Ron Akanowicz enjoys getting into people’s heads. As an Information Architect and Usability Engineer at CivicActions, it’s his job to size up a project from the user’s perspective. Wearing his IA hat, he collects input from clients and translates it into wireframes that validate his navigational approach; as a usability engineer, he employs heuristics for site audits that lead to an improved user experience. Stints at FedEx and Motorola allowed him to hone his craft while serendipity brought him to CivicActions in the form of a posting at social networking site tribe.net.
As someone who gets tech and gets people, Ron is at his best when he’s on site with a client. That was the case with Rare Conservation, a group dedicated to training conservationists worldwide. Ron visited with the client as a prelude to a relaunch of their site, obtaining valuable information as to their people and processes. The resulting wireframes clearly captured their needs. On Where It’s At, Ron found himself working with a New York City group serving urgently at-risk youth. Leaving conventional navigational prompts at the door, Ron crafted need-based statements (“I need housing right away” “I want to finish my education”) to gently draw vulnerable users into the site. Defining an audience was the task with JustCauseIt, where Ron created personas that identified the site’s user group.
Based in Miami, Ron has witnessed the shift from a service economy to a tech-driven marketplace and participates in frequent meet-ups for local designers and developers. He finds his contributions behind the screen are equal to his support of the Human Rights Campaign and Americans United, organizations that work to strengthen civil liberties.