I've conducted a number of usability tests and think I'm decent at spotting
potential problems and communicating them.
I made my first professional web site about 6 years ago and I've been using
Rails since last November. I was the lead programmer for
http://masterformat.com, as well as other projects which I can't list here.
In my spare time I created happycarpools.com using rails, which was pretty
Usability became really important to me after I started doing online marketing
and had people asking me to do SEO but not to improve their site. I realized
that you're really wasting your money if you're paying to increase traffic
that ends up leaving because your site is too confusing or frustrating to
deal with. So I've spent a lot more time working with usability so that I can
explain its importance to clients and help my clients create actually
Usability's even more important now, I think, with the use of AJAX and DOM
scripting to make pages behave in unexpected, unconventional ways.
If you'd like to read some of my thoughts on user experience/usability, I've
started writing a series of articles: which hopefully are helpful:
(The site, btw, uses Mephisto, Rick Olson's awesome blog system)
I definitely like the idea of using video-conferencing and VoIP
If you want to have something hosted let me know as well - I've just ordered a
VPS from slicehost that has more space than I'll likely need for awhile, and
after I get it set up I'd like to hosting some small (50-100mb, usually
that's plenty) accounts for free. Also, if you check out the Rails wiki there
are some free Rails hosts listed.