About

Degrees

Ph.D. in Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin. Concentration in human factors, design of automated systems, and statistical research methods.

M.Ed. in Psychology from the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education.

B.A. English, Rutgers University.

Location

Cleveland Ohio USA

Super Powers

Can recite most of the lines from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Will build you a gaming PC upon request.

Able to scarf a sleeve of Thin Mints in well under a minute.

Bio

I’ve provided user research, usability testing and UX/UI design services for organizations in diverse areas like security; telecommunications; banking, accounting and tax preparation; financial planning and portfolio management; ecommerce, and more.

I also create and teach graduate courses in user experience research and design at Kent State University, where I serve as Coordinator for the User Experience Design Master of Science program.

During the 2000’s I was Senior Director of User-Centered Design at Sage Software in Atlanta, Georgia, where I led efforts to redesign the UI and workflow for Peachtree Accounting and several other business management desktop and web-based products. Before that I was a User-Centered Design Manager at Intuit. In the 1990’s I was a Member of Technical Staff at Lucent Technologies in New Jersey.

In my spare time you can usually find me assembling guitars from a collection of parts I’ve accumulated over the last 20 or so years. Some of them turn out pretty good. Here are a few of my better builds.

Work History

Kent State University

Assistant Professor (2014 to present)

Concentration Coordinator (2016-2017)

Program Coordinator (2017-present)

Design and teach various courses in the User Experience Research and Design Master of Science program, including usability, UX research, and UI design. Provide student mentoring and career guidance to students. Set strategic direction and ensure quality for the Master’s program.

 

ShermanUX

Principal Consultant (2008 to present)

Founded a user experience consultancy in late 2008 to provide user experience and usability research, design and training for product and service providers. Clients include American Medical Identifications, Adopt-a-Pet.com, Autosoft, BusinessOnLine, Dell, First American Title, Lenovo, Microsoft, Notable Solutions Inc., Synq Solutions, Trend Micro, Verizon, VMware, and others.

Key Achievements:

  • Generative research and UX/UI design: Conduct generative user research for user needs discovery and product design for early stage, medium-size and enterprise organizations.
  • UX and Accessibility Training: Provide clients with customized training covering fundamentals of accessibility, usability, user experience design, and incorporating user-centered design processes into the software development life cycle.
  • Community: Released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 license “The User Experience Team Kit”, a comprehensive implementation guide for staffing, budgeting, and managing user experience research and design teams.

 

Turning Technologies  –  Youngstown, OH

Product Design Lead (2010 to 2011)

Created and implemented the Turning Technologies user experience design and research practice and process.

Key Achievements:

  • Embedded user-centered design practices into the product research, design, and development life cycle.
  • Redesigned and validated the UI/user experience of several software and hardware products, including PresenterCard, TurningPoint AnyWhere (Mac and PC), and ResponseWare (Web app).
  • Started the Turning web and software accessibility program, a cross-team initiative to ensure that Turning products meet US and international standards for accessibility.

 

Sage Software –  Atlanta, GA

Senior Director of User-Centered Design, User Research & Usability (2004 to 2008)

Hired as Director to drive improvements to customer experience by developing and directing a user-centered design team for this software company with more than 10,000 employees. Defined and implemented the Sage Small Business Division’s Customer-Connected Design & Research program, a key part of Sage’s product/software development lifecycle (PDLC / SDLC).

Designed a customer-focused innovation program to create new products and services. Promoted to Senior Director in 2007. Held full accountability for $1.9M operating budget, $125K research budget and a staff of 21 direct and indirect reports.

Key Achievements:

  • Customer experience research, design and usability: Drove improvements to Peachtree’s end-to-end customer experience by identifying gaps then redesigning key areas of the desktop application, product web properties and other customer touch points. Redesigned touch points included web- and phone-based product registration, web-based software purchase, in-product cross-selling, as well as the retail box and user assistance collateral contained within.
  • Process innovation: Drove redesign of key R&D processes, including ideation, design, and development. Moved the organization from a linear “waterfall” process to an agile, iterative, collaborative process.
  • Product and service innovation: Championed the establishment of and designed processes for innovation teams charged with discovering un- and under-served customer needs, prototyping solutions, and establishing business cases for creation of new products and services.
  • Software user research, design and usability: Orchestrated the redesign of the user interface and interaction model of Peachtree accounting software, a $100M+ software product line. Peachtree 2007 was recognized by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society in 2008 with a User-Centered Product Design Award Honorable Mention.
  • Leadership and evangelism: Developed and delivered training to product teams across North America that covered user-centered design and its incorporation into the product development lifecycle.

