You'll Notice I'm Licensed to Kill... Bad Web Design (Har Har)

» Me as a Web Designer

Me as a Web Designer

Hi, my name is Benjamin Solum, I am 23 years of age and I am a web designer/developer currently based in the Kansas City, USA area. I got my start in web design my sophomore year of high school and have been infatuated ever since. While most of my skills were self taught, I've refined my practices through schooling at the collegiate level with a dual Graphic Design and Computer Science major and a dual Leadership and Information Systems minor from MidAmerica Nazarene University. I graduated from MidAmerica Nazarene University with my Bachelor of Arts in December of 2009 as the first to do so with the above majors as a dual major.

During my graphic design studies, I worked extensively with the Adobe Creative Suite including Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash, Illustrator, InDesign and Fireworks and I've even worked a little in Soundbooth. We focused on areas such as type, color, design patterns, and how you develop a brand. I enjoy every minute I spend in Photoshop whipping up funny scenes or creating new backgrounds for my desktop or building flash animations using the ActionScript programming language. While I enjoy a great design and appreciate its importance in the ultimate goal of "sale", my main area of interest lies in the Document Object Model and building a website through programming.

I'm a master coder and have several awards in web design through the Business Professionals of America program of which I was a member in high school. Along side HTML/XML writing, I enjoy programming with JavaScript (and frameworks such as jQuery) and working with PHP to serve up dynamic and live web pages. I love browser quirks and truly appreciate all the challenges that come along with making a truly cross-browser site work even though it takes time. I'm very analytical by nature and I believe that if I set my mind to something I can do anything and/or solve any problem. I believe that a website's functionality should come first and foremost and that adhering to standards comes second though they often go hand in hand. I validate all my websites if at all possible in both HTML and CSS and I focus especially on making my designs accessible.

As a part of my computer science studies, I learned about basic circuitry and the fundamentals of circuit analysis and design and while I couldn't engineer a board from scratch I am no stranger to the insides of a computer having built several of my own. We also studied the fundamentals of programming, working with Assembly Language and making our way up to topics like C++ and Visual Basic.NET. From there I branched into topics like ASP.NET programming and SQL database design. I've even worked with languages like PERL.

» What am I doing now?

Church of the Nazarene Global Ministry Center

I'm currently working at Pensions and Benefits USA for the Church of the Nazarene serving in the technology resources area. I work on the website http://www.pbusa.org, adding functionality via programming and performing maintenance on various sections of the site. I also do contract work in my free time for various individuals and businesses. If you'd like to look into this a little more, feel free to contact me here.

» The background of soluml

The background of soluml

I started soluml back in 2005 choosing the name soluml as a portmanteau between my last name Solum and HTML/XML. The idea came from XML and the ability to define your own tags. It was originally the "Solum Markup Language" or "SoluML" but a design decision changed the casing to an all lower-case "soluml". I do use the <soluml> tag in almost all of my personal XML documents although there is no official DOCTYPE of any kind (I wrote one a long time ago, but its outdated and ultimately pointless aside from geek credibility for what I would use it for).

This site is more or less the third iteration of my portfolio site soluml and the second revision within that iteration (I originally designed the site within the confines of WordPress only to realize later that for most pages it just didn't make sense and decided to set it free). I wrote the site from the ground up as a fruity blend between PHP and jQuery, but I also ensured that all the functionality of the site would be accessible for those who have JavaScript disabled.

For browser testing I use multiple virtual machines to test this site in old versions of Firefox (all the way back to FF2) and Internet Explorer (all the way back to IE6). I also test this site in all of the latest popular browsers: Chrome, Safari, Opera, as well as the aforementioned Firefox and Internet Explorer. The reason I do not test in older versions of Chrome, Safari, and Opera is that the older version market share is so small that I may never see a single visitor who uses them and they all tend to be pretty standards compliant browsers. However, I do have Google Analytics on the case and if I see some anomalies I'll be sure to check into it. If you run into any problems viewing my pages please let me know so that I can look into it and make soluml better.

The design was a complete custom job designed in Photoshop in my spare time. I got the inspiration of a waterfall theme from my home state Minnesota. Minnesota, for those who are not aware, happens to be known for its water and as a kid growing up there I visited the lakes often.

» About me

Me and my Wife Tiffany

I was married on June 6th, 2009 to my wife Tiffany Solum who is a wonderful elementary teacher and my best friend. We have several tropical fish to our name that will one day debut on my portfolio (once I build a web cam computer rig) and we're hoping to get a puppy soon. I also really enjoy Scuba Diving and I was certified as a diver back in 2003. Thank you for visiting me on my portfolio and I hope you find some of it useful. Feel free to take a look around and check out my blog to stay up to date with me or view my portfolio to see what I've done.

» Capabilities

Web Design
  • Website Design & Development
  • User-Interface Design
  • User-Accessibility Design
  • Cross-Browser Support Design
  • Content Authoring
  • Email/E-Newsletter Design & Development
  • Database Architecture Design
  • Web Programming & App Design
  • Flash Programming & Design
  • Content Management System Design & Development
  • Online Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization
Interactive
  • Interactive CD/DVD Design & Development
  • Video Editing, Encoding, & Streaming
  • Audio Editing, Encoding, & Streaming
  • Multimedia Presentations
  • Public Speaking
Identity and Design
  • Web Template Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Logo Design
  • Marketing Communications
  • Advertisement Campaigns
Check out my resume!
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