Saturday, June 02, 2007

A year at Shift

I'm all about missing birthdays and anniversaries, it seems.

As well as being my blogs' first birthday, this week marked my first anniversary at Shift. I was thinking it was yesterday, but I just checked my diary and my first day at Shift as a permanent employee was actually 29 May 2006. So there you go. I'll know for next year.

I love working at Shift. I reckon it's the best web design company in the country - which is certainly borne out by the fact that we've been nominated for four Webbys and won two over the past four years. Not bad!

National Library Timeframes. Being a complete perfectionist when it comes to work, of course I want to work for the best. I'd dreamed of getting a job at Shift for years, and when I finally got some contract work with them about 18 months ago I was thrilled to bits. I saw it as my opportunity to show them what I could do, and to prove to them that I was worth hiring on a permanent basis. I built three sites for Shift as a contractor - National Library Timeframes, NZ History, and a re-skin of Land Transport NZ.

A year ago the stars finally lined up, and Shift offered me a permanent job. Hooray! Funnily enough by then I'd pretty much decided I was better suited to being a contractor, and had it been anyone but Shift, I think I'd have turned it down - but I'd been waiting for so long... I just couldn't refuse. I'm so glad I said yes.

It's great being part of a team. It's the one thing you miss out on when you're a contractor. Yes, you can be a temporary part of the team if you're working on a contract, but somehow it just isn't the same. And what a team! Shifties are bright, innovative, dedicated, funny, silly, highly skilled, thoughtful, determined... and just plain good to be around.

I've been taking a look at my diaries to remind myself of the sites I've built over the past year. In each case I've been responsible for building the HTML and pure CSS, and for ensuring that the site meets e-govt standards and is consistent across a wide range of browsers and platforms. Here are a few of the highlights (in chronological order):

Resultex - a small but perfectly-formed site, with a twin, INOV8 (same structure, different graphics), which is also online but still under construction.

National Library website. National Library - a huge project that seemed sometimes to be never-ending! I built all the prototype templates for the site. Liquid layout, jello mold structure, lots of tricky positioning. Probably the most complex HTML I'd ever done at that point. Sadly my original templates have all but disappeared within the restrictive cage that is Plone, but they did exist once upon a time, and they were beautiful.

Open Cloud - another fairly small but perfectly-formed site - built using Dreamweaver templates so that the client could tweak and update the site as necessary in the future.

myVictoria - Victoria University's secure web portal for students and staff. An on-site re-skinning job, which involved negotiating my way through the existing portal application, and re-skinning it according to Shift's new design.

Shift website. Shift website - something like 3 years in the making, with many Shifties working on it during that time. It's a gorgeous site, using Expression Engine as the CMS so that we can easily update it, and so we can have all kinds of nifty interrelationships between pages.

Worldwide Fund for Nature, New Zealand (WWF-NZ) - new design and build using Expression Engine - not yet online.

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography - new design and build - not yet online.

NZ Police - re-skin of existing templates, new build of homepage content.

Legal Services Agency - HTML template build for this 3-colourway site, which was then handed over to another company for incorporation into their CMS.

Buy Kiwi Made websiteBuy Kiwi Made - the creation of an entirely new website using existing templates from the MED (Ministry of Economic Development) website and re-skinning these for implementation within the MED CMS.

NZ Police 111 Emergency - a sub-site aimed at kids - not yet online.

Tourism New Zealand intranet - a re-skin of the existing HTML, plus a total rebuild of the homepage and the header and footer of all pages, in four colourways. Gorgeous!

Education New Zealand - building 30 templates for this fully interactive site, which will then be incorporated into a CMS. Probably the most complex HTML I've ever done - and I'm loving it! It's wonderfully complicated to build, with tricky little design features that I'm having so much fun thinking my way through. Not yet online.

So there you go - not a bad highlight list for a year - may there be many more! Thanks a million Shift! You rock!

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