 

Andara Digital – Dallas, TX

Director of User Research (2003 to 2004)

Oversaw user research services, establishing strategic direction and aligned offerings with practice strengths/constraints for this Internet solution and Web development company.

Prepared user-centered design offerings such as ethnographic studies, user needs analysis, requirements gathering, information architecture, and usability testing. Managed user research and design projects. Served major clients such as MyAutoLoan.com, JCPenney.com, Intuit, Kinkos.com, CompuCom, CenturyTel, American Medical Identifications, others. Held full accountability for $250K research budget and a staff of 4 direct reports.

Key Achievements:

  • Improved JCPenney.com’s search experience: Researched customer needs, co-designed interactions, and usability tested the updated version of JCPenney.com’s search interface.

 

University of Texas at  Dallas

Senior Lecturer (2001 to 2005)

Developed and taught a three-course sequence in human-computer interaction for the Applied Cognition & Neuroscience Master of Science program. Mentored students and provided career guidance.

 

Intuit – Plano, TX

Manager of User-Centered Design (2001 to 2003)

Led research projects for new products and product line extensions for Lacerte Tax Planner, Intuit Document Management System, and QuickBooks Client Manager. Provided personnel and project management for user needs research, serving the Product Management and R&D organizations.

Identified process and design improvements and partnered with Six Sigma “blackbelts” to implement and track improvements following the Six Sigma DMADV method. Held full accountability for $125K research budget and a staff of 3 direct reports.

Key Achievements:

  • Process improvement: Achieved $150,000 in annual savings and reduced the misrouted call rate 65% by redesigning Intuit’s Lacerte call center IVR user interface.

 

Perceptive Sciences (Formerly Austin Usability) – Dallas & Austin, TX

Usability Engineer (2000 to 2001)

Provided usability engineering services for major clients such as Intuit, Dell, ADP, HP, Landmark Graphics, and Motive Communications.

Selected Contributions:

  • Web site and browser-based application design and usability testing: Elicited requirements, designed information architecture and process flows, and wireframed a number of web sites and web-based applications.
  • Mobile device, application, and OS usability evaluation and testing. Assessed the initial user experience and over-time usability of 19 smartphone devices, applications, and OS’s, including devices from Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, Sanyo, and Motorola.
  • Business development and sales supported: Directly generated more than $240K in revenues through effective and targeted client add-on sales and business development initiatives; supported sales efforts through participation in pre-sales and pitch initiatives.
  • Client and project management: Ensured exceptional service for clients including Nokia, Intuit, Diebold, Motive, Palm, Kodak, and Dell through management of client engagements.

 

Lucent Technologies – Holmdel, NJ

Member of Technical Staff (1997 to 2000)

Provided a wide array of technical functions as systems engineer and UI design supervisor. Wrote functional and UI requirements for network management, billing, and customer management software applications. Also created internationalization guidelines for product suites.

Selected Contributions:

  • Designed the user interface for two optical networking element management systems (EMS), a type of network operations support system (OSS) application.
  • Wrote and maintained functional requirements for an OSS product suite consisting of element management systems, and network management systems. Also wrote and maintained functional requirements for an OSS and billing management system integration project.
  • Wrote and maintained functional requirements for a converged voice-video-data solution delivered via residential and business cable infrastructures.

