Curriculum vitae for Lois Wakeman, updated July 2009

personal details | précis | education | experience and skills | detailed work record

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Personal details

Date of birth: 29th January 1953

Nationality: British

Status: married

Member of Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators, Trust Group, Quality Authors

Director of L. Wakeman Ltd (also trading as Communication Arts)

Personal interests: ceramics, natural history, photography, reading, walking

Contact information:

L. Wakeman Ltd, Horseman's Hill Barn, Gore Lane, Uplyme, Lyme Regis, Dorset, DT7 3RJ, UK

Telephone: +44 (0) 1297 444 707
Web sites:

Précis - Lois Wakeman - technical author and information designer


Many years experience since the early days of the web, covering many aspects of web site and intranet evaluation, analysis, design and development; for multinational and local clients.

Current tools: DreamWeaver MX, Adobe Contribute, UpCast, HomeSite, Acrobat, PaintShop Pro, PhotoShop, TopStyle, CSE HTML Validator, WS_FTP Pro etc.


From technical author to freelance information and usability consultant - in the business since 1977. Thorough training at ICL's highly-regarded customer publications department provided me with a sound basis for developing the necessary skills for successful communication.

Current tools: MS Word, Information Mapping


Many years of DTP, typographical design and print buying; including user, process and technical manuals, data sheets, complex survey and report forms, newsletters, flyers and publicity material.

Current tools: MS Word, CorelDraw, Adobe Acrobat Professional

Key skills

  • Excellent ability to communicate through the written word (in both content and presentation)
  • Willingness and ability to learn new skills
  • Thorough knowledge of Internet and intranet technologies and techniques, specialising in Microsoft products
  • Meticulous approach to testing and finishing projects
  • Ability to work with others in a multi-disciplinary team, and good self-manager

Selected clients

  • Boehringer Ingelheim (software and process documentation, validation/testing templates and documents, intranet consultancy)
  • Infection Management Ltd (web content, magazine articles and marketing material)
  • Home Stagers Ltd (copywriting and content management for web site)
  • Gore Browne Investment Management LLP (copywriting for web site)
  • gradwell dot com (online user guide for VoIP system and online support documents for email)
  • The Cauldron (copywriting for clinical decision support system literature, Word/Powerpoint templates for client documents)
  • (printed flyers and Word templates)
  • S&S Builders (printed letterheads, business cards, advertisements, basic web site)
  • Higher Holcombe Farm Cottage, Lyme Regis Accommodation, Drakestone, The Garden Lodge, Passport to the Pyrenees (self-catering/B&B accommodation web sites for small businesses)
  • Norris and Armitage (lavender products web site)
  • Enverity and LandCheck™ (environmental engineering web sites)
  • Music@ Felcino Bianco (classical music tuition web site)
  • The Jurassic Coast Partnership (accessibility consultancy for web site)
  • Syntagma (search engine/IA consultancy for web site)
  • Berkshire Young Musician's Trust (advice on rewriting information brochures)
  • Orange Personal Communications (process and procedural documentation)
  • Anglo French Consulting (consultant's brochure web site)

Through association with Parity, I worked with a number of government, police, blue chip and financial organisations, providing intranet design and information architecture consultancy.


1963-1972 - Windsor Girl's School, and Bracknell College of Further Education

Ten O-levels and four A-levels: chemistry, biology, geography (grade A); physics (B)

1972-1975 - University of Wales, University College, Swansea

BSc Honours (first class); principal subject geology, with physics and chemistry subsidiaries

Formal training

  • Information Mapping - Developing Procedures, Policies and Documentation
  • Information Mapping - Developing Information for the Web
  • The User Experience World Tour - conference and tutorials on web site usability from the Neilsen Norman Group
  • XML technical training with Tim Bray

I also keep myself up-to-date with evolving technologies like XML, XSLT, XHTML and CSS through self-study and membership of online communities.

Relevant experience and skills

I have always had a facility for picking up new subjects quickly, and relish the challenge of learning new technologies and tools. My extensive library of reference books is complemented by knowledge of where to look on the Internet for up-to-date technical information.

