Web-based products and services

Designer / Developer

Based in Nairobi

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Yommie Samora, Designer and Developer focused on Web-based Products and Services.

Proponent of simplicity. Committed to continuous learning and improvement.

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I have more examples of front-end and back-end development. If you’re looking for more examples in a particular category, just ask.

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I am available for consulting, collaboration and contract work.

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Skills and Tools

Design

User interface design

I design user interfaces for web-based products and services.

I strongly value clean, easy and pleasurable to use interfaces that are effective in meeting user needs and business goals.

Visual identity design

Although I primarily focus on UI design, I also occasionally do basic branding and identity work, such as logo design and business card design.

I aim to create designs that are simple, distinctive and effective.

Principles

Three principles guide my approach to UI design.

1. Design, not decoration

A Good User Interface has high conversion rates and is easy to use. In other words, it's nice to both the business side as well as the people using it.

The design of an interface should not distract from the content or the task at hand, but rather enhance it. Plus, it should strike the right balance between user needs and business goals.

I do my best to follow solid design principles and patterns, while focusing on the most essential design elements (layout, typography, color…) and keeping decorations and ornaments to a minimum, with the aim of creating simple and effective designs that meet their goals.

2. Simplicity, not minimalism

Clear, clean and simple design isn’t minimalist. It’s just good, clear design.

Simplicity, not minimalism, should be the goal when designing interfaces.

Minimalism is an aesthetic choice, there’s nothing inherently “good” in it, and certainly not when it diminishes affordances or is disguised as false simplicity. True simplicity, on the other hand, serves as a guiding principle for the design of usable interfaces, those that strike a balance between affordable and honest design.

3. Timeless, not trendy

Simplicity isn’t a design trend, it’s an attribute of good design.

Good design is timeless, and simplicity is key to timeless design.

I take inspiration from those designers that pursue simplicity, timelessness, and stay on trend without becoming too trendy.

Tools

I’ve used Adobe Fireworks before settling on Adobe Photoshop for UI design and prototyping.

For graphic design I use Adobe Illustrator in conjunction with some additional plugins.

What’s next?

Just keep learning and doing my best with each new design project.

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Development

Front-end development

I architect and build user interfaces with HTML, CSS and a dash of JavaScript with Bootstrap as my responsive and UI components framework of choice.

Back-end development

I develop custom CMS solutions and web applications with PHP and MySQL & MSSQL, specializing in WordPress for CMS development and Laravel and Codeigniter for custom application development.

I strive to create user-friendly and flexible CMSs, as well as reliable and secure web applications.

Principles

Front-end

I have extensive experience coding semantic HTML and modular CSS. I am particularly interested in modular front-end methodologies that form the basis for an efficient, maintainable and scalable front-end architecture.

I use JavaScript in conjunction with the jQuery framework for small UI/UX enhancements (component behaviors, asynchronous requests…).

Back-end

I have extensive experience with Laravel and CodeIgniter for web application development.

I appreciate Laravel for its simplicity, performance and documentation. I’ve been using it for web application development in conjunction with other standalone libraries. I also use Codeigniter occassionally, however, this framework is struggling to adapt to modern PHP best practices, that’s why I prefer Laravel, a framework that strikes a balance between modern practices and simplicity.

I have some experience with other technologies related to web application development:

Web services
Third-party REST APIs (social networks, email delivery…).

Hosting

When it comes to hosting I tend to favor good quality managed services over dedicated ones.

What I look for when choosing a hosting service is performance, reliability, security, flexibility and scalability, plus a good and fast support.

The server OS could be Unix-based with Nginx or Apache as the HTTP server or Windows-based with IIS as the HTTP server. Or, if the project requires it and the budget allows it, on a managed VPS, managed dedicated server.

I have experience on system administration when it comes to setting up the necessary infrastructure especially on IIS 8.5 server.

Tools

After trying and using different IDEs, I’ve settled on Brackets for front-end and back-end development. It has all the features required for modern web development, testing and debugging, plus it is constantly updated. For quick edits I tend to use Sublime Text.

I use Git for version control, with TortoiseGit a Windows Shell Interface to Git.

For my local development environment I use XAMPP. For development environment virtualization I use VirtualBox.

What’s next?

The technology and software business seems to obsess with what is in flux and changing. Always new stuff. New languages and frameworks. Focus on what doesn't change and think about the things that matter today and will matter 10 years from now.

Web development is a fast-paced and ever-evolving field. Keeping up is just part of the job. However, a balance must be struck between learning new technologies and getting better with the ones you are familiar with. Furthermore, while new technologies come and go, the fundamentals remain essentially the same.

That’s why I focus on learning the technologies that I need or find useful for my work, while keeping an eye on the popular and emerging ones, to have at least an informed opinion.

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Writing and Connecting

Writing

On rare occasions I blog. When I do, I write on anything that interests or inspires me.

Go to Blog

Connecting

More frequently I share some bits and pieces here and there. Feel free to connect with me on any platform below.

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Elsewhere