, she identified and categorised all the user interface things as seen from the customer's perspective.
She ran sessions with user experience designers, creative designers and user interface engineers to discuss each category (e.g., search forms) to try to reduce variation. Either a winning variation was found or a new one had to be created from existing or new elements. Sometimes elements increased - such as how colour is used on the site for signaling.
Paola ran a series of briefings to present the reduced user interface as rules, sketches and mock-ups to the Product Managers.
The approved reduced user interface will be implemented and documented to help designers, developers and product managers work faster and smarter.
This Big Picture project was the first site-wide project of its kind for the company.
Jan 2011, Mar-Jun 2011
Paola had a one-week contract to meet an end-of-week deadline to rationalise a web site inherited by the agency. The Drupal web site had one two page types but over fifty page templates had been created the previous agency.
Paola investigated all the files, reducing the templates to two and tidied them up before themeing the site. She also wrote a small module for reading and writing session cookies specific to the site use.
She returned to Digitas in March to create localised versions of the same web site into five different languages. Rather than create a separate web site for each country, she made use of existing Drupal localisation features and modules so that a single web site contained the page and menu translations. She also implemented four different kinds of site login for the different sites.
While working as a contractor to Seagram, Paola found an innovative way to generate coloured charts in Omnis at a time when no tools existed for creating graphical reports with Omnis.
At that time, Omnis did not include a tool to create graphical reports, and the only available graphing tool for use with Omnis (GraphIT!) was unstable.
Paola realised that Omnis Notation (like DOM, today), could be used to generate coloured charts from the database. She created a set of templates using drawing objects. Notation allowed every Omnis "format" (file) and each format element to be accessed and set.
Paola developed procedures which gathered information from the Sybase database, opened the template and adjusted the attributes of its elements according to the data.
She also developed a library of general-purpose database access procedures to help the development process for the project team.
One of Paola's jobs when she was contracting at Seagram was to design and build an ad-hoc reporting system using the existing Marketing Planning System built with Omnis and Sybase.
The system allowed users to create a custom report by selecting criteria. It then generated the report as a CSV file and opened automatically with Excel.
The marketing information included attributes of product, time, geography and a stored value (e.g., volume sold). The system presented this three-dimensional data as a series of two-dimensional tables.
Users could swap positions of time, geography and product on reports and see a sample layout on screen in real time. They could also add totals to rows or columns, remove detail rows (to just see column or row totals, or a single table total). Users could also add trend rows.
The system created a spreadsheet and exported it to Excel so that the user could do further analysis and create charts as required. The ad hoc report system was written to automatically adapt to changes in the underlying database; it did not require reprogramming when the database fields were renamed, added or removed.
Paola worked on a product targeted at sales and marketing departments. Consensus develop a 'base' product - which then ran off an Omnis database - and then customise it for each client.
She was solely responsible for designing and implementing a suite of utilities which would allow the product to work off existing client databases on different server types without changing the code.
Paola first performed a review of the product and then re-organised the database procedures so that future development time would be reduced.
Most of her time was spent customising the base system to work off a client's existing Informix database. Paola assisted with testing and installation, and produced a programmer's guide to the utilities and conversion process.
Paola worked with other staff on a client information system for Exchange Traded Products. Besides developing the front-end with Omnis and Transact SQL stored procedures, she was responsible for defining and specifying the underlying structures of the system including customisable settings, generic windows and the user-interface standards.
Paola was solely responsible for developing several Omnis/Sybase utilities:
She developed Unix shell scripts to load and unload test data, to create test tables, and to run Transact SQL scripts against the Sybase database.
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