Hiring: Student Web Intake position

The Web Assistant will report to the Web Content Administrator and will be the ‘front line’ contact for incoming Web requests through email and phone calls.

This person will take the initial request, respond and gather any additional information, complete the request (if small) or elevate it to a staff member when additional assistance is needed or is a larger request.

The position does require some existing knowledge of how the web works, basic HTML and familiarity with web-based content management systems.

The ideal candidate will have:

  • Good written and phone abilities
  • A basic understanding of HTML
  • A basic understanding of web usability
  • Comfortable editing pages in a web-based content management system
  • Experience resizing and optimizing images for the web
  • The ability to detect patterns of requests to create training material and document common responses to frequently asked questions
  • The ability to follow verbal and written directions with an eye for attention to detail

More about the position:

This is a part-time position, requiring 15-20 hours a week in the Marketing and Communications office.

The volume of requests varies per day, the average is 30-40 with most taking only a few minutes to complete.

The Web Assistant’s role in a request:

A request will come into the system and depending on the detail of the request:

You may need to follow up by email or by phone with additional questions

Once all information is available:

  • Determine which page(s) need editing.
  • Determine how these pages get edited (there may be multiple systems involved), which may require asking some questions internally about the page setup.
  • Ensure the primary contact is looped in on all changes.
  • Facilitate necessary changes (May take a few minutes to a few hours)
  • Gathering follow up questions/answers
  • After completion, follow up to let the requestor know the change has been completed.
  • While completing requests it will also be required to document common responses for consistency and to speed up future requests. It will also be required to work closely with the Web Communications team.

How to apply

If this sounds like you, email your resume and a cover letter to web@wayne.edu with the subject “Interested in the Web Assistant position”.

Hiring: Full Time Senior Web Graphic Designer

We’re looking to fill an existing position for a full-time Web Designer to join our innovative team.

About Web Communications

We handle every aspect of a website project, from the needs analysis, user research, architecture, design, content migration/editing, programming, post-launch analysis and A/B testing. To accomplish this we work like a mini agency within the university.

This position is integral to crafting and ensuring the university identity is integrated into every piece of communication we put out. In addition to full websites, our team is responsible for the digital signage around campus (currently 77 signs and growing), the official social media presence and a number of HTML templates. This position touches all digital mediums and our work is constantly evolving with multiple opportunities for growth, you will see your work published and interacted with on a daily basis.

About Wayne State

Wayne State offers a competitive benefits package that includes, health, dental, paid leave and more. In addition to great benefits, working for Wayne State’s Marketing and Communications team brings you right into the heart of midtown. We are conveniently located at Cass and Palmer and in walking distance of the DIA, the Detroit Historical Museum and some of the top restaurants in the Detroit. In mid-2017, you’ll be steps away from a Q-Rail station that will take you to the newly developed The District Detroit.

Senior Graphic Designer

  • Solid understanding of working with-and designing for-web applications.
  • An understanding of responsive Web design and designing for mobile first.
  • Excellent visual design skills with sensitivity to user-system interaction .
  • Experience working on large-scale higher education websites and/or creating and maintaining corporate design patterns.
  • BS/MS in Human-Computer Interaction, Interaction Design, or a Visual Arts subject; strong technical understanding a plus.
  • Minimum of 4+ years’ experience designing web-based products for a consumer-oriented website.
  • Ability to act as a leader in communicating conceptual ideas and design rationales, all within a user-centered design process.
  • Able to work and communicate effectively in a cross-functional product development team, and present ideas and designs effectively.
  • Self-motivated to prioritize and manage workload, and meet critical project milestones and deadlines.
  • Proficiency in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for rapid prototyping.
  • An understanding of the benefits, limitations and customization of a CSS framework (Foundation, Bootstrap, etc).
  • Up-to-date with the latest Web trends, techniques, and technologies.
  • Experience working in an Agile/Scrum development process.
  • Maintain an overall university brand across various mediums including digital signage.

How to apply

All applications must go through the university jobs website, please do not contact me directly. We encourage you to submit links to live websites, portfolios and to submit a cover letter that explains . why you feel you’re right for the position.

Senior Graphic Designer, posting #042093

Hiring: Frontend Developer

An exciting opportunity for the university, the School of Medicine, the Web Department and (maybe) you! As the School of Medicine Web team expands we are in need of a full-time frontend developer.

Some background

Our department sits in the central Marketing office and is responsible for most all public facing websites on campus over the last eleven years. Our sites are built using an in-house content management system, and others, on the LAMP stack while using Foundation for Sites on the frontend. Most all School of Medicine websites are currently also built on these tools with the exception of the homepage, which is WordPress based.

