Freeneedle is one of a series of craft directory sites that I've developed for my wife, which has been online for five years. This latest version has been a response to a performance hit by Panda 20 and will hopefully leverage social media more effectively to drive traffic and add content through comments.
The site has quite a lot going on, with a weighted template system that offers 100s of different directory page layouts to try and counter ad blindness. The pages are cached for up to 60 minutes, so the user's personal details are integrated after page load. The system of framing external pages has also been implemented to offer a smooth user experience that will keep users on site. This threw up other challenges as Pin It buttons can't be produced dynamically after page load. Mobile and touch friendly changes are next to do.
This is a personal project that I'm preparing to launch through which I'll be offering a different photo each week for a year on a "pay what it's worth to you" basis. Being more than half way through my 3rd 365 Day project, I've built a collection of images and, like many enthusiast photographers, wonder if there's any financial potential in them.
La Beturia was originally planned as an events listing site, but the concept developed, perhaps a bit too much. It was to be a lifestyle site and app aimed at helping independent businesses to engage with customers in a new ways - new for the Spanish region of Extremadura anyway. While we saw a wide range of opportunities for empowering small businesses within the Spanish community of Extremadura, after several months developing the project, the team chose not to move the project onto the production stage. However, I learned a lot of value working on this concept, having evaluated ModX and Codeigniter for the build. Early plans for a map centric interface also meant that I spent quite some time researching mapping options, including running an OSM server, and I have no doubt that that knowledge will be of value to me in the future.
The link will take you to a development site where you'll be able to find broken links and some working interface functionality - the 'Encuentras eventos' link in the top nav will take you to the page that has had the bulk of development.
This project has been delayed by La Beturia which I believe has a more time sensitive window of opportunity. More app than web site, this is a rather more complex piece of interface development than the other sites here. One thing I've learned from this is that when it comes to clever interfaces, "Maths is King".
This link opens a development prototype of a project tracking page. Look forward to discovering non-functioning links and mis-positioned overlay boxes, but this does demonstrate my plans for managing a project lifeline of up to 366 days in duration.
Marchena35 is my first experience with Wordpress and is an English language learning aid for Spanish speaking children. The content is produced by my wife and she also gets involved in much of the site set-up.
The theme is still a work in progress and hasn't had any work done as yet on mobile device friendliness as it's currently only being tested with local children who don't have much mobile tech. There's still a lot of work to do, but it is a project that has to fit in around other priorities.
HTML / CSS / PHP / Wordpress / MySQL / Design
Away With the Pixels was developed as a platform to sell digital stamps and papers for crafters. This was a bespoke build to deliver some specific functionality, including a rewards system tied into compiling bundles of digital papers.
Payments are processed through PayPal, with IPN to activate download links. The download files themselves are stored on Amazon S3 with secure URLs as I learned quite quickly during development that downloading them from the same VPS that the site is hosted on would slow down all the sites on the VPS.
YumYumYarns.com was one of a couple of domains that we owned that we felt could be combined with Etsy's API, the other being SpinningBatts.com.
Both sites run off largely the same code base, but with some changes specific to their search requirements. In line with Etsy's terms that only allow their data to be cached for a maximum of six hours, each site queries the API four times each day, though each time there are multiple requests as a maximum of 100 results are returned each time.
I took the decision to cache the data as this allows the site to read through products' descriptions and extract specific information that can be added as meta information on each listing. This allows users to search in ways that they can't on Etsy itself, such as searching on yarn weight.
I built this site for myself a couple of years ago when it seemed like a good idea and never got around to installing a shopping cart.
On the plus side, I never got around to doing any promotion after the first week so probably haven't lost sales as I suspect the site has never achieved more than 1,000 page views a week since that first week. Ho hum.
Aquababies is my second Wordpress site and is still in development as I write.
In general I've found Wordpress quite easy to work with, though as I'm comfortable to code in PHP, it's natural for me to develop the theme without using Wordpress' Codex, which might be problematic if a Wordpress only coder were to follow me. For example I tweaked the Events plug-in so that users can search for a pool using their postcode and I'm sure I've not done that by the book.
HTML / CSS / PHP / Wordpress / MySQL / Design
The Anagraphs project is a European funded project that knits together specialist businesses from across Europe, under the leadership of the UK company Hobarts, to develop a production ready device with a haptic braille interface.
With no photography available from the project members, the decision was taken to go with a simple and bold graphic approach. It was felt that this would also dovetail with the requirements for the site to be user friendly to visually impaired users.
