About

Hello.

My name is Heather McCarron, and I specialize in
UX & UI Design and Web Development

What I Can Do for You

I enjoy creating scalable websites and applications that use clean designs. However, due to budget or technology constraints, building something shiny and new from scratch is not always a reality. I am experienced with working on older code bases as well and am able to develop within others’ environments seamlessly – if you need an addition to a Frankenstein, I can likely help. I have experience creating user stories, task flow diagrams, wireframes, etc. for planning and designing the experience and layouts of sites and applications. I’ve worked with a number of different content management systems – built on both PHP and .NET frameworks and with several different MVVM frameworks. Probably my best skill is the ability to learn new things quickly and gain a good understanding of them. There are many different frameworks out there, but they do have similarities, and I am always willing to learn something new.


A Little About Me

Present

I’ve currently been working in the field of web development for 12 years. My most recent position has been in management as the Director of Digital Solutions at Digital Intersection, a smaller digital marketing agency located in St. Louis. In this role, I have been responsible for the management and scheduling of web/application development projects, performing code reviews and mentoring other developers, managing external development resources, meeting with clients, and jumping back into coding to help with support items and various development projects. I was also responsible for the IIS setup/configuration of websites we hosted for clients, DNS record administration for sites whose domains we managed, procuring and installing SSL certificates, and working with databases.

Areas of Experience

Although I’ve worked in most of the areas of web development, my passion is with UX and UI design and front end development. I love problem solving and feel that these areas really challenge you to step out of your world to try to see things through the eyes of users in order to solve a problem or reach a goal. It has also been my experience that the more effort and focus that you put into UX and UI design through developing business requirements, user stories, task flow diagrams, etc., the smoother the development process tends to go. By running these past the clients, I feel that everyone can ensure that all parties are on the same page regarding direction and have a better understanding of the project as a whole.

I prefer the agile methodology of development as I feel it has a great amount of flexibility. By breaking a project down into sprints and having client reviews, you can catch issues a lot earlier and make sure that what is being delivered is what they are expecting instead of finding out right after the project launches. It also gives more opportunity for a project to evolve and items that may not have been thought about before when requirements were first developed to come to light. I feel that it also lends well to modular development which tends to be more scalable in the long run when future feature requests or site additions are needing to be done.

Past

Prior to Digital Intersection, I worked as a Sr. Front End Developer for Second Street, the producer of white label contesting software that was sold to our clients for use (Software as a Service (SaaS)). We worked on scrum teams and after experimenting on lengths of sprints, settled on a two week cycle for releases. The old software platform was being rewritten using the Ember.js framework while the current code was updated with patches until it was ready to be retired. I worked mainly with the Deal sites and Sports Contests – creating new skins and front ends.

I came to Second Street right before CPI Corp shut its doors. You may know them best through one of their brands: Sears Portrait Studios. I remember being dragged to one of these studios as a child and forced to smile. Needless to say, most of my photos with the family can best be described as “forced and awkward,” but I digress. I started out as a Web Developer for CPI and after a promotion, became Sr. Manager of Digital Marketing. One of my main roles was to oversee the design and development of the various brand websites and the HTML email campaigns. Before coming to CPI, I had specialized in HTML email design and coding at Build-A-Bear Workshop. I coded the various emails using best practices, setting up variable fields for personalization and test launching through the Responsys platform.

I also have a fairly extensive background in print design and pre-press, as my first jobs out of college were in graphic design and prepress (not really too many jobs out there yet for “front end developers,” we were graphic designers that did web stuff). My experience working on both digital and print projects from start to finish and my background in marketing have given me good insight into the production process as a whole and help me better understand how to integrate both mediums in campaigns. These skills have also helped me communicate with the Marketing and IT departments on projects, and I often act as a liaison/translator between the two.

College Days

old Saluki mascot
The Saluki mascot I knew & loved – mixed feelings about the new one.

I am a Saluki through and through. I received my BFA with a Communication Design specialization and minors in Art History and Journalism from Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC) in 2004. While working as a graphic design/pre-press specialist full time at Henry Printing, I also pursued a graduate degree and received my MBA from SIUC in 2007. During that time, I won an Outstanding Design Award from Liquid Library’s 2004 Design Competition for a brochure I created for one of our banking clients, along with the award for Most Outstanding Woman Graduating in the MBA Program at SIUC.

In September of 2007, I was ready for the challenge of a larger market and moved to Saint Louis for a new position setting up a Creative Department and providing graphic design services for Commercial Letter and its clients. While there, I also had the opportunity to start an internship program and mentor upper-level/recently graduated student designers.

Future

I love the challenge of solving problems and enjoy learning new things and sharing them with others who are starting out in the field. I literally live design and technology, am a typography nerd, and am looking forward to learning new things as the web development field changes and evolves in the future. Who knows where it will be in another 10 years?


Skillset

Software Skills

Languages Proficient in HTML5, CSS3, SASS, Less, Javascript, jQuery, PHP, JSON, XML; Some experience with SQL, C# w/ Razor Script and .NET MVC
JS Frameworks Angular.js, Knockout.js, Ember.js, some experience testing w/ Jasmine.js
Design/Layout Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat Pro, Flash (Adobe Creative Cloud), Fireworks (2006), Balsamiq, QuarkXPress
CMS WordPress, Magento, Umbraco, Drupal
IDEs & Code Editors WebStorm, Visual Studio, Coda
Version Control Git, TFS/Visual Studio Online, Subversion (typically use SourceTree as GUI for working w/ Git repositories), BitBucket, Springloops
Package Managers & Task Runners Homebrew, Bower, Grunt, Gulp, Compass
APIs/SDKs Experience working with RESTful APIs & web services, Facebook, Google Maps, YouTube, some experience with Twitter and PayPal
Email Service Providers Responsys, ExactTarget, YesMail, iContact, Benchmark, Constant Contacts, and Sharp Spring
Office Apps Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access), Apple Productivity Apps (Pages, Numbers, Keynote), Google Docs
CRM & Project Management Salesforce, Marketo, Teamwork, Basecamp

Deep Dive & Fun Facts

More into that which is Heather

If you have made it down this far without bouncing, then you are either interested in learning more about me, or you are exceptionally bored. If it was the former, then welcome and enjoy. If it was the latter/bored answer, hopefully you will find this mildly entertaining.

More Fun Facts

  • I have always enjoyed drawing from a young age and was naturally good at it. It wasn’t until senior year of high school that I entertained the thought of making a career out of it.
  • I originally studied agriculture, biology, and math very extensively as at one time I wanted to be a large animal veterinarian.
  • I grew up on a farm with horses and other farm animals.
  • I’m very competitive in volleyball. Still. I’ve played since high school, participated in the college club team at SIUC, and currently play both indoor and sand leagues here in St. Louis. Do not let my shorter stature of 5’4″ fool you. I can spike that ball quite well.
  • I like black and white cats. I own two of these gloriously lovely tuxedo kitties. Please read about Jellicle cats. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then also look up T.S. Elliot and his book Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. He was into black and white cats as well.
  • I used to regularly drive a horse carriage downtown while working full time so I could still work with horses. I don’t work the street as much anymore, but still get called upon to drive during the Winter Wonderland light display at Tilles Park and to go down to New Orleans where we are with the horses in the Krewe of Orpheus Lundi Gras parade.