Tag Archives: midterm reflection

Reflection of midterm and agile

For this past week’s overview, I put most of my focus working on my midterm with a web developer. Overall, the experience was interesting. I was probably a bit too shy and awkward initially since I was the one leading the conversation and was not really sure where to start the conversation. It was reassuring to go over the rest of the class’s midterms with their own developers as well. It ended up going well and, despite my initial kind of confusion, I felt reassured afterward that it was not necessarily just me feeling lost. It is common for everyone, but sometimes I just think that my natural thought process does not function in a natural web developer process, so I have to check myself before I start a task and plan things out more efficiently.

As for last week’s discussion with Laura while she was substituting, we definitely covered the agile manifesto and the sort of chain of command that takes place in different work environments that web developers are a part of. While some are more beneficial than others depending on the workload, number of participants in a group and so forth, it was interesting to see such how there are many distinct structures in the work environment taking place.

Circling back to my web developer profile for the midterm, I was not surprised at all to learn that Emmett Jacobs had come from a deep-seeded interest in computers and technology. This kind of lead me to believe that yeah, this is something that I would be too late to take an interest in and such. However, after we went over everyone else’s midterms in class I was surprised to learn that a couple our our classmates had talked to people who still didn’t consider themselves “real” web developers due to their late start.

Midterm Reflection

In class we started talking about serves and I must admit I was particularly lost. My friends often describe me as a 45-year old soccer mom, because I am not super tech savvy, so the concepts of having one host on your computer and another one somewhere else stumped me a bit. I think after asking a bunch of questions in class and searching on Google, I may now have a basic understanding. This week we also turned in the midterm, which was the only assignment so far that I have felt confident in or passionate about. Mostly, because web development is not really one of my strong suits, but writing is. I also found an AMAZING subject, Kristen, who made it easier in general. Speaking with Kristen definitely helped me understand web development more. Typically, I see things as black or white, either you have the skill, or you do not. But, Kristen helped me see that you cannot look at web development in that way, because even in her role as a full-time developer, she does not know everything and is constantly learning new things. Which was a big relief to me because I was starting to feel like a lost cause, and that I would never get it. I also really enjoyed this project because it expanded my ‘web development network’ to include more than just my professor, now I have someone else to ask to explain concepts to me. Actually, one of Kristen’s explanations about development really made sense. She described a web site as a restaurant, where the customer is the visitor, the waiter was the front end and the kitchen was the back end of the site. I think that analogy is something I’m going to always remember because everyone goes to restaurants, so it is pretty to remember and apply to web development. Also, since I had such a great time completing this project, I am excited to see the people that my peers interviewed for their projects.

Q and A with Lauren Soni, Janelia Research Campus Web Developer

Lauren Soni Fraino

Lauren Soni Fraino is a young web developer new on the scene after a career in science research. Her path to web development encompasses the movement toward powerful women, and her experiences with graduate school at Northwestern University, the National Academy of Sciences, and Janelia Research Campus have led her to encompass everything digital.

This interview and my interactions with Lauren make me appreciate web development and web developers more. It is crazy how much work goes into the successful development of a website and one that focuses not only on aesthetics, but also on the user experience. My conversations with Lauren, as a result of this midterm project, additionally, gave me hope for my future in coding and web development. She was able to express her trials with learning how to code and looking at websites in a different manner. One of the things that stayed with me after this interview was that being a “coder” does not happen overnight. It is a long journey of continuously refining your skills. But there is hope–she helped instill that hope in me. Not to mention, she admitted that she, too, scours the internet for code guidelines and examples. So, we are not alone!

The following is a Q&A interview with Lauren Soni Fraino about her experiences entering the world of web development and her experiences working in a digital world.

[Note: the interview below has been adapted for length and clarity]

You’ve had an interesting journey to becoming a web content specialist and web developer. How did you decide to move from science research to web development?

I started off as a biologist, and quickly realized that I was better fit for asking and answering questions quickly within my reach. While working at the National Academy of Science, I realized this newfound aspiration of mine, and began working closely with my team’s web designer and web developer. I had the knowledge and insight of what content would appeal to prospective users, but I wanted to build and design experiences that would meet the user’s needs. This realization is what led me to my current career path—designing and developing digital experiences for those interested in expanding upon their knowledge of basic research within the life sciences.

What advice do you have for new web developers looking to learn the ins and outs of coding in different languages? What’s your favorite language to code in?

As a designer, I thoroughly enjoy working within CSS. I enjoy being able to have content laid out in front of me, and the opportunity to creatively display that content in an engaging way. Often times, this means adding page specific—or even site-wide specific—content in front of me where I can apply styling that will engage a user’s attention and captivate them based upon how I have styled specific content. As a designer/developer, I strongly suggest continuous practice of a specific language, without becoming discouraged by immediate results, to ensure self-satisfaction throughout a project’s duration.

Where do you see the web development and user experience industry in five years? What about your own career?

I anticipate web developers and user experience professional working more and more closely together.  Nowadays, the two practices are disjointed, but in an ideal setting these types of professionals would work closely together. It is the responsibility of the user experience professional to gather and collect specific research to inform the user of a specific digital product, and for the web developer to produce this product. Without this harmonious approach, the two practices would have little contact with each other, and would result in unnecessary spending and product research.

To date, what has been the most interesting web and/or digital project that you’ve had the opportunity to work on?

