A brief introduction
to my design methodology and philosophy

I have a passion for learning and tinkering, so I think of the web as one big exciting and inexhaustible playground. I studied Industrial Design at Georgia Tech, where I picked up universal and important skills, such as the Iterative Design Cycle and a sense of craftsmanship. I also studied foundational concepts about design, ranging from sketching to color theory to project management to usability, and thanks to our rigorous studio-based learning model, I picked up how to work efficiently and effectively under extremely tight deadlines.

I’ve always gravitated toward digital tools, so I’ve honed my skills as a web developer in the years since college. I began building basic frameworks with HTML and CSS, but I was truly hooked when I picked up my first book on programming with PHP and MySQL. My design background helps me understand the importance of principles like progressive enhancement, material honesty, and usability when conceptualizing a new website or system, and with a few years of experience under my belt, I’m now able to implement my design concepts using front-end and server-side technologies.

My favorite tools

Although Adobe Fireworks is an excellent tool for building beautiful mock-ups and even interactive prototypes, I’ve become a huge fan of designing directly in the browser using Google Chrome’s Developer Tools and Compass/SASS as an interface for CSS3. For interactive elements, I enjoy using jQuery to build robust, dynamic interfaces. For general-purpose websites, I like to use WordPress as a framework because of its versatility and extensive API. For e-commerce websites, Magento is difficult to beat due to its beautiful MVC architecture.

Resources and mentors

I learned about responsive web design from Ethan Marcotte, web standards and the semantic web from Jeffrey Zeldman, usability from Don Norman and Jakob Nielsen, and design professionalism from Mike Monteiro.

I check in on Smashing Magazine regularly to help me stay afloat on the latest trends and techniques in the web design, development, and UX communities. I also visit Luke Wroblewski‘s blog as a means to follow the ongoing dialog about UX, mobile design, and responsive design. A List Apart is a tremendous resource for learning how to develop for the web the right way.

Alan Storm helped me navigate the steep-learning curve for Magento thanks to his frequent, detailed comments on Stack Overflow as well as the tutorial series on his blog and e-book.