I'm Martin Polley. I currently work as a technical writer at Nagra Kudelski in Cwmbran, Wales. Previously, I worked at Intel in Haifa, Israel. I have a deep interest in user experience, and have dabbled in interaction design. But I haven't always been a tech writer. Originally, I wanted to be a programmer. I bought a bunch of books and sat down at my PC and taught myself C++. (Yeah, I know, right?) As I shopped myself around, trying to find a programming job, I was interviewed by a guy called Jakob. He hinted that my lack of both experience and a computer science degree were going to make things hard for me.
"But with your technical background and your English, you'd make a great technical writer." Hmm. All right, then. So one technical communication course later, and I'm a technical writer at a startup. But this was 2001, dot-com-bust time. I saw the company downsize to less than half its peak size over the course of two years. Then they downsized again. So long, Martin, and all the best to you.
Not long after that, I found myself working as a technical writer at Intel (through a tech writing services company). This was a pretty decent job, and I helped the team I work with transition their documentation process to something a bit more modern and non-proprietary than the one they had been using.
It was around 2008 that the term "user experience" first found its way into my consciousness. Now this sounded interesting! Up till then, I had been documenting around sub-optimal user interfaces. But, wait! Wouldn't it make more sense to just make the interfaces better? So with my autodidact's hat firmly back on, I got to work. With a pile of books, videos, blog posts, and a design challenge behind me, I was ready.
I explained to my boss how I could help the team make their products better, and he said "OK". So I helped them out a bit with the interaction design (and some of the visual design) of their products (internal enterprise stuff), while continuing the technical writing. The thing is, I had no mandate to perform any kind of user research, which is very limiting. So I worked on expanding my skills in other areas. Specifically, HTML prototyping. I found that there is nothing like it for understanding the medium and for communicating designs to stakeholders and developer colleagues.
Which brings us here. After taking Amy Hoy's 30x500 course, I realized that this is a skill that lots of UX designers would like to have. So I made Livetyping. I hope you like it :)