Mike’s Recent Projects

On this page you will find a collection of my personal and professional creative projects — one and all a labor of love.

2009-11: 2010 GreenMethods Catalog
View: 2010 GreenMethods Catalog Image »

View image of 2010 GreenMethods Catalog

For seventeen years now, I have produced an annual mail order catalog for my company, GreenMethods.com, so our customers can be informed of our products and prices. This entry celebrates yet another successful printing — though it’s still at the printers.

Again effort was put into creating a bright, positive image for the 2010 cover (see link). This change was implemented last year and was well received so we are doing it this way again.

The tech specs are a 60# cover stock cover, perfect bound, with 60# offset paper used for the guts. The cover is four-color full process and the guts are monochromatic (black on white). It was produced using InDesign, PhotoShop Elements 6, and Fireworks. The cover and only one gut page bleeds, the rest is margined. The image posted here is a cover shot, but please bear in mind that I simply cannot even come close to showing you print quality online unless I were to let you download the full size 24 megabyte cover.

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2009-03: Thompson/Center Assn (3)
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View image of Thompson/Center Assn (3)

This site was built over a year ago (see earlier entry on this page), but immediately upon completion the world changed for these folks and the completed site was made to sit on the back burner. All this time it was hidden away under a cloak of private access while the managers decided what they wanted to do.

The powers that be decided to relaunch the site, but after I removed the online shop, user trading post, and other cool features the site used to have. Because the number of changes were so vast I decided it could use its own reentry under my projects. Plus I haven’t posted in a while so I felt the time was ripe.

Personally I am very sad the cool features I labored over (and was paid for) never got to be seen and used by the site’s visitors, but I am told that someday they may want to bring it all back. Like my other projects, this site is built with WordPress, implements and conforms to the latest web standards, and it is designed to be accessible as possible to all manner of users.

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2008-12: 2009 GreenMethods Catalog
View: 2009 GreenMethods Catalog Image »

View image of 2009 GreenMethods Catalog

For sixteen years now, I have produced an annual mail order catalog for my company, GreenMethods.com, so our customers can be informed of our products and prices. This entry celebrates yet another successful printing — though it’s still at the printers.

A little more effort was put into creating a bright, positive image for the 2009 cover (see link). A little bit of a change might be good so this cover is quite a bit different. We went with high-quality images obtained from iStock/Getty Images — where this very cover happens to be showcased in their Design Spotlight.

The tech specs are a 60# cover stock cover, perfect bound, with 60# offset paper used for the guts. The cover is four-color full process and the guts are monochromatic (black on white). It was produced using InDesign, PhotoShop Elements 6, and Fireworks. The cover and only one gut page bleeds, the rest is margined. The image posted here is a cover shot, but please bear in mind that I simply cannot even come close to showing you print quality online unless I were to let you download the full size 24 megabyte cover.

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2008-08: Mike Cherim, Photographer
Launch: Mike Cherim, Photographer Live Site »

Visit Mike Cherim, Photographer

I had moved my experiments to my Green-Beast.com domain so I could free up my MikeCherim.com domain for my latest gig: digital photography, mostly stock though my iStockphoto profile. To start the project I used a previous gallery project. And a mere twelve hours later, Voila. I made this.

It’s not the usual highly accessible site I will freely admit. Not to say it has no redeeming qualities, it does, It just has a couple of flaws as well. Namely the text contrast is less than adequate (if I get too many complaints I will bump it up). Moreover, the portfolio page isn’t great for keyboard users. Otherwise it’s not too bad. The XHTML 1.0 Strict markup is valid and so is the CSS, with exception to some opacity stuff for the photo display.

I decided to break some of the rules with this site. I some ways it’s cutting edge, but in other ways it is quite dated. Most notably is the use of a splash page. Yep, got all artsy-fartsy on this one. The site should serve my needs well.

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2008-04: The Richerson Chronicles
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View image of The Richerson Chronicles

This was a cool and interesting project using my latest theme build as the foundation. It was applied to the latest version of WordPress (2.5) and proved to be a smooth problem-free installation. The site is for an extended family whose members are located all over the world. Their blog — with a fixed home page — will help the members connect and share stories and photos.

Speaking of photos, the addition of a Flickr gallery plugin was one of the features on the site. The plugin was a mess and required some fussing, including a template and a lot of mods to try and make it valid. It’s still not, but unless I am to rebuild the plugin from the ground up, it can’t be made fully valid. I got it down from 66 errors to one, but the one is a biggie I cannot fix.