School of Medicine

We care a lot about our tooling, processes and ensuring developer success. We adhere to code guidelines and always looking to standardize common code to allow us to focus on the unique areas that matter. This position is unique as the School of Medicine website is in transition. The website is newly launched in WordPress on Bootstrap with a number of legacy sites built without a frontend framework. The team is being integrated into the central web team and transitioning to standard university tools and frontend framework.

Primary responsibilities

  • Experience collaborating throughout the entire project cycle, from research, strategy, information architecture, visual design, front-end development and maintenance.
  • A solid grasp of modern front-end web development, such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript and their associated build components.
  • Experience using a front-end web framework such as Foundation or Bootstrap.
  • An understanding of back-end web development environments, including HTTP, web servers, load balancers, the interpretation layer, databases and associated web frameworks.
  • Considerable skill in writing web applications that retrieve and update information in relational web centric databases (using WordPress or Laravel).
  • The ability to clearly communicate to project stakeholders and process feedback internally and externally.
  • The ability to troubleshoot website layout and web application performance issues and resolve issues independently or direct issues to the responsible party.
  • Provide direct supervision to internal web site interns and guidance to unit web site content authors.
  • Ability to work with accuracy and attention to detail to meet deadlines.
  • Ability to understand and execute oral and written instructions, policies, and procedures.
  • Considerable project management skills, including ability to provide time estimates and prepare accurate records and reports.
  • Proficiency in the use of web applications programming languages, tools, and/or methodologies for developing integrated web applications typically acquired through formal education or equivalent experience in web application development.
  • Demonstrated ability in analyzing customer requirements and developing basic information systems solutions typically acquired through one to two years of directly related experience in web application development and support.
  • The ability to translate functional requirements into cross-browser WCAG 2.0 compliant websites.
  • Strong understanding of web technologies and related user device capabilities required to access the web.
  • Understanding of test driven development.

How to apply

Apply at jobs.wayne.edu. Posting #042095

Welcome Jenny Ingles – Our new full-time front-end developer

Our team has changed shape a bit in the last year, especially in the role of front-end development. The primary role of a front-end developer is to “create the best possible user experience for features on desktop and mobile Web.” For us, that means translating the information architecture, design and content to HTML, CSS and Javascript to bring it to life. Because there is no medium like the Web this is a pretty unique task and always a moving target.

In previous years we had three full stack developers who were responsible for the entire programming of a site from the database data binding to the performance and accessibility of the user experience. It became pretty clear last year that doing everything was spreading them thin and we weren’t able to accomplish the fine grain optimization we were used to. So we decided to split the developers into front-end and full stack roles. The full stack developers still had knowledge of the front-end but their primary focus was university tools and optimizing the data in and out of our API. The front-end roles can spend their time optimizing every pixel that the end user interacts with.

Welcome Jenny Ingles

After months of searching we have found Jenny Ingles, our new front-end developer. Jenny comes to us from St. Louis and has extensive background working with HTML, SASS, Javascript, and Illustration. She has brought a fresh eye to how we structure our code, approach problems, and testing. Since she has started to get involved with projects our code has not been more semantic, page weight has decreased, and the user experience is the quickest yet.

It has taken me a few months to make this announcement on our blog and in the meantime you have probably been browsing her work and not even realizing it. Recently she worked on the front-end of the following projects:

Pivotal Moments

pivotalmoments

For her first project, a website that was already architected and designed, she was thrown in with a pretty PSD and told to make it work. Not only did she break it down technically but also worked very closely with the client at every step to educate on expectations, opportunities that the Web as a medium brings, and responsive implications. What came out of all that was an implementation that was not only within budget but also looks and performs beautifully. Browse around the Pivotal Moments website and see for yourself.

College of Fine, Performing and Communications Arts

cfpca

Jenny got her feet wet with our workflow, process, and structure using our Yeoman Foundation 5 site generator (not public yet). With this she was able to add some new features to the site. The homepage of the College of Fine, Performing and Communications Arts features some uniquely positioned areas with semantic HTML, parallax scrolling and CSS 3. 

The Baroudeur

baroudeur

In the same line with the CFPCA website, Jenny built upon her knowledge to not only include parallax scrolling but also responsive background video. Although the background video didn’t make it into the first launch of the website, we hope to find a video in the future that meets everyone’s needs.

Student Service Center wait times

studentservice

In addition to full scale website builds, Jenny also has been working on the little big details that make the user experience a little more enjoyable. For the Student Service Center she added visual elements to highlight the important information at a glance. In addition, the tabbed view for hours brings the relevant information into initial view and secondary information a click away without scrolling or a refresh. Below that, the frequently asked questions are now within an accordion so they are easy to scan and quick to jump between. An improvement that didn’t revolutionize the page, but made a useful page more of a joy to use.

