Happy Spring! Like so much in the northern hemisphere, our blog and Twitter stream have been largely dormant for a while – but we’ve been behind the scenes getting ready for a season of tremendous growth. Since we announced Simply Secure in the fall, we’ve become formally established as a legal entity, interviewed and hired an exceptional staff, and fleshed out our plans for partnering with open-source organizations to make secure-communication tools more usable. We’ll tell you more about what we’re working on in future blog posts, but today I’d like to introduce you to our two awesome new staff members: Ame Elliott, our Design Director, and Nóirín Plunkett, our Operations Manager.

Ame Elliott comes from global design consultancy IDEO, where she led Design Research for Fortune 500 clients. She holds a Ph.D. in Design Theory and Methods, and has spent her career creating and developing Human-Centered Design techniques, which ensure that the resultant design responds to the needs of the people who will engage with it, and not the other way around. This approach – improving technology by focusing on users – is at the core of Simply Secure’s mission, and we are ecstatic to have someone of Ame’s caliber applying these principles to the secure-communications space.

Nóirín “Trouble” Plunkett is Simply Secure’s Archivist, Historian, and Operations Manager. Trouble brings impeccable organization and writing skills to this unusual role, along with deep experience in the open source world by way of the Apache Software Foundation, Google, and the Ada Initiative. As Operations Manager, they work to generally keep the ship that is Simply Secure sailing smoothly. As Archivist and Historian, they will be working to catalog (and make freely available to the public) resources to help make usability and design an integral part of software development.

What is this excellent team up to? In a word, lots. In coming weeks we will share more about some work Ame is doing (a “listening tour”) to learn about where the design, software, and user communities stand in relation to current secure-communication technology. This series of qualitative-research interviews will provide a broad and deep review of the work being done, and help pinpoint clear opportunities for us to make a serious impact. We’ll also tell you about the ways in which we are hoping to collaborate with software partners to improve their tools, and how to get involved. And, of course, we can’t wait to introduce our inaugural group of Secure Usability Fellows!

Thank you for your interest and support while we’ve been getting up and running. If you want to stay in touch as we start sharing out our work, please sign up for our newsletter, follow us on Twitter, or drop us an email – more info here!