In my four years at James Madison I have had lots of projects, but none have compared in size or scope than this one. To preface my involvement with the project let me explain how this was set up. Every year the 150 CIS majors from the school of business take on a client and create three identical systems for them as their capstone course. These are back-end server-side language programmers who write databases and functionality; they don’t aim for an easy and beautiful interface.
This is where I come in. This spring the SMAD department got involved and placed one of us into each of their groups of 6. We were asked to create a front-end UI/UX face according to the client’s requirements, and pass it off to our back-end counterparts to write the functional pieces. This seems feasible and I was very excited going in. However, this project quickly turned into a 24/7 job with zero time for my other courses. Each of us had a learning curve figuring out how to work with the other side and go through rapid revision stages to get our systems in a presentable order for client meetings.
We came out with a system that didn’t meet all the client’s requirements, but was functional and beautiful for what we did build. I created a planning and analysis report with UX elements and research explained to give to my professor and also created a walkthrough document to turn in as my final. We created three identical systems in less than 7 weeks. I primarily worked with the C# version. This was very tricky for me since I work on a Mac and .aspx files are only viewable on a PC. I also couldn’t run their databases even if I could open a file so I couldn’t see any dynamically loaded content. I had to guess about incorrect displays of information, how to fix problems, and what to select because unless I was working on one of their computers, I couldn’t view the files properly.
I learned so much about how both sides tie together and was able to get a realistic idea of what a future project may look like depending on what company I’m working with. I also learned a lot about working quickly and efficiently. My team wanted to stay up working early hours of the morning and I couldn’t effectively function at that hour. I tried as hard as I could to make sure I was giving them quality work. But in the end, I am proud at the quality and effort I was able to put in to this project. I am proud of myself for making it through even when people were difficult to work with and my other classes suffered. This was a really tough project. Go me!
There is no hosted version of our system but I have included the Analysis and Planning Report as well as the Walkthrough document for you to view! Enjoy!
For my SMAD 408 Converged Media Lab capstone course I created a custom child theme using the Wordpress content management system. My roommate Brianna Hess gave me her content and helped guide the design process along the way. Completely custom CSS and functionality that is dynamic and interactive.
Here is my documentation for my process which will help you see my ideas and reasoning behind the site as well as a before and after comparison.
CJ of Bleubird Earthen has graciously allowed me to tell her story in website form. This started as a small project but has turned into something much more significant. I have grown to know CJ and her family and have grown personally and professionally along the way. I moved her over from Wordpress.com to Wordpress.org which was a huge undertaking. We also mapped out the process of moving her domain as well. It has been a very rewarding process and I look forward to continuing our friendship in the future.
“Last summer I contacted Emily Estep about designing my personal blog. Knowing that she was a senior undergraduate student at JMU in Media Arts and Design, I was unsure of what to expect from a novice in training. She replied promptly to my inquiry and during our first meeting I explained the vision for my blog- I wanted to write about grief and about the passages of my journey in light of my daughter’s short life. Emily listened quietly and respectfully. She assured me that she would be able to set up the blog according to my specifications and that she would meet with me regularly through the summer to help me incorporate the content. For each of our meetings she made extensive notes about what I wanted to change, how I wanted to tweak it, and any questions she had for her field mentors concerning technical difficulties. Emily was thorough, precise, attentive, sensitive, gracious, accommodating, prudent, and punctual. I was very impressed with her caliber and her expertise. I not only gained the benefits of a knowledgeable web designer, but I also gained a genuine friend.”
- Cari Jean of Bleubird Earthen Blog
This final project was my Advanced Interactive Design for the Web course - one of my capstones this semester. The Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro is a non-profit organization that rescues wild animals. They have new externs every year that help take care of all the birds and animals there. The problem was that these trainees needed an easy way to learn all about the animals they were taking care of as well as information about the center and procedures.
This app uses Angular JS and sorts through JSON data to display animal profiles and important facts. This was a group project and I created the HTML and Bootstrap framework for all the main pages. I also helped with the CSS and icons.
*Please open the app in Mozilla for it to work.
Taylor approached me back in March and asked me if I would help her redesign her photography website. I was pressed for time with the last bit of senior year coming to a close, but Taylor has been a great friend and I knew she would be a great client.
We sat down and had an initial consultation. Taylor had some great ideas but was frustrated with her old site. I knew Wordpress was just the thing to get her set up and be in business again. It took a while for the hosting company to release it from the clutches of the MyWebsite builder, but finally we got it all figured out. After that it just took me to find the time to get all of her information in and formatted the way she wanted. I created a custom template with a child theme for the home page since she just wanted a picture.
We still have a few minor revisions to make, but I think it will come together nicely. Take a look and check out her work!
"Emily was absolutely incredible to work with. I have no background in web design so I had no idea how any of it worked and she sat with me multiple times to explain how it worked and what she was doing. My opinion was always her priority and making sure it was what I had envisioned. Emily was so professional the entire time and made sure that everything was perfect. I really appreciated her attention to detail and enthusiasm in making sure that my idea was put into the design. I am very happy with the website she designed for me and I will trust her to keep designing it as my business continues to grow. Thank you Emily!"
- Taylor from Taylor Main Photography
Here's taylor's logo as well as a watermark I was able to create for her as well
This project is a little bit different than the other ones I have done. My minor is in Educational Media which means I use media to help others learn. For my capstone in this program we had a client that we worked with throughout the semester to create instruction that helps them or their organization. My client was Stuart Hall School in Staunton, Virginia. They recently implemented Chromebooks and computers for use in the classrooms but were struggling with how to implement them in classes. Some teachers were fluent with the programs and integrated them seamlessly while others had more difficulty because of the learning curve. My group and another group teamed up to create instruction for six Google Applications; Slides, Draw, Docs, Sheets, Forms, and an extention called Flubaroo.
We created screencast videos that showed users how to perform certain tasks within the applications. We also created PDFs with the steps so they could download a copy to have offline. Teachers can use these videos to learn and then ask their students to watch the same video if they are struggling or need assistance. We compiled the materials on a Weebly site that had been created from the previous semester's group. However, the navigation was very confusing and content wasn't organized clearly. As the UX lead in the group I took it upon myself to change that, knowing all our work would be pointless if users couldn't easily get to the information and complete tasks. I restructured the navigation, videos, pdfs, previous content, and quizzes to better help the teachers and students interact with the site.
During the whole process we created numerous reports, presentations, and documents to deliver to our professor as well as our client. It seems appropriate that we used Google Drive to host and collaborate between teams. Here are a few documents that we created.