About Jody

Dr Jody Byrne is an award-winning experimental communicator, designer, and storyteller. After realising that body piercer or international rockstar weren’t realistic career paths, he started out as a technical translator and then technical writer before doing a PhD in usability and spending the next 10 years as a lecturer, researcher, and author. After a spell as an instructional designer in the life sciences industry, he joined SAP and has worked as a video producer, prototyping lead, trainer, and designer. Although he’s mortally afraid of heights he loves rollercoasters, and can eat his own body weight in jellybeans, which incidentally is where he believes his creative superpowers come from. His spirit animal is a donkey.

Jody Byrne
Communication

Technical Translation

Technical Translation
When you love languages and science in equal measure as much as I did, a career in technical translation was the obvious choice. So, armed with a degree in German and Spanish translation I worked in Germany as a technical translator before setting up as a freelance scientific translator, specialising in technical, medical, and legal translation. Oh, and I spent my Erasmus year at the University of Leipzig a few years after the Berlin Wall came down.
Digital Design

Website Design

Website Design

Starting with a really basic course on building websites using Microsoft FrontPage, I taught myself HTML, and basic JavaScript to build my very first website. Around this time, I discovered the joy of graphic design and typography. I’m not saying my first designs were any good, but I had fun doing it.

Communication

Technical Writing

Technical Writing

Realising that the skills that make a good technical writer overlap considerably with those of a technical translator I began writing online and print technical documentation. My first tech writer job also involved managing the company’s website.

Psychology

Usability

Usability

After several years working as a technical translator and writer, I wanted to learn more about my craft so I signed up to do a PhD in Applied Languages at Dublin City University. My plan was to explore how we can use usability and cognitive psychology to engineer better technical texts. My research culminated a large comparative usability study which proved that relatively simple strategies can produce massive improvements in usability.

Education

University Teaching

University Teaching

While pursuing my PhD, I taught translation, computers, and research skills to undergrad and postgrad students. It was around this time that I was introduced to blended and e-learning using Moodle and Blackboard. After graduation, I moved to the University of Sheffield where I ran the MA in Multilingual Information Management and taught advanced translation, localisation, technology, and research methods.

Education

Academic Consulting

Academic Consulting

As my academic career developed, I published various papers and wrote two popular books on technical communication and joined the editorial boards of several journals. I began to get more and more requests to give keynotes and workshops at universities and conferences around Europe. I also served as external examiner for universities in Portsmouth, Manchester, Roehampton, Westminster, Newcastle, Bristol, and Dublin, and reviewed academic programmes for a number of universities.

Education

Instructional Design

Instructional Design

After 10 years in academia I made the move back into industry and worked as an instructional designer developing e-learning courses for the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. It’s not often that you get to combine all of your nerdy obsessions into one job but as an instructional designer I got to play with new technologies, learn about life sciences and design training materials and assessments.

Digital Design

Creative Digital Media

Creative Digital Media

Never happy unless I’m learning something new, I went back to college to study multimedia, programming, and UX. I threw myself headlong into video production but also learned some programming in JavaScript and UI design as well which happily built on my previous experience in communication, usability and e-learning.

Digital Design

Video Production

Video Production

I joined SAP in 2014 as an information developer and spent time working on a project to develop in-app help for SAP software. This also marked the start of my career as a professional video producer making explainer and promo videos for internal and external customers. I’ve developed training courses in things like infographic design and video production. I also introduced new video production processes for around 800 information developers throughout the company and made sure they had the training and resources they needed.

Innovation

Prototyping Lab

Prototyping Lab

At SAP, I was constantly tinkering with new technologies to find new ways of providing assistance to the people using our software. My amazing manager at the time helped me to set up my own team and our job was to talk to our customers to understand their needs, and then design and prototype new tools that could help them. Drawing on my experience in academia, I ran research projects and workshops with customers from all over the world and my team developed dozens of concepts, prototypes, and mobile apps. We even won some awards, which was nice.

Psychology

Cyberpsychology

Women standing among blue repsentations of data streams

The itch to learn something new led me to study cyberpsychology. After spending lots of time working on ways to communicate with users digitally, this was the perfect complement to my previous experience and it filled in a lot of the blanks left by usability and UX. After taking this course, things made a lot more sense and I looked at communication in a completely new way because it helped me understand the why of digital communication, not just the how.

Communication

Experimental Communication

Experimental Communication

When you put all of these elements together and sprinkle a bit of natural curiosity, freedom to experiment, and great collaborators, you get Experimental Communication. This isn’t the final step in the journey but it’s a launching point for even more exciting adventures. 🤠

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