Web Design

Throughout my time in college I have had the opportunity to develop a number of different sites for various organizations and individuals. In the development of each of these sites, I’ve prided myself in designing and developing a product that meets the exact needs of that organization or individual. I’ve steered clear of boilerplate development, taking each new job as a chance to expand my horizons and develop something truly unique that will meet the specific needs of the site.

In scrolling through the sites below, you can click on any one of the images to view the live site as it is today. Please bear in mind that I am no longer responsible for development of some of these sites, so they may have changed or even be down for maintenance.

UTSA Student Government Association

http://utsa.edu/sga
In taking on my position as Website Directory for the UTSA Student Government Association, I was faced with an unusable, unattractive mess of a site (archived here). After briefly considering and dismissing the idea of modifying the existing site, I accepted the fact that it would need to be rebuilt from the ground up. There were just too many problems both visually and functionally for it to continue being used.

In beginning the design process, there were a few factors that had to be taken into account. First, the site had to be accessible for content updates without direct access to the UTSA servers. While I was lucky enough to finagle my way into server access through existing contacts and prior experience, no Website Director before me, and likely none after, had access to the servers. Any changes made to the site have historically had to be made through a third-party who is responsible for all of Student Activities and obviously cannot put Student Government at the top of her long to-do list, meaning that updates were slow, often over a year (yes, really). Since this is obviously an unacceptable delay for updating content, I needed to implement a system whereby content that changed regularly (directory, calendar, etc.) could be changed without accessing the server.

http://utsa.edu/sga/directoryWith the member directory, the way this access was achieved was through a spreadsheet in Google Drive. Since Google Drive allows for spreadsheets to be published as automatically-updated XML documents, it was trivial to write a script on the server that accessed this remote XML document and used the contents to write out the contents of the member directory to static pages. Each time the script runs, the static directory pages are updated.

While it would have been possible to dynamically load each member’s information when queried through the same XML document, this was deemed a poor choice given the unnecessary delay that this would cause in loading pages. Having the server script run at scheduled times via a cronjob was a much faster and equally effective solution.

Startech Foundation

Startech1.org

The Startech Foundation site was the first site, outside of my own personal site, that I produced using the popular WordPress CMS. I was hired to fill their Web Specialist position due to previous experience with WordPress in developing my own site, but my work with Startech has allowed me to to delve much deeper into the framework than I ever did for my own site. Experience through this development directly led to producing the Document Gallery WordPress Plugin. Recently, I’ve begun work on a new WordPress backed site for Startech which should prove to be very exciting once released. Please stay tuned for updates!

Pamela Maldonado (Personal Site)

http://PamelaMaldonado.org

Pamela Maldonado’s professional site was my first non-university-related contract job and was a refreshing change of pace. Pamela and I worked together to make her vision a reality. Since the site was designed to showcase her written and artistic work, the site makes heavy use of FancyBox, a jQuery plugin similar to the well-known Lightbox plugin, but with much more flexibility in the content displayed.

AOΠ — Upsilon Lambda Chapter

AOIIUTSA.org

This website for Upsilon Lambda chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi (AOΠ) was a quick WordPress development job. There is not a whole lot special about it, other than that it works to emulate the national site design, while implementing some measures to limit HTTP requests on each page load (something that the national site, at least when I was developing this site, was terrible about). The WordPress admin dashboard was slightly modified to remove buttons related to functionality that the organization did not plan to use in order to make it as user-friendly as possible.

UTSA Honors College

http://utsa.edu/honors

The UTSA Honors College site was my first experience with web development under a large pre-existing site. One of my first tasks was to overhaul the Honors College site, taking it from an old design that was not compliant with the university template to something that was approved by the University Advancement office.

UTSA Rotaract Club

http://utsarotaract.org

UTSARotaract.org was developed with simplicity and innovation at the forefront of development. One of the most exciting features of this site is the real-time integration of content within the Events tab with scheduled events on the organization’s Facebook page. This is achieved through integration of the Facebook API.

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