Presentations and Publications

Peer-Reviewed Books And Contributed Chapters

  • Sherman, Paul J. (Ed.) Usability Success Stories: How Organizations Improve By Making Easier-To-Use Software and Websites. Gower Press, Aldershot Hampshire, UK, 2006.
  • Sherman, Paul J. An Introduction To Usability And User-Centered Design (2006). In Sherman, P.J. (Ed.), Usability Success Stories: How Organizations Improve By Making Easier-To-Use Software and Websites. Gower Press, Aldershot Hampshire, UK.
  • Sherman, Paul J & Hura, Susan L. Collaborating With Change Agents To Make A Better User Interface (2006). In Sherman, P.J. (Ed.), Usability Success Stories: How Organizations Improve By Making Easier-To-Use Software and Websites. Gower Press, Aldershot Hampshire, UK.
  • Sherman, Paul J. Learning From Success Stories (2006). In Sherman, P.J. (Ed.), Usability Success Stories: How Organizations Improve By Making Easier-To-Use Software and Websites. Gower Press, Aldershot Hampshire, UK.
  • Sherman, Paul J. Applying Crew Resource Management Theory And Methods To The Operational Environment (2003). In Tsang, P.S. & Vidulich, M.A. (Eds.), Principles And Practice Of Aviation Psychology, Lawrence Erlbaum & Associates, Mahwah NJ.

Other Publications

Presentations And Addresses

  • Ethical Design: Is It Possible? Invited address to the 2018 User Experience Southeast Asia Conference, Singapore, November 2018. https://youtu.be/I1i-Pal7BvY
  • Onboarding Patterns: When Persuasive Design and Ethics Collide. Invited address to the 2018 World Usability Day Cleveland conference, November 2018.
  • Get Strategic: A Hands-On, Collaborative Workshop For Creating A UX Strategic Plan. Workshop for the 2017 Interaction South America conference. Florianopolis, Brazil, November 2017.
  • The Unicorn Is Dead: Soft Skills Beat Coding Skills. Invited address to the 2017 Interaction South America conference. Florianopolis, Brazil, November 2017.
  • Get Strategic: A Hands-On, Collaborative Workshop For Creating A UX Strategic Plan. Workshop for the 2017 UX India conference. Bangalore, India, November 2017.
  • The Unicorn Is Dead: Soft Skills Beat Coding Skills. Invited address to the 2017 User Experience Philippines conference. Manila, Philippines, May 2017.
  • Field Research at the Speed of Business. Invited address to the 2017 User Experience Oxford conference. Oxford, UK, April 2017.
  • The Unicorn Is Dead: Soft Skills Trump Coding Skills. Invited address to the 2016 User Experience New Zealand conference. Wellington NZ, October 2016.
  • User Onboarding: Patterns and Anti-Patterns Explored. Invited address to the 2016 User Experience Singapore conference. Singapore, September 2016.
  • Get Strategic: A Hands-On, Collaborative Workshop For Creating A UX Strategic Plan. Workshop for the 2016 User Experience Singapore conference. Singapore, September 2016. (Workshop also presented at the UX Cambridge conference. September 2016; and the UX New Zealand conference, October 2016.)
  • User Onboarding: Patterns and Anti-Patterns Explored. Invited address to the User Experience Professionals Association Cleveland Chapter. Parma OH, July 2016.
  • The Unicorn Is Dead: Soft Skills Trump Coding Skills. Invited Address to the 2016 EvolveUX conference. San Francisco CA, June 2016. http://www.slideshare.net/PaulSherman/the-ux-unicorn-is-dead-soft-skills-trump-coding-skills
  • The User Experience Landscape. Invited address to the World Usability Day 2015 conference. Cleveland OH, November 2015. http://www.slideshare.net/PaulSherman/the-ux-landscape-2015
  • Changing Minds, Removing Barriers: UX Practitioner as Strategist and Change Agent. Invited address to the Northeast Los Angeles UX Meetup group. Pasadena CA, July 2015. http://www.slideshare.net/PaulSherman/changing-minds-removing-barriers-ux-practitioner-as-strategist-and-change-agent
  • Embedding UX Into Your Processes. Workshop for the 2015 UX Strategies Summit. San Francisco CA, June 2015. http://www.slideshare.net/PaulSherman/uxss2015-workshop-paulsherman.
  • Decision Insurance: Iterative Prototyping To Reduce Business Risk. Invited address to the 2015 UX Strategies Summit. San Francisco CA, June 2015. http://www.slideshare.net/PaulSherman/decision-insurance-iterative-prototyping-to-reduce-business
  • Ethnographic Research at the Speed of Business. Presentation for the UX Akron professional community. Akron OH, February 2015. http://www.slideshare.net/PaulSherman/ethnography-at-the-speed-of-business
  • Building a UX-Focused Company Culture. Presentation for the UX Akron professional community. Kent OH, September 2013.
  • Web Usability and Conversion (For Online Marketers and Friends). Invited address to the Online Marketing Summit 2010. San Diego, CA, February 2010. http://bit.ly/d6NO0l
  • Usability…Or Strategic User Experience? Invited address to the Usability Marathon 2 conference. Moscow, Russia, October 2009. http://marathon.uidesign.ru/sherman.html
  • Attaining A Great User Experience For Enterprise Software Applications. Invited address to the Product Camp Austin Summer 2009 conference. Austin Texas, August 2009. http://www.slideshare.net/PaulSherman/attaining-usability-and-a-great-user-experience-for-enterprise-products
  • From Personas to Production: The Role of The Role of Personas, Design Briefs, Stories, Storyboards, and Wireframes in the Ideation/Design/Build Process. Invited address to the Product Camp Austin Summer 2009 conference. Austin Texas, August 2009. http://www.slideshare.net/PaulSherman/from-personas-to-production-the-role-of-personas-design-briefs-stories-storyboards-and-wireframes-in-the-ideationdesignbuild-process
  • A Kit For Building User Experience Teams in R&D Organizations. Invited address to the Big (D)esign Conference 2009. Dallas Texas, May 2009. http://www.slideshare.net/PaulSherman/user-experience-kit
  • Usability For Strategic User Experience. Invited address to the the 2009 Online Marketing Summit. San Diego, California, February 2009.
  • User Experience: Drive Change, Become Strategic. Opening plenary presentation to User Friendly 2008, the 5th Annual Conference of the China Usability Professionals Association. Shenzhen, China, October 2008.
  • Keynote presentation to the 7th Annual International Conference of Ergonomics and Usability, Interface Design, and Human Computer Interaction. Balneario Camboriu, Brazil, July 2007.
  • Shaking the Tree: A Case Study of A Usability Turnaround. Invited address to User Friendly 2006, the 3rd Annual Conference of the China Usability Professionals Association. Hangzhou, China, October 2006.
  • Some Right – and Many Wrong – Ways to Incorporate Usability into an Organization. Workshop for User Friendly 2006, the 3rd Annual Conference of the China Usability Professionals Association. Hangzhou, China, October 2006.
  • Setting up a Usability Team. Roundtable Leader at User Friendly 2006, the 3rd Annual Conference of the China Usability Professionals Association. Hangzhou, China, October 2006.
  • Usability Successes and (Gasp) Failures: More Case Studies in Usability Engineering. Invited address to the Usability Professionals Association 15th Annual Meeting, Montreal, Canada, June 2006.

