I’m a full stack web developer that also enjoys designing user interfaces. Being a code by default and designer by interest, I have the ability to understand design implications on the code side, as well as provide great feedback on a design itself. This allows for a far more collaborative process where a project can be refined until near-perfection.
I’ve always had an interested in the entire process of building a website, and I enjoy deep collaboration on projects. Having strong communication and teamwork skills is important because the software we build is used by human beings. Wherever I work, I will always find ways to help streamline and improve the system. Sometimes this is in the form of automation such as continuous integration or finding new ways to assist the design process such as building information architecture or content decks.
My first real job was at an E-commerce company that sold home decor. I started off as an IT grunt that also did color correction to product photos that were then put on the website. Over the several years I was there I started working more and more on the front end of the site, adding new banners, carousels, and tweaking the UI to make it easier to use as well as add in any new features. Once I became more comfortable working with databases I started building a web app to help customers find the proper lightbulbs for their fixtures.
After looking around for the right opportunity I ended up working for an agency that specialized in senior living. It was there I started working a lot with WordPress. Senior living websites are special in that there are two distinct groups of visitors to the sites, people looking to live in those communities, and people looking for their parents. Having such different groups creates an interesting design dichotomy where you have competing needs of your two main customer segments.
Most of those considerations are in the form of design decisions. As people age, their eyesight starts to go which means that you have to be extremely careful not only of font sizes but also your color palette. In addition to visual constraints, it is critical that your flow of content and mental clues be well thought out because some visitors might have memory issues. Facing so many problems and finding solutions to tackle them is what really started to get me interested in designing websites. I spent the next year there learning about usability and user experience design. Taking what I learned, I decided to teach the other designers about those concepts which took all of our design work to the next level.
On the programming side of life at that agency, I started finding ways to help speed up various tasks that took up a lot of our time. We implemented version control using git and Beanstalk to help track changes to code and deploy it to production servers much faster than trying to manually push changes, which also gave us the capability to roll back code should something break. Our process was streamlined, easy to pick up, and cut down site build times quite considerably.
Eventually I would find myself at my current place of employment, a smaller design agency of only six people. Here we work on more clients than I have ever known was possible (one of them being Google’s YouTube Division!). Currently I am working on numerous WordPress websites, a couple of custom CMS’, and some web apps. I started a program here where each month we do a lunch and learn about a specific topic such as Usability, Typography, or any other business related theme. This has helped bring the team and the other business who co-works here together.
Some of the notable achievements I have had here include: Meeting Matt Mullenweg, contributing some to the WordPress Project, building a project using the WP RestAPI, and creating an internal domain checking application using AngularJS. My day to day typically involves bouncing around between several sites I have in development (currently 6) and performing updates to client websites.