Writing

On occasion, I write about technology, civic tech, and design here. You can also read my work in other places, such as:

The 18F blog

Process documentation

Reflections on Being a Presidential Innovation Fellow

Reflections on Being a Presidential Innovation Fellow

about civic hacking, open gov, service.

I finished my Presidential Innovation Fellowship six months ago, and I feel like it’s taken that long to process the journey. For those of you who are considering government service, considering the Innovation Fellowship specifically, or merely curious, I offer these reflections on my year as a PIF.

Uncle Sam Wants YOU...to be a Hero Hacker

Uncle Sam Wants YOU...to be a Hero Hacker

about civic hacking, open gov, service.

Round Three of the Presidential Innovation Fellows program is now accepting applications from creative, energetic policy hackers, entrepreneurs, user experience experts, designers, frontend developers, backend developers, system architecture wizards, data wranglers, and more to serve their tours of duty to radically improve the delivery of government digital services.

Why should you (yes, YOU) take time out of your busy schedule to apply (deadline: April 7)? Three important reasons:

Drag-and-drop In-Browser Dev Tools Review

Drag-and-drop In-Browser Dev Tools Review

about design, front-end development, tools.

Wouldn’t it be great if we designers/developers could just move bits of website around visually and get beautiful, well-structured code to work with out the other end? The stuff of dreams! If this is your dream, then this might be your year! In service of The Future, I tested (or attempted to test) four of the current front-runners: Webflow, Divshot, Froont, and Jetstrap. Read on for a summary and full reviews.

Hacking the Smithsonian

Hacking the Smithsonian

about civic hacking, Smithsonian, open gov.

I’ve gone to my first hackathon! Super nerdy! I thought they only wanted coders at these sorts of things, but friends said that designers and UX folks are welcome, too. So off I went…and our team won!

Using Jekyll and GitHub, Tips for Designers

Using Jekyll and GitHub, Tips for Designers

about Jekyll, GitHub, Markdown, Liquid.

“But why,” I ask myself, “why should I use systems built by very smart people to suit a wide variety of website needs when I can spend time and energy making my own from scratch?” Why indeed.

NIHSA 2.0 Almost There!

NIHSA 2.0 Almost There!

about Wordpress, design.

Take a look a the latest – we’re getting there! It was quite an adventure, working on making more robust Wordpress functionality than I’ve needed to in the past.

NIHSA 2.0 Wireframes

NIHSA 2.0 Wireframes

about UX, wireframes.

As explained in my previous post, I’m working on the Next Generation of the NIH Sailing Association (NIHSA) website. Here are my initial 2.0 wireframes for the majority of the layouts.

NIHSA Website 2.0

NIHSA Website 2.0

about design, UX, process.

Way back in the winter of 2011-2012, I did a fast redesign of the NIH Sailing Association (NIHSA) website. It went from this to something much better, but still not there, in a weekend, more or less, to move it from “fairly difficult to use” to “somewhat functional” in time for spring online registration for the 2012 sailing season.

Happy holidays at approximately 8km/sec

Happy holidays at approximately 8km/sec

about illustration, science.

Now that the holidays are over, I’d like to share the illustration I did for our office annual holiday email – I’m very pleased with it! I should mention I work in international affairs for a satellite office. I was going for ‘holidays’ without a specific religion or world region focus. Also tried to come up with something not too overdone. And so we have: bird’s-eye view of an abstract world with a stylized aurora!

More Data, More Problems

More Data, More Problems

about usability, data, gov.

The potential of ‘Big Data’ as a game-changer in practically every field is today’s online golden goose. “If only,” the articles cry, “we had enough data scientists to reap in the golden eggs!”