Biography: David LaFontaine
David LaFontaine is a researcher and designer, content strategist, and trainer who has worked for a variety of clients, including: The Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry at USC, Wiley Publishing, AssetShield, and the U.S. State Department.
His curiosity and willingness to use himself as a human lab rat help him keep up with technology trends, test the latest digital tools, and develop a wide range of design and development skills.
He has written or coauthored five books, including Social Media Design For Dummies and Mobile Web Design For Dummies, and produced more than 20 hours of online training videos for KelbyOne and Pluralsight.
As an adjunct professor at the Annenberg School for Journalism at the University of Southern California, David taught Digital Immersion, Online Multimedia, and Digital Publishing.
He has also been a guest lecturer at the Institute for the Digital Future of Journalism at the Mohyla University in Kiev, Ukraine; the Nelson Mandala School of Journalism in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and Universidad Mayor in Santiago, Chile.
David has twice been awarded Fulbright specialist grants. In 2017, he traveled to Myanmar to work with the Thabyay Educational Foundation. In 2012, he traveled to Ethiopia to train NGOs, journalists, and pro-democracy groups in digital media skills.
David started his career as a journalist with a Pulliam Fellowship and worked as a copy editor at the Arizona Republic. From there, he went to Venezuela to work as the managing editor of the Caracas Daily Journal (now the Latin American Herald-Tribune).
His work includes case studies and articles for the International Center for Journalists (IJNet.org), the Newspaper Association of America (NAA.org), the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), and Innovation International Consulting Group.
David got his start on the Internet in 1991, when he cracked the case of his (then) cutting-edge Zeos 386-25 computer to install a 2400-baud modem, and joined Prodigy and CompuServe. He was fascinated by the way users formed communities online to share news, collaborate to create new businesses, develop their own shorthand language, and devise new and exciting ways of insulting each other for violating the unwritten rules.
David grew up reading science fiction, and is often amazed by the way technologies that only hard-core nerds dreamed about have come to be taken for granted by billions.
David is fluent in Spanish, speaks some French, and reads enough Cyrillic to find the best restaurants when he’s traveled to Moscow, Kiev, and Astana.
Skills: Qualitative and quantitative research, UX design, content strategy, and project management.
Tools: Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Premiere, Illustrator, and InDesign); UX and prototyping tools (Sketch, Axure, and Omnigraffle); Content Management Systems, including WordPress and Moodle; Microsoft Office 365; Keynote, Prezi, Screenflow, and Camtasia.
What others say about David…
“David’s presentation on Saturday at SoCal UX Camp was the best out of the five presentations I attended. He made a dull subject extremely fun and interesting and, more importantly, something I want to study further.
He was able to cover an extraordinary amount of information in a clear way in a short amount of time, and his sense of humor really kept the audience engaged and interested.”
– Debby Alberts. UX Designer
“We get a lot of great information from you that we don’t get anywhere else.”
– Peter Zollman, CEO, AIM Group
“Your insights, research skills, and ability to help us understand our audience is awesome.”
– Mijal Iastrebner, Managing Director, SembraMedia
“Dave is a prince. He rooted around in the trash heap that is my Google Analytics and extracted the gold.”
– James Breiner, Visiting Professor of Communication, University of Navarra, Spain
“Thank you for always being there when we need you. You’re a delight to work with.”
– Ayse Devrim Atauz, Nautical Archeologist, Promare