I was a co-founder of two companies, Diamond Bullet Design and RetroAccess and served periods as president of both. I currently work as Creative Director at A9.com.
This experience, from 1996 to 2005, was an incredible one with many adventures and much to learn. We started with the beginnings of the Web and worked out what it meant for an agile web company to focus on usability. A lot of work went into finding ways to make usability practical at the small scale of many web projects.
In 2004, RetroAccess was absorbed into Diamond Bullet, and in 2005, Diamond Bullet first sold its banking assets to our partner in web banking, Certegy, and then sold our remaining assets to Foraker Design.
Sadly, this followed a tragedy in which my business partner, Stephen Markel, had a skiing accident in 2003 in which he suffered extensive head injuries. In September 2004, Stephen passed away. Stephen had been an essential component to our businesses, with excellent business and marketing experience, a deep appreciation of usability and the potential of the internet, and a commitment to running responsible, ethical, and leading-edge businesses.
Diamond Bullet Design
Diamond Bullet designed and developed websites with a focus on usability and provided usability consulting. Diamond Bullet was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. Diamond Bullet merged with Foraker Design in 2005. We were a cross-disciplinary company with expertise in usability, strategy, information architecture, visual design, content development, and software engineering.
Diamond Bullet's motto was Usability First. This reflected a commitment to usability throughout the web design and development process. We created a usability website, Usability First (usabilityfirst.com), which provides a resource for both beginners and professionals with an interest in usability. The site provides introductory explanations of various areas of human-computer interaction, book suggestions, and an extensive glossary of usability terms.
RetroAccess provided tools for web standards and accessibility. Our product, AccessEnable, was an online tool that enabled you to sign up online, enter the address of your site, and evaluate the site against web standards for accessibility. The tool then helped guide you through repairing your site and documenting your process.
AccessEnable was designed to be part of the web development lifecycle, so that anyone could use it from early stages in design to ensure they'd designed for accessibility from the start and to avoid the costs of repairing widespread problems later. This tool was designed to save dramatic amounts of time in achieving accessibility and doing so in a complete and consistent fashion.