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 & accessibility testing, and UX/UI design services for organizations in many domains, including cloud / hybrid server 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.

Before that 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. I also served as User-Centered Design Manager at Intuit and was a Member of Technical Staff at Lucent Technologies.

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

ShermanUX – Cleveland, OH

Principal Consultant (2008 to present)

Transform clients’ products and services via user research, iterative design, process implementation, and mentoring. Clients include Adopt-a-Pet.com, American Medical Identifications, Autosoft, CloudPassage, Dell, Entertainment Partners, The Federal Reserve, First American Title, FormFire, Lenovo, Microsoft, Realtime Gaming, Rio Tinto, Synq Solutions, Trend Micro, University Health Systems, USAA, Verizon, and others.

Key Achievements:

Redesigned the Microsoft HealthVault Web portal – conducted field observations of target users, tested HealthVault web portal prototypes, and iterated portal design based on user research findings.

Redesigned and usability tested the information architecture and workflow for Dell’s online server configurator. Conducted field observations of IT professionals to identify needs and represent them in prototypes.

Established agile / lean UX research and design processes and governance as interim UX director at Entertainment Partners.

Over the course of a four-week discovery, ideation, and design sprint, interviewed and observed Rio Tinto mining process stakeholders and target users, identified data visualization and process control user needs for multiple user types, created a mobile prototype, usability tested the prototype then revised it based on user feedback.

Observed Lenovo customers during the consumer PC out-of-box and setup experiences, and then designed improved multi-channel / multi-modal onboarding workflows and user interfaces.

After conducting user interviews, designed alternative versions of the American Medical Identifications checkout flow, then usability tested them to identify the best-performing version.

Usability tested and redesigned the dashboard and workflows of CloudPassage Halo, a SaaS security application for private, public, and hybrid cloud computing environments. Halo was recognized by GigaOM, eWeek, and The Wall Street Journal for cloud security innovation.

 

Kent State University – Kent, OH

Associate Professor (2020-present)

Assistant Professor (2014-2020)

Program Coordinator (2016-present)

Set strategic direction of the Master of Science in User Experience Design program to ensure that the program delivers a high-quality educational experience and prepares students for UX roles in the workforce. Create and teach courses in the program, including accessibility, usability, UX research, information architecture, and interaction design.

Key Achievements:

Increased the program’s student retention from ~ 75% to above 90%, consistently the among the highest retention of Kent State graduate programs.

Graduates of the program have moved into positions at top-tier companies including Amazon, AT&T, Cox, Disney, Hyundai, Johnson Controls, Land Rover, Key Bank, Sony, Sprint, Suntrust Bank, and other organizations.

 

Risk Management Technologies – Youngstown, OH

Vice President, Product Management (2012 to 2015)

Led design and development of RMT’s policy checklist application, resulting in an on-time launch and double-digit growth in sales between 2013 and 2015. Defined the product roadmap, led design and development sprints, and conducted concept testing for new features.

 

Turning Technologies – Youngstown, OH

Head of Product Design (2010 to 2012)

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 2009)

Led efforts to adopt agile user-centered research and design processes for Sage software products. Oversaw a multinational staff of 21 direct and indirect reports, a $2M operating budget, and a $300K research budget. Hired to improve Sage products’ customer experience by implementing user-centered research and design processes, I led the redesign of the Peachtree Accounting application, a $100M+ product line. The redesign was recognized by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society in 2008 with a User-Centered Product Design Award Honorable Mention. Designed and implemented an agile innovation program to discovery opportunities and create new products / services.

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.

 

– – – Prior Work Experience – – –

 

Andara Digital – Dallas, TX

Director of User Research

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 – Dallas, TX

Senior Lecturer

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

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

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

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

  • The Ethics of Onboarding Users. Invited address to the 2019 World Information Architecture Day conference. Kent, OH, February 2019.
  • 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.

Curriculum Development, Teaching, & Training

Accredited Masters-level Curriculum Development

Kent State University:

  • Accessibility Evaluation & Universal Design
  • Information Architecture I
  • Information Architecture II
  • Interaction Design I
  • Researching User Experience I
  • Researching User Experience II
  • Usability I
  • Usability II
  • User Experience Leadership
  • User Experience in Practice
  • User Experience Principles and Concepts

University of Texas at Dallas:

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

Graduate-level Teaching

Kent State University:

  • Accessibility Evaluation & Universal Design
  • Information Architecture I
  • Information Architecture II
  • Interaction Design I
  • Researching User Experience I
  • Researching User Experience II
  • Usability I
  • Usability II
  • User Experience Leadership
  • User Experience in Practice
  • User Experience Principles and Concepts

University of Texas at Dallas:

  • 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