What's your day-to-day role in stewarding university resources?
I’m a part of the FOA communications team, and I provide web design and development services to units in our division. Before joining the comms team, I was a primary resource for units that didn’t have a technical staff, but needed web support. As campus web technology has changed, the focus of my work has changed, as well. I tend to focus more on design aspects and the "user experience." I work to ensure visitors to FOA websites can quickly find the information and services that they need.
What's an example of how you delight customers?
The Pay for Performance website is a recent project that comes to mind. The project team included staff from communications and human resources offices, representing both the Davis campus and the health system. We worked in a very compressed timeframe, had large amounts of content from disparate sources, and our potential audience was large, diverse and pressed for time. There was a great deal of on- and off-line discussion, and lots of reviewing and updating of content.
My task was to assimilate all of the content and the discussion, and to come up with a website that would help people quickly find what they needed – information that would impact their jobs. It was a complex topic, so I wanted to come up with a design that would be simple, inviting and easy-to-use. I also wanted it to have a slightly "unofficial" feel—as if they had stumbled upon a “cheat sheet”—so I deviated a bit from the campus web template. The overall reaction was good, people did find it helpful, and that felt great.
"I feel glad knowing I play a part in the larger mission of UC Davis."
What do you like best about working at UC Davis?
I love being on campus. I moved here from Los Angeles and worried at first that I’d get bored – but Davis is a wonderful city, and there’s so much to do on campus – museums, theaters, libraries, sporting and cultural events, parks, and the people, especially.
Additionally, I like the idea of working for a public institution and being of service to something greater, and I feel glad knowing I play a part in the larger mission of UC Davis. Our office has begun hiring more and more student interns, and I've enjoyed the chance to help them further develop their confidence in their skills and abilities in a professional workplace.
What's the most challenging part of your job?
With collaborative project like websites, there’s always a need for compromise by all parties involved, so it’s great when we can create something that satisfies most or all participants. I try to listen to all sides, look for the similarities or connections between those sides, and seek multiple solutions, if possible. But my ultimate goal, of course, is that a site meets the needs and serves the interests of the greatest number of people.
Tell us one thing about yourself that most people wouldn't know.
Duke is my given name. My dad was never happy with his given name – Ralph. He was a bit of a rough-and-tumble guy when he was young, and he said he wanted his first son to have a “cool” name…Duke was the only one my mom would agree to! My mom’s Hawaiian, and since there’s a famous Hawaiian named Duke Kahanamoku, she thought it’d be okay.
What's something you like to do when you aren't at work?
I took up drawing a couple of years ago, and I enjoy doing that. I'm also trying to pick-up watercolor painting...which isn't quite as enjoyable at the moment! I was a creative writing major in college, and recently I’ve been thinking about bringing the two together to tell stories in graphic novels or a related format.