Teaching, Training & Curriculum Development

Accredited Curriculum Development

Kent State University:

  • User Experience Principles and Concepts
  • User Experience in Practice
  • Interaction Design I
  • Information Architecture I
  • Information Architecture II

University of Texas at Dallas:

  • Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction
  • Human-Computer Interaction II
  • Human-Computer Interaction Lab

Graduate-level Teaching

Kent State University, 2013 – present:

  • User Experience Principles and Concepts
  • User Experience in Practice
  • Interaction Design I
  • Information Architecture I
  • Information Architecture II
  • Content Strategy I
  • Content Strategy II
  • Researching User Experience I
  • Researching User Experience II
  • Information Technologies

University of Texas at Dallas 2001-2005:

  • Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction
  • Human-Computer Interaction II
  • Human-Computer Interaction Lab

Professional Training

  • Fundamentals of Usability, User Research and User-Centered Design – 3-day training.
  • Incorporating User Experience Into the Product Design Life Cycle – 1-day training.
  • Strategic Planning for User Experience Teams – 1-day training.

Everything Else

Awards and Honors

  • 2009: User Experience Professionals Association President’s Award – for service to the user experience community and the UPA.
  • 2008: Human Factors and Ergonomics Association – HFES User-Centered Product Design Award – for user research, design, and usability analysis on the Peachtree Accounting 2007 redesign project.

Volunteer