grunge typography version of my email address
by Marion Rosenberg





write me



Until March 2nd 2001 I was at Trellix Corporation. You can read about what I did there, a few of my other projects, or...

A Brief History of Trellix

Our first product, Trellix, was designed to support online writing, mapping, and linking on the Windows desktop: in the fall of 1997 it won a "Best of COMDEX" award. I recently shared what we learned while making Trellix 1.0 for a local IEEE meeting. (When I presented these slides I added war stories and waved my hands; write me if you have specific questions or would like more detail.) A small but dedicated community is still using this product to create intranet documents and digital art.

Meanwhile the web blossomed...and our customers started using Trellix to create web pages...and we brought out a version of our software just for them. Trellix Web lets regular people quickly create multi-page web sites. If you bought a digital camera or scanner or printer or PC in the past year, you may already have a copy of Trellix Web; if not, you can download it (for Windows only) from our web site and hang out with other site builders in the Trellix Cafe. For example, I use Trellix Web to maintain an official Jacques Ellul site.

Also from this period: Trellix's Web GemsTM debuted in 1999, and I am very proud of our innovative Trelligram, which let users package any assemblage of web content (not just ours) with its own self-launching and highly intelligent HTTP server for offline use, easy transport and launching, and so on.

Most recently, Trellix decided to create a web site making tool, server based (served directly to your browser) for people who didn't want to download our full client product...who didn't want to wait even three minutes to web themselves. Trellix Web Express lets communities provide private-labeled (skinnable) multi-page (still our specialty) web site creation; you can try it by building a web site at Bolt, ZDNet, Tripod, Kiwibox, BizLand, iVillage, and others (more each week). Rafe Needleman says these new relationships make us an infrastructure company.

What's possible with Trellix Web Express?

  • I created a site with advice for taxi passengers, with text and pictures, in (literally) three minutes, using an original essay I had already written. (I didn't maintain my membership at Bolt so the site is down now, alas!)
  • My mom's site initially took about four or five hours to create; now she's maintaining it herself. The content took care of itself since she's been an artist all her life, focusing on sculpture since 1982.
Note: Both of these sites receive free web hosting, so you'll see ads.

Trellix's dream is to make it as easy to whip up a multi-page web site, from your own PC or any web browser, as it is to send email. Soon everyone - not just web fanatics like our founder Dan Bricklin or our CEO Don Bulens - will have several web sites. For example, my father Don Chatelain now uses web sites to support his consulting, spiritual outreach, and activism; I thank him for relentlessly trying Trellix's products and providing feedback that has made them much better.

In addition to asking its employees' relatives for feedback, Trellix has a formal usability program. If you are able to visit West Concord, MA (we're right by the commuter rail stop) and would like to be a usability reviewer, let our usability manager know.

Trellix as a company values usability because we have to: we make money once our partners' customers actually finish and publish their web sites. Even minor usability improvements visibly affect our bottom line, so it's a fun place for information designers to work: create a new wizard, be a hero!

And My Job Exactly...?

So far I've launched the information design, support, and usability efforts at Trellix, handling them initially by myself and then helping to grow the departments and hand them over to strong managers. I set up the lab shown here but also studied customers informally. In the process of helping to develop and test our products (I've also done a lot of QA) and figure out what they can (or ought to) do I have written many "experimental" documents and web sites and have also represented Trellix by speaking at conferences, leading training classes, and writing articles.

During 2000 I relaunched the ui and interaction design group. I took over from Karen Donoghue at the end of 1999, got out the first release of Trellix Web Express, and passed the baton to Alicia Molina in July. My final assignment was to help document our licensed offerings on Solaris, Windows, and Linux.

When I describe my career since 1979, I explain that I'll do anything necessary to connect geniuses and their customers. I can manage information flow either:

  • to the geniuses, in the form of customer research, usability, and design (rapid prototyping a specialty), or
  • to the customers, in the form of documentation and training.
Here's a rough sketch of my typical activities, done for a talk I just gave at Emerson College. If you have geniuses and customers that need to be connected, let's work together sometime!

A Few Quasi-Professional Links

Recently I've been working with writers of hyper- and cybertexts to figure out the extent to which techniques for studying nonfiction readers transfer to more literary electronic works. Here's a position paper and a list of resources for online writers interested in usability.

One of my long time interests is applying the Media Equation research of Byron Reeves and Cliff Nass to problems of software "personality"; you can read a report on two projects where I attempted to apply their findings.

Finally, here are links to my thoughts on how to ask for a raise, and my now utterly dated (but left public for historical purposes) opinion on how to use epinions.

This page last updated 27 January 2003 (to revise dead links only).

Julianne Chatelain wrote and coded this text; design and graphics on this site's main pages were done by Marion L. Rosenberg.