in bringing compelling stories to life. I'm Zack and my passion is helping you (whether you're a blogger, company, or even St. Nick himself) stand proud when sharing your story on top of the world's greatest soapbox: the Webiverse.
Sidekick For: Centreville UMC Upward Sports
Site Coordinates: CUMCUpward.com
Mission: After speaking with league leadership and the families using the previous iteration of the website, we established some key needs for the redesign: better information hierarchy, more seamless navigation, and an interface that reflected CUMC Upward's first-class volunteers.
Timeline: September 2013 - November 2013
Superpowers Used: HTML5, CSS3, PHP, Responsive Design, Zurb Foundation, WordPress Theme Development
Just like anyone would do in a dining hall, I ran with these thoughts and the first design concept found itself on a napkin (see picture).
The User: Upward Parent
Reason for Visiting: View pictures and easily find child's game & practice schedule
BEA Festival of Media Arts, Interactive Multimedia Competition (Solo Catgegory), 2014
"Zack Ayers has designed, implemented, and continues to enhance our CUMC Upward league website. His website has replaced one that we paid a professional to develop and is much more aesthetically pleasing while also providing more information and functional capability than our previous website.
All of us, league administration, church staff and league parents have been very impressed with the quality of the site and how easy it is to navigate and submit pictures and video to share with others in the league.
Zack takes a lot of pride in his work product and is always open and available to discuss new and different ways his website can be used to promote the league and provide the needed information to all who use it. His creativity and design has taken our program to a new level of excellence."
- David Peterson, Co-Director of CUMC Upward Sports
Sidekick For: Seth Ennis Music
Site Coordinates: SethEnnis.com
Mission: One of my longtime friends approached me in April about doing a website to promote his music. Seth, an up and coming country artist, needed a site that could easily showcase his music for recording studios and his growing fan base.
Timeline: April 2013 - May 2013
Superpowers Used: HTML5, CSS3, PHP, WordPress Theme Customization
This has been one of my favorite websites I've worked on to date. I've known Seth since we were nine years old - so naturally, working with a friend made this piece a ton of fun. My goal was to showcase Seth's music in a unique way while still holding the simplicity of a one-page design (a feature that was on his "must" list). As Seth heads off to Nashville to continue pursuing a career in music, I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to work on his website.
The User: Recording Studios and Fans
Reason for Visiting: Check out Seth's music and tour dates
Sidekick For: Eric Wagner, Author, Cyclist, & All-Around Cool Dude
Site Coordinates: LeavingItOntheRoad.com
Mission: Eric had been using TypePad as his blogging platform, but just wasn't satisfied with the look and structure of his blog. He had already completed his cross-country bike trip, so he didn't want the emphasis of the site to be so focused on the bike ride itself. Eric expressed a desire to keep his readers updated on the workings of his book project and some other topics of mutual interest (nutrition, wellness, training). Eric wanted all of this to be accomplished in a clean, simple design.
Superpowers Used: HTML5, CSS3, PHP, Responsive Design, Twitter Bootstrap, WordPress Child-Theming
Timeline: January 19, 2014 - January 31, 2014
Eric contacted me expressing interest in a blog redesign on January 19, 2014 and we brainstormed some ideas on January 20th. With the great content he had provided and using WP-Bootstrap as a parent theme, I was able to provide Eric a rapid turnaround.
The User: Cyclists and anyone interested in nutrition & wellness
Reason for Visiting: Learn more about Eric's ride across America and follow his blog
"I wish there was more space to write about Zack Ayers' merits when it comes to web design. He took my average looking blog and turned it into a streamlined, gorgeous little corner of the web that I get to call my own.
I love my new blog so much it is now my home page so that I can look at it every day. If you want to redesign your blog, or are looking to create a unique and original one for the first time, I highly recommend hiring Zack Ayers for his talents."
- Eric Wagner, Author of Leaving It On the Road
Sidekick For: SMAD 404 (Advanced Interactive Design)
Site Coordinates: zackayers.com/smad404/bicycle
Mission: Create website using content provided by a journalism class from Fall 2013, displaying the content in an interesting and aesthetically pleasing way.
Superpowers Used: HTML5, CSS3, PHP, MySQL, Zurb Foundation
Timeline: April 2014
Such is the life of a busy college student (i.e, balancing classes, two on-campus jobs, preparations for job applications, and getting set to graduation). My mettle was put to the test while working under a tight deadline, but I've found some of my most creative moments come when thinking on the fly. Such was the case with the Harrisonburg Bicycle Project.
Our SMAD 404 class created a MySQL database and PHP files to integrate in our sites. It was up to us to determine how this form would fit in with our content. Using Zurb Foundation as a front-end framework, I used some server-side includes to help my workflow and organization of content. What a fun project that I can look back on with a sense of pride and accomplishment!