This was built over two years ago for a client based on the Andalucian coast and unfortunately appears to have headed to the web in the sky. I've included it here as it included some interesting points, one of which is the fact that although I've carried out several jobs for this client over more than two years, we've never spoken - all communication has been in writing.
The site allowed recruitment agencies to add their own jobs to the site and manage their own profile, with payments facilitated via PayPal.
Jobseekers were able to add their details to the site which could be searched by registered agencies. They could also attach a saved CV or upload a specific version and email this when applying for jobs. There was an advanced search function and jobseekers could save their searches and receive the results via RSS or daily emails.
"My broad skills base means I am able to develop fully bespoke solutions or prototype exciting new online concepts, without the risk of misunderstandings occurring between workers focusing on individual aspects of a project."
firstname.lastname@example.org | 0034 924 875 743 | Skype: marchena35
I'm a Graphic Designer, turned Web Designer and Developer based in southern Extremadura, in the west of Spain. It's not a well known area outside of Spain, despite its beauty and friendly inhabitants, but if you can locate Seville on a map, we're about 80 or so miles north of there.
Prior to moving to Spain, my experience was producing work for print and as recently as a year ago, I continued to produce a range of print work, including artworking collateral for some major brands.
My focus is now quite firmly on the web and particularly my own projects, but I'm still equipped to produce print ready work. I can produce samples of a range of past work on request.
As well as working with graphics software, I also write about graphics software. I was previously employed by The New York Times for a year and, while no longer contracted, I continue to have a couple of articles per month published on their About.com website.
Due to my location, I'm very used to working remotely with clients that I've never met and have no difficulties managing projects on this basis through various channels. I've got one client that I've worked with for more than two years who I've never even spoken too, with all communications via email, Skype and Gmail Chat. The 'virtual paper' trail has proven to be a very effective way of reducing misunderstandings during communications, as ambiguities tend to be more obvious and so are addressed ahead of the fact.
I'm comfortable working on both Mac and PC platforms, with experience of the following software.
In terms of web design, my skills cover several disciplines.
01/07 - present
Self-Employed Designer/Artworker/Web Developer
Since moving to Spain at the end of 2006, I've been developing my skills, particularly in the context of web development, and working on a variety of projects. For several years, until the death of the owner in 2011, I had a 10% interest in the estate agency business PropertyInExtremadura.com, one of my first bespoke PHP websites. I've also helped develop a number of craft related sites, including Freeneedle, that are monetised through Google Adsense. For several years, I undertook artworking and branded spreadsheet projects for an employee share plan business that worked with some well known brands, including Vodafone, Orange and Unilever.
05/04 - 06/07
Four Square Marketing Communications, Penrith
I helped to set-up a new design studio for a well established PR and marketing firm.
09/01 - 05/04
During this busy time, whilst converting two barns and then renovating a farmhouse, I undertook a variety of jobs. As well as freelancing during this time for local publishers, including In The Sticks and Living North, I also designed and created websites for several businesses, my first foray into web design. Latterly, we set up and ran a cafe with wall space for local artists and I also worked as a freelance valuer for one of the largest independent estate agents in the north east.
02/01 - 09/01
Superior Creative, Bowerhill, Melksham, Wiltshire
Design and print company with accounts including Booker Cash & Carry, The National Trust and Dyson.
02/00 - 02/01
Brunel Press Ltd, Bath
Regional/local magazine publishing division of Bristol United Press. This was a new role that entailed setting up an in-house Production Department/Art Studio. Previously this work had been contracted out to other production departments within the BUP group.
04/99 - 02/00
DP Media, Bristol
Publishing company producing a range of books and magazines for themselves and national and international clients such as ICFM and AsLib.
04/94 - 04/99
Paste-Up Artist - Junior Supervisor
Bristol United Press, Bristol
Regional/local newspaper publisher. I initially started as a part-time paste-up artist and worked my way up to the position of Junior Supervisor, the first part-time worker to achieve this.
04/96 - 04/99
Part-Time Glass Artist
At the start of 1996 I purchased a range of equipment for engraving and sandblasting glass. As I became familiar with the process, I started to market both my skills and work.
I know it's not so relevant at my age, but for the record.
After several years, the renovation of our house is largely complete and we share it with a silly selection of dogs and cats, several with special needs including blindness and deafness. In my spare time, I enjoy photography and, at the time of writing, am more than half way through my third 365 project. I also enjoy walking and cycling through the local countryside, which often ties in with my enjoyment of photography. It can also help to build an appetite and I enjoy time in the kitchen, particularly preparing Indian meals, mezze dishes and the occasional pizza - there is a dearth of takeaways here and the nearest Indian restaurant is in Seville.
I can arrange for references on request.