About Me

I access the web from computers, phones, tablets, and other devices on a daily basis. As the web evolves, I see things like responsive design and web fonts making sites and applications much more powerful and easy to use. Yet I also see many sites and applications loading their sites with excess JavaScript and bloat, and setting usability to the side. As a web developer, my personal mission is to make websites and web-based applications more efficient, powerful, and user-friendly. I started my career as a UI developer/software engineer, but transitioned into solely web-based front-end development in 2007. I've worked for large companies like Sperry/Unisys, VERITAS/Symantec, Thomson Reuters, Merrill Corporation, and Medtronic, as well as the smaller GovDelivery.com. I also have a B.A. in Computer Science, a M.S. in Software Engineering, and an A.A.S. in Web Development.

Projects

Timeline - Education & Work History

Actual dates/years removed for security purposes

Medtronic (Contract)

Senior Front-End Developer

Merrill Corporation (Contract)

Bootstrap Front-End Developer

GovDelivery.com (Contract)

Front-End Developer

Thomson Reuters (Contract and Permanent)

Senior Front-End Developer

Graduated from Anoka Technical College

Earned an Associates In Applied Science Degree in Web Development

VERITAS Software (later Symantec)

Staff Software Engineer

Graduated from University of St. Thomas

Earned a Master of Science Degree in Software Engineering

Sperry Corporation (later Unisys)

Associate Software Engineer - Principal Software Engineer

Graduated from University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD)

Earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Computer Science with a Math Minor

Philosophy

I am a big fan of Alan Cooper's "About Face" books. As a web designer and developer, my main job is to provide an enjoyable user experience while helping the user achieve his/her goals quickly and efficiently. Here are a couple of lists of characteristics of good and bad websites:

10 Characteristics of Bad Websites:

  1. Bad websites immediately confront the user with a dialog box overlay asking for their email address. This is the equivalent of (in the brick and mortar world) having clerks meet customers immediately at the store entrance and ask them for their contact information.
  2. Bad websites load all the images/ads/plugins first, and then load the page content last. This is especially maddening on mobile devices.
  3. Bad websites disable the browser's back button.
  4. Bad websites autoplay video or audio when a user loads a page.
  5. Bad websites force you to "become a member" before allowing you to access any site content.
  6. Bad websites ask for information (phone number, birthday, etc.) that is irrelevant to the service they are providing.
  7. Bad websites fail to provide a good user experience at the mobile/tablet level.
  8. Bad websites fail to provide easy access to contact/location information.
  9. Bad websites provide false/misleading search engine info. How many times have you clicked on a link in a Google search output list, only to find that the link you are sent to does not contain any content relevant to what you searched for?
  10. Bad websites force you to load multiple pages to view content that could easily fit on just a couple pages.

10 Characteristics of Good Websites:

  1. Good websites are responsive — providing an excellent user experience no matter what the user's device is.
  2. Good websites support progressive enhancement — providing a user experience that takes advantage of newer browsers' functionality while not punishing users that have older browsers.
  3. Good websites are visually appealing due to good use of color, graphics, and typography. All websites should strive to be clean, attractive, and readable.
  4. Good websites are accessible to users with disabilities, especially if your site's target audience includes those users.
  5. Good websites, when possible, remember relevant information about a user so that they don't have to type it in every time they come to your site.
  6. Good websites clearly identify links and (extra credit) whether they are external or not.
  7. Good websites are optimized, and load quickly and painlessly.
  8. Good websites don't nag or annoy the user with popups, overlays, and obnoxious animations, but they make sure that help and additional information are just one click away.
  9. Good websites always make it easy to return to the homepage via some type of button/logo in the upper left of interior pages.
  10. Good websites work properly on all modern web browsers, and on all devices that their target audience will use.