The User: Cyclists local to the Harrisonburg area
Reason for Visiting: An interest in the interviewees stories and searching for local biking trails
Sidekick For: Erica Cavanagh, Writer & Photographer
Site Coordinates: EricaCavanagh.com
Mission: Author websites are a necessity in the publishing world. Erica desired a platform for her creative work to serve as a resource for anyone interested in her writing or subjects of mutual interest: West Africa, food, agriculture, travel, women & children's health, and well being.
Superpowers Used: HTML5, CSS3, PHP, Responsive Design, Twitter Bootstrap, WordPress Theme Development
Timeline: November 2013 - December 2013
What doesn't make a good story? Just like Santa Claus, every story has a little bit of magic behind it. The fun part for us storytellers is bringing that magic to life for others around us - and there aren't too many folks out there better at doing this than Erica Cavanagh. A former member of the Peace Corps, Erica has seen and met all types of people. Many of her written works accompany a stunning photograph, so in many cases, her picture literally told a thousand words!
The User: Readers interested in the subjects of Erica's writing and photography, as well as writing professionals (journalists, editors, authors, publishers)
Reason for Visiting: To check out Erica's awesome work!
"Professional, responsive, and dependable, Zack Ayers delivered a website that reflected and even improved upon my specifications. Throughout the process, his upbeat attitude and thoroughness made putting a website together a joyful experience."
- Erica Cavanagh, Writer and Photographer
Sidekick For: Vinoy Real Estate
Site Coordinates: VinoyRealEstate.com
Mission: Design a WordPress site for a client who will want to create similar sites in the future. The website needed to fit the specifications presented by Vinoy Real Estate, yet offer a sense of simplicity for its users.
Superpowers I'll Use: HTML5, CSS3, PHP, Avada Theme Customization
Timeline: February 2014 - March 2014
This was a unique project - when a Vinoy representative first touched base about the project, he expressed a desire to implement similar WordPress sites in the future. With a short turnaround time in mind, we agreed that customizing the Avada theme on WordPress was the most time-efficient and future-proof solution. That way, he could always count on using the Avada theme for future projects without worrying about whether I'd be available for work (I am still a college student, after all!). In the end, I had a great time putting my child-theming skills to the test and Vinoy was pleased with the results of their new website.
The User: Anyone interested in Vinoy Real Estate
Reason for Visiting: To partner or invest in Vinoy in a real estate project
"Zack Ayers helped establish an online presence that reflected the core of Vinoy Real Estate: delivering strong results. Zack's upbeat attitude made the process of building a website an enjoyable one. I highly recommend Zack for any website design or redesign projects."
- Rick Bishop, Parter of Vinoy Real Estate
Sidekick For: Technology & Design (TAD) at James Madison University
Site Coordinates: info.jmu.edu/tad
Position: Web Developer
Missions Accomplished: Maintain University Unions websites, publish content developed by other student employees, assist in the rebranding efforts of JMU's Master Calendar
Timeline: April 2013 - May 2014
"The web development team at TAD aims to provide organizations within University Unions the tools for effectively communicating with the JMU community through online media in an accessible, convenient, and meaningful way." (TAD)
It's an amazing opportunity as a college student to have the chance to gain real world experience in an environment so full of talent and life. Since August 2013, I've been able to work with a number of University Union organizations (primarily Festival Conference Center, info.jmu.edu/festival and Event Management, info.jmu.edu/eventmanagement). We're currently in the planning process of overhauling about ten websites within University Unions.
This is a unique and fun opportunity - I'm currently being subcontracted by RocketBike to tackle some client projects ranging from routine website updates all the way to building company sites. It's exciting to be part of an up and coming web design company.
Sidekick For: SMAD 231 (Writing for New Media)
Site Coordinates: sites.jmu.edu/screensighted
Mission: Challenge the JMU community to think beyond the screens that seemingly dictate our daily lives.
Superpowers Used: HTML5, CSS3, WordPress Theme Customization, Team Leading
Timeline: November 2013 - December 2013
What if we all took a second to step away from our screens (computers, smartphones, tablets) and truly invest in the lives of those around us? This was just one question my Writing for New Media class asked ourselves in the brainstorming of the project. We developed a quiz for users to take and based on the quiz results, users would be directed to take a certain challenge. Each member of the class picked a challenge to implement in their lives for a week. We all documented our experiences to serve as an encouragement for others taking the challenge.
My role on this project was to serve as the web team lead and the WordPress advisor for the class. I customized the CSS3 files to match the specs that the design team requested.