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Tze-chiu Lei

Web Developer

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Responsive now!

OK, I just finished re-styling this site to be responsive!  Let’s call this phase 1, ‘cuz the blog’s hidden on small screens.

If you really miss the blog on your smartphone, please leave a Comment!  I’ll monitor this post, and if enough Comments say include the Blog on small screens then I’ll do it.  I just don’t think people read and respond to blogs on a phone, that’s all.

The site-image hover popup with site details are not ported yet to touch-screens — a TODO item for later.

Bottom line, you won’t have to squint when you view Tze1.com on a phone anymore.  I’m planning to redesign the whole layout this Summer, so this pass was a quick one.

From MRM to Razorfish!

Well, I’ve left MRM//McCann for greener pastures — I’m now Presentation Layer Engineer at Razorfish Platforms!

I was in the middle of refactoring my Tze1.com project back in April for mobile/responsive layout, when Razorfish Platforms called. It sounded like they really wanted me, so I paused my project, and reactivated my resume at all the major job sites to get a decent sampling of prospective offers.

Razorfish’s offer turned out to be the best, and my other online research also corroborated their elite position in the marketing industry — AdWeek’s only repeat Top-10 Agency in the last decade. So, toward the end of May, I decided to take it.

It’s been a great 5 years with MRM//McCann, but lack of upward mobility finally prompted me to make the move. I’m very grateful for their faith in me — I had only been developing websites part-time in my last job but they convinced me to give full-time web development a try. Without them, I wouldn’t have been noticed by Razorfish!

I’m now back at the old salary I used to earn before my 2009 layoff, and things are only gonna get better from here, professionally and beyond!

Going Responsive

Well, I’ve been waiting for opportunities at work to do Responsive Web Design (RWD), but GM has mobile redirect instead to a separate server and all mobile work is being done by another agency.
I’m just gonna start doing it myself, starting with THIS site.
Stay tuned!

Catching Up

WOW!  I haven’t been blogging since 2012??  I’d better get back on it…

The GM portfolio image is WAY old now, so I’ll be updating that this weekend.

Quite a bit has happened since 2.5 years ago — I’ll have to think back and decide what’s blog-worthy.

One thing comes up immediately to mind though, and that’s Grunt.  I’m LOVIN’ how efficient it makes my development process.  I’ll do a dedicated post soon.

STAY TUNED!  😀

Bow Reviewer likes BlackSwanArchery.com

Black Swan Archery siteI never expected my BlackSwanArchery.com project to get any press at all — the site’s for a one-man business working on pure word-of-mouth.  Well, never say never!

A bow reviewer at Archers Review just gave the site some very nice compliments while reviewing one of the Black Swan bows:

The website is slick, it’s easy on the eye, sophisticated, stylish with a monochrome colour scheme, it’s been put together by someone who knows exactly what [Arvid Danielson’s] bows stand for and how he wants them to be represented, there is no clutter, no extraneous stuff you don’t need to know…. just some pictures and the pure facts… I very much like the website and it made me feel that I was about to receive something very special, the lack of sales speak, hard sell and clutter made me think that if the website had been put together with such single-minded focus then the bow itself would probably be as forthright in its purpose.

Couldn’t have said it better myself!  😀

TzeMan.com Redesign

TzeMan test site

I just started a redesign of my TzeMan music site.  The current site is looking outdated, and I wanted to use everything I’ve learnt so far at MRM Worldwide to improve the look-n-feel.

The desktop layout and functionality is almost done, but there’s still much work to be done for mobile.

Head on over to the test http://test.TzeMan.com/default.php to see what I’ve got there so far, compare it to the current http://TzeMan.com/, and LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!

Thanks in advance for your feedback!

Hidden Heroes via Webbys’ Netted

Hidden Heroes

I discovered this nice Flash site through The Webbys’ Netted online newsletter, which I highly recommend…

Hidden Heroes is an online exhibition hosted by Vitra Design Museum to spotlight designers of common items in daily life.  The subject matter is what piqued my interest at first, but I also found the Flash work appealing and inspirational.

Not only am I learning about industrial design, but also getting great ideas for Flash development.  What more an I ask?  😀

Check it out, and let me know what you think!

HTML5/CSS3 code snippets

I just found a nice snippets site, HTML5snippets.com., and it looks like a really helpful resource.

HTML5snippets.comI like the simplicity of the UI, the ability to request snippets, and the tag list.  I’ll definitely be checking this site whenever I do something new.

Let me know what you think!  My role at MRM Worldwide is becoming more high-level, taking me farther away from hands-on development work, so you’ll probably have more feedback for me than me for you going forward!  Remember to chime in!!  😀

Improved look-n-feel

Biggest bang-for-the-buck I ever had with just an image swap!  The new background not only refreshed the look, but also enhanced the feel — it added depth to the look, and made the feel much more engaging.

I’m very pleasantly surprised at how much better the site looks now, with my recent updates to the background and layout.

"Tze1.com homepage"

The old background was tiled with a canvas-textured image, which looked fine when I rushed the site out the door for my job interviews last year.  Over time though, it started looking a bit stale, and by last month, I was actually finding the tan color a little revolting — how familiarity breeds contempt!  😀

I spent several days Googling for background image tiles to replace the tired tan canvas, but didn’t find any that suited my tastes.  Then I remembered how great BlackSwanArchery.com looked after I made the entire layout look like a photo portal, so I started searching for stock photos instead.

I tried photos of the sky, the ocean, landscapes of national parks, city skylines, and even office environments, and although I didn’t particularly liked any single option, I noticed that the photo backgrounds immediately added a sense of depth to the look-n-feel.  The “page” no longer looked like a page, and the site felt more like a true environment than a flat screen.

I continued my search for the perfect photo, one that provided a sense not only of depth but of environment.  Office photos were out, once I realized I didn’t want to feel like I was still stuck at work.  The sky, the ocean, and the national parks gave a nice sense of grandeur, but didn’t feel relevant.  Then it dawned on me…

I had always wanted viewers to judge my work as art, because for me it’s more important to showcase my design talents than to illustrate my technical skills.  Yes, showcase — that was the operative term here.  And where do you usually find works of art on display?

That’s how I ultimately chose the interior of the Guggenheim Museum of Art in New York City for my background.  It evokes all the sensations I want for my site: depth, environment, and art-meets-tech.  Plus, I’ve always admired the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, and my father’s a retired architect, so this choice felt very much like a sentimental favorite.

Hope you like it too!  As always, chime in and let me know what your think!

P.S.  While I was tweaking the layout for the new background, I thought I might as well add rounded corners to the homepage’s portfolio images.  Now the layout looks perfect…  At least for now.  😀