Art & Art History (upcoming)

art

Although it isn’t live yet (hopefully soon and I will update this post when it does launch): the Art & Art History department website. Another soup to nuts website that Jenny was involved with that really shows off the attention to detail. This site was build on our Yeoman site generator (which means it is a standard starting point for all future sites) and lazy loads hidden images/content, changes design naturally at different breakpoints, and utilizes icon fonts as much as possible. It also features something I have yet to talk about, progressive enhanced page loading with YouTube’s SPF JS. This is something we have been playing around with for a bit and this site shows off how we have nicely adapted it to our Web experience. We can’t wait to show you the final website, which should be available shortly at http://art.wayne.edu/.

Just a few short weeks

This is just a snapshot of what we’ve done in the last few weeks. We don’t believe we’d be where we’re at without Jenny. Let’s give her a warm welcome! We can’t wait to see what she’s able to accomplish in the next few months.

We’re Hiring: Full Time Front-End Web Developer

We are hiring! The Web Communications office is looking for an in house Web Developer. It’s not often we put a call out for new staff but we are filling a much needed void in our team. Our department started eleven years ago with little staff and resources, we have since grown to a staff of eleven and take on new responsibilities every day. Almost everyone in the department started as a student and worked their way up (myself included). It’s not often we get the opportunity to hire from the outside, we’re looking for a talented individual to help level up the Web.

Group Work

The job

We are looking for someone with front-end development experience producing responsive and standards compliant HTML5 + CSS2/3 websites. Have experience with Javascript without the reliance on a specific library like jQuery. Proficient in using the latest front-end build tools such as Yeoman, Sass, GIT, Zurb Foundation, Gulp, Vagrant, etc. An understanding of PHP, MySQL and other back end programming languages isn’t required but is preferred.

With three developers the projects are distributed evenly so everyone has the opportunity to work on something new. We are a collaborative environment and this position has the opportunity to affect the direction of all future Web projects. If you have read our blog in the past you will know we push out a lot of sites, about one per week. All sites are created from the ground up, completely by hand, and completely responsively. The Web is a craft and we make sure we build all the tools needed to do it as streamlined as possible. This position has the opportunity to build and maintain these tools that impact the entire institution, not to mention work with an amazing team.

Primary Web property responsibilities

Environment

  • LAMP
  • Zurb Foundation
  • Sass
  • Yeoman
  • Gulp/Grunt
  • GIT
  • Vagrant

Official duties

  • Experience collaborating throughout the entire project cycle, from research, strategy, information architecture, visual design, front-end development and maintenance.
  • A solid grasp of modern front-end Web development, such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript and their associated build components.
  • A solid grasp of back-end Web development environments, including HTTP, Web servers, load balancers, the interpretation layer, databases and associated Web frameworks.
  • Considerable skill in writing web applications that retrieve and update information in relational Web centric databases.
  • The ability to clearly communicate to project stakeholders and process feedback internally and externally.
  • The ability to troubleshoot website layout and Web application performance issues and resolve issues independently or direct issues to the responsible party.
  • Provide direct supervision to internal Web site interns and guidance to unit Web site content authors.
  • Ability to work with accuracy and attention to detail to meet deadlines.
  • Ability to understand and execute oral and written instructions, policies, and procedures.
  • Considerable project management skills, including ability to provide time estimates and prepare accurate records and reports.
  • Proficiency in the use of Web applications programming languages, tools, and/or methodologies for developing integrated Web applications typically acquired through formal education or equivalent experience in Web application development.
  • Demonstrated ability in analyzing customer requirements and developing basic information systems solutions typically acquired through one to two years of directly related experience in Web application development and support.
  • The ability to translate functional requirements into cross-browser Web applications.
  • Strong understanding of Web technologies and related user device capabilities required to access the Web.
  • Strong understanding of test driven development.

Qualifications

  • Have worked with creating templates for a content management system.
  • Have experience with device and browser testing.
  • Working knowledge in Photoshop.
  • Enable and execute A/B tests to measure different design approaches.
  • Can code HTML Email templates with understanding of limitations, and standard practices.
  • An eye for detail and great communication skills, for example, multi-tasking in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.
  • Effectively communicate with Project Managers, Designs, Clients and other Developers.
  • Have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and professional growth.
  • Create tools and resources to communicate with our rapidly expanding developer community.
  • Stay current with trends and best practices.

