The MatriX Files

About the Site

The Matrix Files is a place for Joanna Pineda (Matrix Group’s CEO, Founder & Chief Troublemaker) to share her insight on effective marketing strategies, customer service, leadership, and the web. This redesign was an opportunity to update the layout and colors, incorporate more social elements and make the site responsive.

My Involvement

As the designer and lead front end developer, I coordinated with Matrix staff and Joanna to:

  • Design a refreshing new look for the blog.
  • Implement the design in WordPress, building a custom responsive theme.
  • Create custom user interfaces for each screen size, starting with a mobile-first approach.

Visit the site

http://www.thematrixfiles.net

Growing Wireless

About the Site

The Growing Wireless site is a joint venture between CTIA-The Wireless Association® and The Wireless Foundation to provide an online resource to help parents stay in tune and up-to-date on the latest mobile products and services their kids may use.

My Involvement

As the lead front end developer, I coordinated with designers from Fleishman-Hillard, developers and CTIA staff to:

  • Implement the website in the Sitefinity content management system.
  • Incorporate an interactive branding area for the homepage to provide a preview for each of the sections, helping to engage parents as they first visit the site.
  • Design and develop responsive layouts based on the original design.
  • Implement Sitefinity’s multilingual module, developing the site templates in both English and Spanish.

Visit the site

http://www.growingwireless.com/

An Event Apart DC

Joeleen Kennedy with Jeffrey Zeldman

Joeleen Kennedy with Jeffrey Zeldman

Matrix is attending An Event Apart DC, and we are learning a lot and having a blast! It is amazing to see presentations from some of our web heroes, and meet people who are doing awesome things in our field!

Yesterday, my co-worker, Sarah, and I found the courage to sit with Jeffrey Zeldman, @zeldman (web hero) at lunch, and we’re glad we did. It’s a rare thing to finally meet someone you look up to and find out that he’s even cooler than you’d thought.

Should all designers learn to code?

A couple weeks ago I attended a Refresh DC event with Sarah Mills, a designer and co-worker at Matrix Group, where the presenter, Garrett Miller (@heyitsgarrett), gave several compelling reasons why all designers should learn to code:

  • Designers who can code can put their ideas in motion without waiting on a front-end developer (FED).
  • FEDs can design something the way they want it, instead of trying to interpret someone else’s vision.
  • The streamlined process allows for agile design, where user feedback can be implemented immediately.
  • Applying creativity to development produces more thoughtful, user focused products.
  • Teams are able to design user interactions in a real world environment instead of a PSD.

Sarah and I both fit this description of a designer/developer, starting in design and then learning to code our designs. She has stuck with design, and I have moved mostly into front-end development, but this crossover made us especially interested in the topic.

In debating, we came up with some additional reasons why designers and FEDs should understand the other side of things:

  • It improves our ability to share ideas, critique each others’ work, design for new capabilities, and watch for problem areas.
  • Smaller organizations can save time and budget by hiring someone who can do both.

On the other hand, we think that agencies or organizations who have the budget for a full team benefit from having both designers and front-end developers, preferably with some cross-over, but whose primary focus is one or the other. Here’s why:

  • Keeping up with bleeding edge technologies and web standards OR design trends and tools takes a lot of time. Trying to keep up with all of the information necessary to design and build modern websites and also do the work would be very challenging.
  • People are always better at one or the other. Developers can build a site that doesn’t look bad, especially using boilerplates like Twitter Bootstrap, but it will be somewhat plain. Designers can learn to code, but particularly complex CSS or JavaScript will always make their brain feel a little fuzzy.

Overall, our answer to the question is “Yes, but…”

Snack O’Clock

snack o'clock - home

About the Site

As a result of a town hall meeting in early 2012, Matrix Group decided to launch a new staff blog – snackoclock.net – featuring brain food for web developers and designers. We launched the blog to showcase our expertise, highlight cool projects, discuss innovative techniques we’re implementing on client sites, and demonstrate thought leadership among our peers.

My Involvement

As the lead front end developer, I coordinated with Matrix designers and information architects to:

  • Craft a beautiful design that highlights Matrix’s personality, while also keeping the blog clean and allowing the content to take center stage.
  • Implement the site in WordPress and set up user profiles (complete with a personalized illustration) for each Matrix blogger.
  • Integrate Matrix’s Flickr account to show off photos from all of our fun events and pranks.

Visit the site

http://www.snackoclock.net/