I am able to produce high-quality results in short time-scales. My written output is said to be higher than most of my comparable colleagues: this does not mean that the quality is lower: on the contrary, my clients have, without exception, been pleased with my work, and I have been able to build long-term working relationships based on this success.

I have a keen interest in the English language and how it can be used to convey information accurately and clearly. Since I have been writing for a living since 1977, I believe that I have the skills necessary for any job that involves written communication in British and international English. I am also interested in the appearance of printed and on-screen material, and have a good eye for typographical design and detail, coupled with several years' experience of DTP and web site design.

At present, I divide my time between web/intranet work, and technical documentation. On the web side, I have a thorough knowledge of not just the technical aspects of (X)HTML and CSS, but the practicalities of building a site that works for the user regardless of ability or technology - content, navigation, and information access are just as important as the visual design.

In order to do the best job possible, I have tried to equip myself with a good range of up-to-date hardware and licensed software. My principal machines run Windows XP, and I have a colour flatbed scanner, Nikon digital SLR cameras, and colour and monochrome A3 printers. The PCs are networked with a number of other Windows/Mac machines locally.

I have a good, current working knowledge of the following products:

  • Windows 2003 Server and Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Word 2003/2007, including simple macro programming, mail merge, 2003 template development and UI customisation etc. (Also Excel/PowerPoint etc.)
  • Web development tools including DreamWeaver MX, HomeSite, and CSE HTML Validator. I have practical experience of configuring and using MS IIS web servers
  • CorelDraw for line art and page makeup
  • PaintShop Pro, PhotoShop, and assorted utilities for web graphics
  • Adobe Acrobat for online publications
  • WS_FTP Pro, WinZip, and assorted web utilities.

I have basic skills in JavaScript/VBScript, ASP and PHP, which have been developed to meet the needs of the jobs I have undertaken. Though I am not a professional graphic designer, I am able to develop simple web graphics or web-enable and optimise pre-existing images. (I created nearly all of the images on my own sites, for example.)

I also have practical experience of the financial management of a small service business, and a local government organisation, since I am the Clerk and Responsible Officer of Uplyme Parish Council.

Detailed work record

Ongoing / recent

Various consultancies and web development jobs, including:

  • Articles on web accessibility, web usability, and working from home published in Communicator, the journal of the ISTC.
  • Web copywriting for an investment management boutique
  • Word template development for an events management company
  • Word template development and printed flyers for a wine retailer
  • Web site development and hosting for a supplier of lavender oil and flowers, a supplier of TEFL teaching aids, an environmental engineering company, a music teaching school, an advisor to English and French SMEs, a photographer, and several B&B/self-catering businesses
  • Accessibility consultancy and template development for the Jurassic Coast Partnership
  • Search engine/information architecture consultancy for Syntagma
  • Article on user testing for, and newsletter tips for users of Top-Pile search engine submission service.

2008 to date - Infection Management Ltd

Web site design and copywriting for a company selling ultraviolet germicidal (UVGI) equipment for hospitals etc. I also write trade magazine articles, marketing copy etc, and implement graphic designs as Word templates etc.

1992 to date - Boehringer Ingelheim (in the UK, Germany and USA)

I have been involved with several longstanding projects for this multinational pharmaceutical company, mostly writing user and training guides to support their processes and software, including Oracle Clinical and RDC, SAS and Documentum applications, as well as several in-house products. These are mostly in the clinical trial management, QA, drug submission and drug safety reporting areas.

As well as writing numerous documents and newsletters, I have developed process qualification test cases, an intranet site, and various Word templates to support the production of system and validation documentation.

April 2007-November 2008

Assistant to, then web content manager, for the Home Stagers Ltd suite of web sites; responsible for keeping the content fresh and topical and producing a monthly newsletter highlighting new content on the site, sent to over 6,000 subscribers.

October 2007

Subcontractor to Graham Caleb and Associates, interviewing SMEs and editing project summary documents for a telecommunications company.

September 2004-2006 - gradwell dot com

Online user guide for gradwell dot com's VoIP administration system and also email FAQs.