How to Apply

Please do not send resumes directly to me. Apply at jobs.wayne.edu. Posting #040365

Welcome Hassan Bazzi! Our new full-time Web Developer

Hassan BazziAfter an extensive search we are proud to announce Hassan Bazzi as our newest full-time Web Developer! Hassan comes to us from a local agency where he did end-to-end client website development. In addition to his agency work he also did freelance work on the side. His work experience has ranged from simple mobile projects to complete eCommerce systems with massive amounts of traffic.

The right fit

Finding the best fit for a position is hard, the requirements for every position are shifting every day as the Web advances and more is being demanded. Our students expect the university to stay on top of technologies, services, and more, to give them the best experience possible. The only way to achieve this is to find someone hungry to learn and make change.

Hassan personifies the drive to get things done and absorb every bit of knowledge possible in the process. In the fast-paced environment we work in every one of us has dozens of competing priorities, and short and long term initiatives that can impact individual students every day and their success long term.

Connect

I have a feeling you’ll be seeing the impact Hassan is making pretty quickly. Follow him at @habazzi and on this blog.

We’re Hiring: Full Time Web Developer

We are hiring! The Web Communications office is looking for an in house Web Developer. It’s not often we put a call out for new staff but with Shaun’s recent leave we are in need. Our department started seven years ago with little staff and resources, we have since grown to a staff of eleven and take on new responsibilities every day. Almost everyone in the department started as a student and worked their way up (myself included). It’s not often we get the opportunity to hire from the outside.

The job

We take the Web seriously. The position at hand is responsible for a third of all the code that gets published to the public Web server. This ranges from core back-end API functionality to front-end HTML, Javascript and accessibility. With three developers the projects are distributed evenly so everyone has the opportunity to work on something new. We are a collaborative environment and this position has the opportunity to affect the direction of all future Web projects. If you have read our blog in the past you will know we push out a lot of sites, about one per week. All sites are created from the ground up, completely by hand, and now completely responsively. The Web is a craft and we make sure we build all the tools needed to do it as streamlined as possible. This position has the opportunity to build and maintain these tools that impact the entire institution, not to mention work with an amazing team.

Primary Web property responsibilities

Environment

  • LAMP
  • PHP Simpl Framework
  • jQuery
  • Load balanced dev/prod environments
  • 450+ websites using centralized tools
  • SVN

Official duties

  • Translate functional requirements into Web applications
  • Centralize and maintain existing code bases
  • Prepare test plans for Web Applications
  • Design database schemas and develop database scripts in SQL
  • Serve as primary resource for units university-wide regarding the code and appearance of unit Web pages. Administer and provide training in content management tools, control access, review sites for adherence and conformity to code and design standards and resolve related problems.
  • Serve as liaison with IT personnel campus-wide to identify and resolve Web page related problems. Work with clients, designers and vendors to ensure established standards and expectations are met.
  • Develop and implement mechanisms and processes designed to evaluate the effectiveness of university electronic communications. Provide analysis of collected data and submit reports and recommendations as requested.

Qualifications

  • HTML + CSS: Mastery of responsive cross browser CSS and HTML. Extra points for RESS.
  • JavaScript: Proven understanding of Javascript fundamentals, plus experience working with AJAX
  • PHP + MySQL: Experience building data-driven web applications using PHP and MySQL. Solid understanding of relational databases required.
  • Experience working with Web Services and associated languages: REST, XML, JSON, etc.
  • Good knowledge of web standards and trends
  • Ability to learn and thirst for knowledge
  • Test/Behavior Driven Development experience is a definite plus
  • Graduation from an accredited college or university or an equivalent combination of education and/or experience. Major concentration in computer science preferred.
  • Excellent writing, editing and communication skills.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with units university wide.

How to Apply

Please do not send resumes directly to me. Apply at jobs.wayne.edu. Posting #039042

Farewell Shaun Pezeshki

The time has come to say good-bye to one of our amazing team members. Shaun Pezeshki, one of our Web developers, is leaving to go do great things in Washington DC. It’s never easy to say good-bye, especially to someone who has been with us for five years and has impacted the university as much as he has.

I’m a huge advocate of being a teaching department, and Shaun is a shining example of that. He started as a student assistant in his Junior year and worked his way to a full time role. During his time in the department he has done almost every job we could throw at him, from being the “Web janitor” and cleaning up massive amounts of old code to pushing the limits of our CMS, mobile and digital signage templates. He has truly explored every aspect of being a Web professional and I hope we have prepared him well for his next adventure. I can also confidently say that Shaun has earn every bit of responsibility and respect that he has. He is going to be truly missed.

A snapshot of Shaun’s contributions

It would take days to talk about everything Shaun impacted but here are a few of his most recent projects that he was the main developer on:

What does this mean for the university?

