Web Design & Development

Anaren.com

One of my greatest project accomplishments was the complete revamp of the Anaren Inc. website. It was a project that was several years in the making, from not long after I arrived at Anaren in 2014, to the new site release at the end of 2017. Here is a brief timeline of that project, and how I was the instrumental driving force in making it happen.

Timeline:

  • July 2014 – Arrived at Anaren to work on the Atmosphere IoT project.
  • September 2014 – Working with (and sometimes against) IT, Marketing, and the company’s 3rd party contracted web developer, convinced them that the Atmosphere Platform would be run by the Atmosphere team on Amazon Web Services (AWS) virtual hosts and managed by us.
  • November 2014 – Released the Atmosphere Platform and Atmosphere website on AWS servers.
  • December 2014 – I convinced Anaren IT to migrate it’s web hosting from an internally, self-hosted server to a cloud provider. They chose 1and1.com (blarg) but whatever, and I agreed to assist in the management of the server while the 3rd party contractor maintained the actual website.
  • 2015 – Hazy memory era
  • April 2016 – I left the IoT development team and joined Anaren IT as Senior Web Developer. My goal was to take over web development from the contractor, and eventually replace the website.
  • April 2017 – I slowly took over more and more of the web development responsibilities until I was able to convince management that it was time to drop the 3rd party developer completely.
  • May 2017 – I presented a roadmap for a site revamp and a small team was formed around it, and given a 3 month deadline to complete what I was estimating for 7-9 months.
  • September 2017 – We released the new Anaren.com about a month behind schedule with a 4-person team, me as the lead developer and 1 co-op developer, a graphic designer, and a content editor.
  • Also got the hosting moved to Microsoft Azure.
  • Also incorporated source code control using Git to maintain the website.

Before & After:

Original Design

  • Not full width
  • Not responsive
  • Full of text, overly wordy
  • First designed in 2009
  • Not SEO friendly
  • Cluttered and disorganized

 

New Design

  • Better use of screen real estate
  • Mobile first design, looks great on phone or tablet
  • Visually appealing, graphically driven with high quality imagery.
  • Modern bootstrap, responsive design (as of 2017)
  • SEO optimized
  • Well thought out user experience and organized content.

 

Beyond the revamp of the website, I saved the company ALOT of money by removing continuous contracts for both the 3rd part web developer, and a 3rd part SEO company that wasn’t actually doing anything.

I definitely count this project as one of my greatest achievements, not for the technical feat involved, but for the people and process hurdles I learned to overcome. This is the project that has changed my mindset about who I am and what I am capable of. Previously, I was content to write code and take orders… since, I know that I should be a project lead or even more… this is the project that affirmed to myself, that I REALLY know what I am doing, and that both my technical knowledge and architectural decision making skills are second to none.

 

Other Websites

I’ve designed and developed for well over 100 websites in my career, mostly during my years as a developer at an advertising agency (Professional Media Services, Inc.)  The real trick with remarking on a career of web development is that sites I worked on 2, 5, 10 years ago have obviously (hopefully) been modified and changed since then.

There are a few that stand out however, like when I built the website and online store for Mountainman Outdoors in the year 2000, designing a custom online store software before online shopping really became a big thing. I was very proud of the work I did there and it also became quite successful, generating business and revenue that I feel really propelled that business far beyond what it would have been able to achieve otherwise.

Another standout web design and development accomplishment for me was Birnie Bus. This was circa 2008, and as of this page update (3/2018) this site design remains relatively unchanged. It’s definitely out of date, technically and style-wise.. but the real accomplishment of this site was that at the time, many of the PCs at this client were Windows 95 or Windows 98 due to software that ran their company not being compatible with Windows XP, so I had to develop a site that would be compatible with Internet Explorer 5 so that the internal users at the client could use it. Perhaps they are still on Windows 98 ’til this day, and such is why the site has not been updated in over 10 years.

Around 2010 I finally took the plunge into WordPress, before that I had been either a custom website, or Drupal CMS designer. I helped a local non-profit revamp their website using WordPress and even built a custom theme. Insight House appears to still be using my theme 8 years later, must be a really good theme to last this long… hopefully they’ve kept their CMS installation and plugins up to date.

There have been many dozens of other sites that I’ve built, and maybe some more that I will recount at a later date.