About

Hi! I’m Wendy. I’m a web developer and SharePoint/Office 365 enthusiast, with a passion for usability, user empowerment, and productivity.

Face it, a lot of websites suck. They are unwieldy, slow loading, difficult to navigate, and the worst ones are downright annoying (think endless popup ads and subscribe boxes).

I’ve had an interest in website usability since I first started using the web back in the 90s. Why does this have to be so difficult, I wondered. Websites should be much easier to use.

I’ve carried this interest in usability with me throughout my career as a web developer, and later as a SharePoint developer. Whenever I develop a website or a SharePoint site, I always take extra steps to ensure that it is as easy to use as possible (I’ve written and presented extensively on the usability challenges in SharePoint).

In addition to usability, I’m also passionate about empowering end users to take control of their own sites and content, and teaching them to fish rather than doing it for them. I’m also compulsively obsessed with productivity and getting things done. My time is extremely valuable and precious to me, and I don’t like to waste it. I’m always looking for ways to work smarter, not harder. That’s why I created the GTD Dashboard template for SharePoint/Office 365, which you can download and use too if you like.

So while I’m most known in the SharePoint Community for my contributions on the topics of usability, user empowerment, and productivity, for my current day job I’m actually a hardcore developer. See where I got my start below.

Work History

I’ve been in the Information Technology industry since 1998. During college, I interned at Electronic Engineering Company as a web developer. My first job post-graduation was as a classic ASP web developer for CBS MarketWatch (previously known as StockPoint, Screaming Media, and Pinnacor; and later bought by Dow Jones).

After that I worked for 9 1/2 years at GreatAmerica Financial Services as a technical solutions analyst. That’s just a fancy way of saying I developed software solutions using a variety of technologies and languages, including ASP.Net, C#, JavaScript, jQuery, XML, SQL Server, HTML, CSS, etc. It was while at GreatAmerica that I got into SharePoint. In 2007 the company purchased SharePoint and the rest is history. I fell in love right away, and as a developer I recognized how this platform could make my life easier because I could focus on the truly custom stuff and let SharePoint handle redundant things like authentication and authorization, navigation, security trimming, search, audience targeting, personalization, and more.

In 2013 I left GreatAmerica to try my hand at consulting. I was a Senior SharePoint Consultant for McGladrey (now RSM). I specialized in workflow development, site migrations, environment assessments, custom web parts, branding, and user training. I learned a tremendous amount while there, both about SharePoint and how to be a good client server. And I foraged many great relationships with colleagues as well as clients.

As of November 2015, I’m currently a .NET SharePoint Developer for Digital Management Inc. (DMI) out of Bethesda, Maryland. It’s a work-from-home position which I absolutely love. It allows me to truly achieve a work-life balance that I’ve never been previously able to obtain.

Learn more about my work history and specific responsibilities on my LinkedIn profile.

Blog

I started this blog back in 2011 as a place for me to record solutions to issues that I encountered in my day-to-day dealings with SharePoint. It was primarily for my benefit, a personal knowledge base, so I didn’t waste time searching for answers to the same problems over and over again (if you’ve worked with SharePoint, you know it can be temperamental at times). But it also served as a way to share with the world.

Over time, my blog has evolved from primarily help and how-to articles (though you’ll still find some of that) to articles on other topics that interest me, such as usability, productivity, mobile, web design, etc.

Speaking

Somewhere along the line, as my blog grew in popularity, people convinced me to start sharing my experiences at user groups and SharePoint Saturdays. Eventually I started speaking at major conferences as well. Topics are primarily focused on usability tips for SharePoint, but I’ve also presented on site design, user adoption, and productivity.

Writing

In addition to writing for this blog, I also either currently contribute or have contributed in the past to the following online publications:

• CMSWire
• ITUnity
• SharePoint-Community.net
• RSM Blog
• NothingButSharePoint.com
• LinkedIn

Awards & Certifications

Top 50 SharePoint Sites - SharePointWendy

This blog was named as one of the top 50 SharePoint sites by Dynamics 101 in 2013. There are a ton of SharePoint blogs out there, so this is high acclaim indeed and I’m very honored to have been recognized.

 

In 2015 I became a Microsoft Certified Professional and obtained a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certification in Office 365.

In 2016, I was named one of the Top 25 SharePoint Influencers by harmon.ie. They began the Top 25 program back in 2011, to recognize the individuals who have made it their passion to spend time educating the IT community about SharePoint and enterprise collaboration. I am honored to be recognized for my community contributions.

 

Publications

In 2013, I had the great privilege of working with seven other prominent SharePoint experts to create Black Magic Solutions for White Hat SharePoint. This book demonstrates how to create simple SharePoint solutions that Power Users can implement without access to the server. It takes seven different approaches to working with SharePoint to make it more user friendly. The authors take you from the very beginning stages of using jQuery through the full implementation of solutions that will change the way users feel about SharePoint.

Interests

Outside of work, my personal interests include technology, sports (I’m a huge American football and basketball fan), natural health, and of course family.

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About Me

Wendy Neal

Wendy Neal

I am a .NET SharePoint Developer for DMI. I've worked with SharePoint since 2007. I love to share my passion for SharePoint and Office 365 by speaking at various industry and user group events, as well as writing articles for various publications and this blog.   Read More

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