It means that we’ll be looking for a new full-time Web developer to join our team soon. The posting should be up in the next week or so, stay tuned.

Reducing physical distractions in an open workspace

I often post about website redesigns and how their new structure and layout make for an improved user experience. Today I’m going to give some insights in to a redesign of the physical Web department workspace and how it makes for a more productive staff experience.

Old Web Communications “pit”

The Web Communications area is located in an open space in the middle of the Marketing Department. The location has its advantages as we are a short walking distance to anyone in marketing. But that also means anyone else in the office is walking past us every time they visit someone else. There are also four entrances/exists that create traffic right through the middle of our space. The space is pictured above, shame on me for not taking more “before” shots of the office.

A lot of articles the last few years have praised the “open office space” as the holy grail for collaboration and serendipitous interactions. In theory it may be that it allows for that interaction, but if you’ve ever worked in one you know differently. We are huge fans of 37 Signals, a software development firm out of Chicago, for various reasons. We work under a lot of the same constraints, digital environment, write our own products, have clients (they use to), do customer support, training, simple approach to solutions, and everyone has their specialty. The open office space sounded like it was the perfect environment, but we have found we have the same issues as 37 Signals: distractions are the devil to productivity.

If you have been to our space before you know we typically work in the dark (you might not actually recognize it with the lights on, below) and everyone has headphones on. That does a lot to help focus but there is one thing that is out of our control, the constant flow of traffic past desks and occasional comments that break up the work day.

The two desks right in the middle and corner of the “T” that our space creates were being distracted the most. We set out to reduce the number of distractions while still living in the constraints of our space. We don’t have the luxury of moving to a new space like 37 Signals but were able to make some tweaks.

New office setup

 

What we did and the impact

A few weeks ago I moved my office and now sit in a space separate with Rommel, our project manager. This allows us to talk in isolation without distracting everyone else in the pit. It also forces Rommel to use digital communications to get quick answers to things instead of  walking over to someones desk and distracting them. When someone really needs to concentrate these digital communications are the easier to turn off.

My old office was turned in to a Web conference room but we quickly realize it didn’t get used much as we thought, marketing already has a conference room with a projector that we have access to. We decided to move Jenn, owner of one of the high traffic corner desks, in to a single office since she needs to be able to isolate herself to write and talk to clients on the phone. So far that has worked great, she has been able to concentrate and it has reduced the noise from phone calls in the open Web area a lot.

Chris, was also at a corner desk with a lot of traffic. He needs to be able to get in to flow and solve complex problems and this wasn’t the best spot for him. We ended up moving him back toward the other developers and shifting his desk so his peripheral vision wasn’t a distraction.

Lastly, because there is a hall way in the middle of our space we have separated the office in half, designers/content editors on one side and developers on the other. This allows the developers to collaborate easily without leaving their chairs, and we wanted do the same for the designers. We moved the designers so they are right next to each other and can talk and see each others screens without having to get up.

But isn’t the conference table in the middle distracting? Yes, yes it is. But we have no where else to put it at the moment and the staff isn’t shy about telling people they are too loud and to move to the marketing conference room down the hall.

Did it work?

So far so good. In the past few weeks the Web staff have reported that their ability to concentrate has gone up. Because those two corner desks have been replaced by open space the foot traffic has not had a reason to stop and comment on their way through our space.

Productivity is a moving target, everyone has their own methods and motivations to get in to flow. Tailoring our space to encourage this helps everyone, our staff, our clients and the university.

Continue reading “Reducing physical distractions in an open workspace”

Welcome Daniel Greco, Web Communications’ new graphic designer

The last few months we have been looking for a Web graphic designer to fill the spot that our previous graphic designer left. We believe we have found someone who will not only fill the position but bring a unique eye to our future designs.

Welcome Daniel Greco!

Daniel Greco comes to us from Michigan State University and The Awesome Mitten. His background is in graphic design and photography. Daniel’s work at MSU has positioned him to understand how to juggle many audiences within a single identity manual. His work outside the university setting has allowed him to excel at focusing on solving interesting problems through design. He has also been involved with creating mobile experiences that interact with current and prospective higher education students.

We think Daniel is going to make a great addition to the Web Communications department and the university as a whole.

Advancing the Web

Daniel will be working with Rolaine and the other graphic designers in Marketing to continue to evolve the university identity and bring it to life on the Web. Over the next few weeks you will start to see more of his work and more than likely work with him in person. He also will be focusing on bringing our mobile experience in to its second revision with a focus on student recruitment.

Let’s give Daniel a Wayne State welcome!