Careeer

This was a pretty haphazard career. Aside from part-time jobs in my youth (pulling carrots, pushing a popsicle cart, delivering papers, supermarket bagger, night clerk at a newspaper), I worked at 11  jobs, interspersed by 7 stints of 1-2 years each as a freelancer or independent consultant. It seems I was an early adopter of the gig economy, though not always by choice! Both setups had pluses and minuses.

People in my field — interactive or user experience design — work with words, pictures and logic, or the modalities of writing, visual design, and technicalology. That combination is what makes UX design so enjoyable. When I started out in this field, I figured there were maybe a dozen other interactive designers in the world. Today, dozens of universities offer degrees in UX design, and the User Experience group on LinkedIn has 158,000 members!

Jim's radio shack

High School & Ham Radio

Being very tall (6'6") yet bad at basketball made high school torture. Longing to be average, I got terrible grades. But in my spare time, I learned complex theory, earned a technician class ham radio license, and loved building electronic equipment. Prophetically, I once built a transmitter from parts. It worked but it was ugly; I rebulit it with a prettier layout, but it never worked quite as well.

Kings Chapel Cambridge

65-66 Cambridge & Culture

The year my family spent in Cambridge, England (1965-66) transformed me. The minimal effort that earned average grades in high school put me in "dunce" territory here — so I started applying myself to study and found that I liked learning after all.

Also, I discovered art, museums and culture, thanks to a new friend (we're still in touch) and our family travels on the Continent.

66-70 Calvin College

Calvin was the college both parents and all my siblings attended; my father taught at the seminary. It was small, religious, but with some great faculty, and a small core of "rebels" who became friends for life. My initial major was engineering, but I had discovered culture and switched to history. I joined the drama group and the student newspaper, but I found my calling running the film program.

Columbia University Jim in Mactor, Tunisia

70-74 Columbia Art History

A year's undergrad work got me into grad shool in art history, which I loved for 4 years. A highlight was an archaeological dig in Tunsia. I had some great professors, but as a teaching fellow, I felt uncomfortable in the front of the classroom. Looking for something more "relevant," I passed my exams in Greek and Roman, but dropped the idea of an academic teaching career.

books edited by Jim

74-77 Publishing

Referred by professors, I edited studio textbooks at Holt Rinehart Winston. For an interiors book, I wrote a chapter on F.L. Wright. Then I lucked into my dream job as the editor for art & architecture at Braziller — but I lost it after a year. Authors liked my work, but I didn't bring in enough new titles. I then freelanced for a bit, but what was the point? I had already achieved (and lost) my life goal in publishing!

Jim at the Eames Office

Art Game screens

77-80 Eames Studio

I was in L.A. in a rented car with no job, no girlfriend, and no future when a friend introduced me to Charles and Ray Eames. They liked my idea for Art Game and sold it to the client. I led that project for nine months, then worked on exhibit designs for IBM, Missouri Botanical Garden, and the Federal Reserve. I got along well with Charles and went to openings and movies with Ray. I would have stayed forever, but Charles died, and after another year, Ray closed the studio. Once again, I had found my dream job, but it went away! (I worked freelance for a year, some of it in interactive design, but it wasn’t paying the bills)

Wicat brochure & demo

81-84 Wicat Systems

When the Eames office closed, I pursued interactive video. L.A. had no jobs, but I found a role at Wicat Systems in Orem, Utah, where I produced interactive videodiscs for IBM and AT&T. (The picture shows me demonstating AT&T to my mother.) I then became "style director" for a large team creating a dozen computer-based curricula for elementary education.

Judge Building, Salt Lake City IBM LS1 project

84-86 Hoekema Interactive

When work at Wicat dried up, I opened a consulting business with an office in the Judge Building in downtown Salt Lake. We did some work for the Getty Institute and a couple other clients, then landed a huge project producing a style and training guide for an interactive courseware authoring system being develped by an IBM division based in Atlanta.

Marietta, GA National Press Bldg, Wash DC

86-87 Crawford Studio

The IBM project led to a 3-month stay in Atlanta — we had an office in lovely downtown Marietta. We hired a studio, Crawford, for video production work. Later, they invited us to open a branch office for them in the National Press Building in Washington DC. This was fun, but poor sales led them to close the branch after a year. They invited us to Atlanta, but I had received a more interesting offer...

Treasures of the Smithsonian

87-91: Philips Media U.S.

In 1987, I took a job with American Interactive Media (AIM), aka Philips Media, to head up a great project Treasures of the Smithsonian — one of the first programs in"CD-I" or Compact Disc Interactive. It was challenging to coordinate 14 museums! My team included a writer, graphic designer, music researcher, and coder.

After that project, I served as design consultant for other CD-I projects in DC and Los Angeles. When the platform failed to flourish, AIM reduced U.S. activity and closed the DC studio.

Natl Geo - Rain Forest Natl Geo - Solar

91-93 Hoekema Interactive

On my own again, I found a steady client in National Geographic, for whom I created a series of HyperCard stacks to control educational videodiscs.

Meanwhile, Philips resumed CD-I production in Europe. I started design consulting with studios in Milan, Lisbon, Madrid and Holland.

CDI LIsbon CDI Mediterranea

93-96 Philips Media Europe

In July 93, the consulting led to a full-time position, first in Belgium, then in London. It was great fun: I helped design CD-I guides to Venice, Lisbon, and Paris, plus programs on cooking, health, history, and an Oxford dictionary.

In 95-96, I led design at CD-Online, which tried to save CD-I by connecting it online. Sadly, that wasn't enough to stop Philips from ending the whole CD-I platform.

AOL login Knoxville TN

96-97 Hoekema Interactive

Again independent, I did gigs with AOL and others, then a steady contract with a Phlips group in Knoxville, TN — intially on a connected AV receiver (sorry, no pictures!). The group then turned to the new Digital TV platform.

Philips DTV display Philips DTV flowchart

1998-2003 Philips DTV

In Briarcliff Manor NY, I led a team designing user interfaces for Digital TV. This involved coordinaing many TV fiefdoms at Philips locations around the world! Once our work was done, DTV was moved to another office, and ours was closed.

DRC website website Habitat

2003-04 Hoekema Interactive

This phase of my consulting business centered on websites - some paid, like Pepsi Bottling, an employment firm, and the City of Newburgh. Others were volunteer gigs, like the local Habitat chapter and a nonprofit trying to restore the 1835 Dutch Reformed Church.

Mobius spec Novartis

2004-06 Mobius Systems

For 3 years I wrote tech docs for a software company — not very creative, but I commuted with a great carpool gang.

2006-08 Hoekema Interactive After Mobius closed: Clients included a digital agency and pharma Wyeth & Novartis.

Accenture - Car Play Dept of Ed mobile app

2008-16 Accenture

My role at the global consulting firm Accenture proved the perfect blend of steady employment and ever- changing assignments. Over 8 years I traveled to 20 cities and worked on 33 client projects, including California health care, Educational Testing Service, a CarPlay app for Visa, and a mobile app for the Dept of Education.

Jim talk at IxDA 2018

2016-20 Retirment

My last professional gig was all about my first one: an account of the Art Game. I published an article in the journal ACM Interactions and gave talks at the local library, the Interactions conference in Lyon, France, and the Information Architecture conference in Orlando.

Jim's business cards

Business Cards

A selection of the various business cards of my checkered career.