November 2003-July 2004 - sub-contractor to CAS Services Ltd

Case studies and data sheets (contracted via The Cauldron) for a clinical decision support system used in NHS Direct and Walk-in Centres.

September 2001-September 2004 - Attinger Jack Advertising

Web designer, host and webmaster for Attinger Jack Advertising, administering a dedicated web server and ASP application as well as keeping static pages up to date and advising on miscellaneous browser/email client problems.

August-September 2002 - the Jurassic Coast Partnership

Audit and suggested improvements to their inaccessible web site, then creating templates for an accessible design for the webmaster to use in creating the new pages. (Eventually superseded by decision to use a content management system instead.)

July 2002 - Berkshire Young Musicians' Trust

Advice on how to make a parent's information booklet more compelling and easy to read.

October 2001 to January 2002 - Orange Personal Communications Ltd

Process and procedural documentation for the project management office, for training, support and reference purposes.

November 1994 to June 2000 - Parity TMS Web Solutions Ltd.

As a Parity TMS associate, I specialised in evaluating and proposing improvements for existing intranets, performing information analyses, and designing and building new prototype intranets.

I also largely developed a technology demonstration intranet, wrote an on-line development methodology, and was the webmaster for their public web site.

June 1992 to March 1993 - Sub-contractor to the PIMB Association

Researching and writing a book introducing PCTE* to computer-literate readers: "PCTE: the standard for open repositories" (Wakeman and Jowett, Prentice-Hall 1993. ISBN 0-13-065566-x). Commissioned by the PIMB Association (a non-profit-making body for the promotion of PCTE), this book was written using a wide variety of source material contributed from world-wide contributors.

* PCTE is "a Basis for a Portable Common Tools Environment", initially developed with EC funding as a European alternative to CAIS; it is a standard defining the framework for an object-oriented IPSE (Integrated Project Support Environment). All my work in this area was done through Syntagma, a technical writing consultancy.

February to June 1992 - Somerset County Council

Designing and writing a handbook on computer security and data integrity for the Council's IT Services department. Electronic copy produced in Ventura Publisher for in-house printing shop.

October 1990 to June 1992 - Sub-contractor to SFGL

Designing and writing marketing and user documents for EAST-Environment (an IPSE running on a PCTE implementation). Electronic copy produced in Grif.

June to December 1990 - Acorn Computer Ltd.

Producing camera-ready copy of various marketing and technical support documentation, including an exhibition flyer; a dealer support pack, and two issues of a technical paper issued to the educational market.

December 1989 to June 1990 - Sub-contractor to GIE Emeraude

Designing and writing user and system documentation for Emeraude, one of the first commercial implementations of PCTE.

April 1987 to December 1989 - Sub-contractor to the PACT Project consortium

Planning, designing and writing user and system documentation for PACT, the first implementation of tools for a PCTE environment.

December 1985 to April 1987 - Sub-contractor to Lloyds Bank plc, International Banking Division

Planning, designing and writing documents for a wholesale banking system, in particular a security administration manual and a user guide; also origination and design of quick reference cards.

May 1977 to April 1985 - Employer: International Computers Ltd.

I joined ICL as a junior author, rising to Principal Author by 1981. During my employment, I designed, planned and monitored the production of various publication suites.

As senior author, I was team leader of 5 authors, with technical responsibility for documentation contents, liaison with development staff, training/advising team members in technical matters, and clearing of documentation bug reports. As a principal author, in addition to my software documentation work, I designed and part-wrote a procedures manual for the publications department; supervising, editing and co-ordinating material from 24 contributors, in compliance with MOD Contractor Assessment Programme standards.

November 1976 to April 1977 - Employer: British Petroleum Ltd.

As a technical assistant in the Exploration and Production Department, writing and maintaining FORTRAN programs for the evaluation of oil well log data. Running programs and analysing output; correlating output with original logs.

September 1975 to July 1976 - Employer: International Nickel Ltd.

As an analyst in the Process Control Laboratory, collection of air, plant effluent and river water samples; their physical and chemical analysis for metal contamination, as part of pollution control programme.

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