The most interesting digital project I have worked on has been designing and developing a solution to help meet the needs of exposing our research institute’s advanced imaging center. Throughout this project I served as a designer, and lead digital project manager, to create a solution to pair those interested in working with Janelia Research Campus with a specific imaging tool, such as an advanced imaging microscope. This Buzzfeed-like quiz allowed us to create an engaging experience to pair users with the ideal imaging platform to meet their research needs.

What types of projects do you hope to work on in the future?

In the future, I hope to be a part of a project that focuses upon the user’s initials needs, and designing and developing a project with the user in mind. Often times, various political landscapes and organizational needs will cloud a project’s future. My ideal project would focus on a user-oriented product that would solve for a user’s needs with room for that solution to evolve as the user’s needs evolve in time.

What’s your most visited site? Do you ever get content and development ideas from it?

My most visited website it thenextweb.com. Because this website shares best practices as it relates to web design and development, I often get inspiration from this website to help shape the design and development of specific projects I am working on.

If you could be any superhero with any superpower, what would it be and why?

If I could be any superhero with any superpower, I would be Wonder Woman with her ability to use her Lasso of Truth to help inform my decision-making processes. If I had this ability, I would use [interviewees] to better inform my design-decision-making. It is a valuable practice to test assumptions on users before having developers devote time to producing a specific solution. If I were able to persuade users to provider their honest opinions of a particular product during initial user testing, I would be able to work more closely with the development team to produce a product that was more in-line with the needs of our users.

Reflection on the Midterm and Gallery Assignment


One of the things that struck me the most as I learned more about Wes – the web developer I profiled for the midterm – was just how much thought goes into designing a story or website. Reading though his explanation of a web documentary he helped create for NPR gave me a greater appreciation for how much research, planning, and thought go into designing something for the web and how much designers think about the user experience when they do their work. I feel like as regular internet users, we often take for granted or ignore all-together the design of a site until a part of that design stops working and we become frustrated.

I also found it interesting that in answering my questions, Wes touched on some of the topics we’ve covered in our class. His thoughts on open-source software reminded me of the WordPress software philosophy piece from our pre-readings, which touched on four core freedoms known as the “WordPress ‘bill of rights’” and encouraged “freedom of use” of the WordPress software. I know Internet freedom is a much-discussed topic, and it was interesting to get some insight from the perspective of a developer.

When I was looking for someone to profile, I also reached out and sent a couple of questions to Christian Wood, a web developer who was part of my intern class at NPR last semester, and he was kind enough to answer them for me. I’ve included his responses below the fold for anyone interested in another perspective.

I found it interesting that both Wes and Christian brought up another point we’ve touched on several times in class: that Google is sort of a web developer’s best friend. Wes’s piece of advice to beginner coders was to remember that even experienced web developers, like the founder of Ruby on Rails, still have to look up code, and Christian listed surfing the web to find bits of code as one of the duties of his job.

I like these themes of sharing and learning from each other that seem to be a part of the web development community. It makes sense that when you’re working with something that’s constantly changing, like code, you’d need to be open to constantly learning.


As part of my work this week, I was also able to get my gallery to work by adapting Professor Linch’s code to my project. While I had my HTML and CSS set up correctly last week, I was having serious trouble with the JavaScript, and the tutorial in class definitely helped.

The final code can be seen here: https://github.com/tatyanaberdan/homepage2

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Midterm Reflection: Startup Culture, App Development, and AngularJS

I enjoyed working on the midterm assignment and learning from an experienced web developer. This assignment forced me to go outside of my comfort zone and interview someone I’d never before met or interacted with. As a relatively shy person, this was difficult for me, but the developer I interviewed, Dave, could not have been nicer and more approachable.

I connected with Dave through one of my colleagues in the Office of Advancement at Georgetown. My colleague’s boyfriend owns a software and app startup, and my colleague mentioned that her boyfriend would definitely know a web developer that I could interview for this assignment. Several days later, my colleague connected me with Dave via email, and he very quickly answered my lengthy list of questions. This past week, I spent some time following up on a few questions with him because I was interested in learning more about his perspective on those topics (particularly, why Stack Overflow is so great).

One of the most interesting things that I took away from my conversation with Dave was his warning about the culture of overwork that often exists in startups and tech companies. He made an important point that a company might offer you three free meals a day, a place to nap, and a gym, but that is likely because they expect you to spend most of your life there. Tech giants like Google and Apple boast about the amenities available to employees on their campuses, but does this come at the expense of having a life outside of work? Even if I don’t continue with web development any further after completing this class, Dave’s advice to be wary of this type of work culture and environment will remain in the back of my mind no matter what field I pursue a career in.

Dave’s mention of the AngularJS framework also piqued my interest. I had not heard of AngularJS prior to conducting this interview, and I spent some time afterwards researching the framework and what it does. From what I am able to comprehend, AngularJS can be used in app development to make an app more readable, interactive, and dynamic. The AngularJS site sums up the framework as “HTML enhanced for web apps,” but I know there is much more to it than that. Although we won’t really touch on app development in class this semester, I’m interested in digging more into this topic and seeing how app development overlaps with more “traditional” web development. As the usage of web and mobile apps only continues to increase, I’m sure frameworks like AngularJS will become even more important.

Overall, speaking with Dave was an enlightening experience. It was reassuring to learn that, even as a seasoned web and app developer, he relies on Stack Overflow when he has questions or is unable to figure something out. I’m glad that I created an account on the site when I was struggling with last week’s jQuery slideshow assignment—I’m sure I will be consulting it frequently throughout the rest of the summer. Speaking of the jQuery slideshow, I was finally able to get mine to work!