Some design examples from the early years.
I consider my summer at Willey Brothers to be my best working experience. Willey Brothers was a creative financial company; they did things like interior design for banks, brand building, etc. I was there to redesign the external website for their parent company, BrandPartners Group.
I came in once a week for a meeting with the IT Manager and the creative design group. The rest of the time I was working on my own schedule at home (or more accurately, I subletted an apartment in Boston). I began with Photoshop design mockups and when everyone was happy, I developed them into HTML. The site was fairly basic, consisting of a front level homepage, and second level content pages. Unfortunately, as it often happens, the site did not go live. Nonetheless, the experience was a pleasant one, and I’m happy with how the design came out.
In my sophomore year at WPI I became the vice-president of the WPI Ballroom Dance Team. One of the projects I assigned myself was the redesign of the team’s website. We were transforming ourselves from a casual club to a competitive team and needed a professional image to match.
I began with designing a new team logo, and then built the front page with an integrated MovableType blog to support multiple content authors. The photo pages featured a custom template made in JAlbum. Unfortunately, the WPI Web Development Office limited our options by restricting certain technologies and by requiring that all student organizations stay on the school’s servers. Ah well.
Graphic & Multimedia Design
In the spring of 2004 I had the fortunate experience of traveling to Melbourne, Australia for a WPI project. I worked in a team of four for two months at the Fire Services Museum of Victoria. We were charged with building a prototype audio tour system for the museum. It goes without saying that the experience was amazing, and the project was terrific fun as well. In addition to viewing the video showcasing our prototype, you can also read our final report.
The skin I built for Winamp in 1997 has had pretty good staying power. I’ve been using it for 9 years now. It seems to be a design that works. The skin is designed to be easy on the eyes and fluid in operation. Take a look at my original page for the skin.
Another project I completed for the WPI Ballroom Dance Team was the creation of “Dancer’s Notebooks.” The idea was to let everyone have a place to record notes on various dance steps to serve as a personal reference and memory tool. The concept didn’t fully take off, but I did use it with some success. The design was completed in Microsoft Publisher. An extended version is also available.
One of my more interesting projects at WPI involved the creation of a cross-language communication user interface. My Human Computer Interaction class was split into groups of five and we were charged with the task of creating a computer UI that would allow two people who don’t speak the same language to communicate. Specifically, we were to illustrate the communication of the sentence “John was sad to give back Mary her letter that described the party in Holden where she had told him about her hamster’s big ears.” We created our icon designs on paper, I then scanned these, converted them into vector shapes in Adobe Streamline, colored them in Illustrator, and put everything together in Photoshop. A design rationale is also available.
Every WPI student must complete a Major Qualifying Project (MQP) prior to receiving a diploma. This project is generally conducted in small groups and involves a significant work effort in the student’s primary field of study. I was very fortunate to work with a very strong group on my MQP at Allmerica Financial. Our task was to streamline the reporting process for two business units within the company. As demonstrated by the screencast, we used several technologies to meet the needs of the project. I was the primary UI designer for our JSP web interface to an oracle database as well as for customized excel reporting spreadsheets that pulled in data from both Oracle and SQL Server sources. Our full MQP report is also online.
The Worcester, MA District Court was in the process of building a new courthouse during my junior year at WPI. I was taking a telecommunications class at the time that hosted a competition to design a network plan to support the new facility. Take a look at the video of what we came up with, or read the paper.