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New Media Club Site Design and Code

As the webmaster of the New Media Club I was tasked with redesigning and consequently reimplementing the code to get it all to come together.

WHAT'S UP

The original New Media Club (NMC) site was a single page application built on Gatsby by the previous webmaster Jacob Frank (jacobdfrank.com). When I got added as the new webmaster I was asked to expand the site to include features such as mentor and alumni galleries as well as a resources page to help new students get started in design. To do this I had to scrap a lot of the original code and implement new features like JSON populatino for events and profile cards.

TOOLS
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Gatsby, React, Figma

I had worked on the Thought At Work design conference site a year prior to aid in the design and code so I had a little experience in React and the static site generator Gatsby. Figma was used for the designs for each page, allowing me to collaborate and recieve feedback from the other members of the NMC Eboard.

For the kinect visual this was a much simpler problem to solve, I used a Version 2 Kinect and the Open Kinect library from Daniel Shiffman in Processing to make it come to life.

CHALLENGES
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User Population

This was the biggest web project I did alone. To make it easy for future webmasters I wanted to make it as autonomous as I could. JSON was implemented to minimize the HTML required making markdown easier to read and it let my update user profiles easily as I could make edits in excel or directly in the JSON document for quick updates. We had over 50 combines alumni and mentors so having a speedy was of doing this cuts down significantly on time costs. But I had never done anything like this before so a lot of googling was required initially to figure out exactly what I was doing.

Image Optimization

This was very important because there are a lot of user profile pictures. Luckily I have a lot of experience in image optimization so this was not exeptionally challenging but still important to cover. Each image is twice the resolution of their intended size in the web. This is so they can be optimized much more harshly and still retain quality for high DPI screens and low file sizes. Using the mac app ImageOptim helped automate this process. Also a little after creating the site lazy loading was added to the HTML specifications and because everything was already being loaded using Reacts components I only had one line to add to make everything load lazy increasing load times drastically while saving data by not loading unseen images.

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Sorting

Another challenge was when I had to come up with a way to sort everyone into their own design categories. There were multiple layers to the sort that was, are they an alumni or a mentor and do they fit the selected filter option. Luckily I was able to use the titles in the JSON document to sort them.