This site also has another cool and unusual feature, it was a challenge but I pulled it off without modding the core files or breaking the upgradability of WordPress, but authors have their own categories, plus there are shared categories, and all are color-coded (even the excerpts). I actually re-used the user AIM data input to add the user’s color. It worked out very nicely.

All-in-all this was a great project. The site came out beautifully and very nicely organized, and some of the added features make it a real winner. The client was a delight to work with and there was mutual satisfaction on all sides. Can’t ask for more than that.

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2008-04: Military Audiology
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View image of Military Audiology

This is another project using my most recent liquid theme as a starting point. And, like the rest, I really like this site and what was accomplished with it. It, too, also has some of the features offered by the others (see below): A Page Tools menu, for example, complete with linear theme, and a background image removal tool which is perfect for regular visitors on a dial-up. Like the others, this theme was applied to a site was constructed using WordPress as a content management system.

This site has a small shop with PayPal integration to handle memberships. There is not much to add to this write-up. The site will be used to organize a lot of past, current, and future content (some of which is still being added by the new owner). The site is accessible, usable, and, in my opinion, quite stylish.

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2008-03: GBHXonline v5
Launch: GBHXonline v5 Live Site »

Visit GBHXonline v5

This is the fifth incarnation of my web hosting site, but it really needed to be done. Even though v4 was an award winning site, it was over two years old and time for a “reboot” as they say. Again I chose WordPress for the site’s back-end affording my team and I the ability to get as much SEO out of the site as possible while ensuring it’s easy to maintain. This site is build upon the liquid/fluid RedScrubs/Legality theme (see below), made over from that as it’s a good foundation.

This site has a number of cool things going on. First there is a two-part style changer: Part one allows the user to remove background images; part two installs a linear layout that works at any resolution from about 130px wide to 1280px wide (the site doesn’t get wider to control line lengths). This linear style is also serving as the handheld style sheet. A print style sheet is also included.

Other cool features include a domain lookup tool (in a popup) and a few Flash tutorials (also in popups). Neat and helpful things available to most of our clients. Both are backed up in case JS isn’t supported. This site also has a custom shop, interfacing with PayPal, to allow visitors to order their hosting plans and whatnot online, in addition to the other options. I’m really digging this site and hope you like it, too.

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2008-03: L.F. Legal
Launch: L.F. Legal Live Site »

Visit L.F. Legal

This project ended up being more significant than others for the fact that this site is my first WCAG 2.0 implementation site, and an exemplary one at that as it is to be featured by the W3C as such. I like it, it’s very accessible with lots of added cool stuff such as a switch to turn off backgrounds plus a number of added, user-selectable page themes. The controls for these can be found in a special “Page Tools” menu.

This site was constructed using WordPress as the back-end with a custom theme for the main front-end. In addition to its special focus on accessibility, it is, of course valid XHTML 1.0 Strict and uses CSS for styles and element positioning.

This site will hope serve as an example of what an accessible site should possess without going overboard on be “in your face” with its features. It should just work for everyone. Backwards rendering compatibility is limited, but shouldn’t impede usability or accessibility so the <1-percenters shouldn’t be too put out. The content will still be available and the other themes can still offer a more stable layout for said users.

Update: It’s official. This site is now one of two WCAG 2.0 “AAA” sites on the web as recognized by the W3C. It has also been showcased by WordPress.org. This is good stuff.

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2008-02: Thompson/Center Assn (2)
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View image of Thompson/Center Assn (2)

I had built a site for this organization before. Almost exactly two years ago, see the original entry. They loved the design, and the site was working out well for them, but adding content wasn’t the easiest exercise. They wanted much of the same in terms of the site, but with greater ease of management. They also wanted to accept memberships and sell a few things from the site, so a little shop was added. They also wanted a member-to-member trading post used for the selling, seeking, and trading of items.

This was easy to pull off using my Beast-Blog v.2.0 theme, a couple of plugins, and little custom scripting to manage the trading post categories, and all was well. The client loved the old design so I tried to change it as little as possible keeping the look that was so popular and effective. As far as I can tell, it’s mission accomplished. The client is delighted. Complaint, accessible, great looking. Perfect.

Important: This should be a live listing. The site is, after all, complete and hosted by my hosting company. If you go there, however, this new site is closed. The day it was done I was told to shut it down. The person who was to run the site on a day-to-day basis walked out at the last minute. They are seeking another volunteer to take that person’s place.

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2008-01: Cartelli’s Bar & Grill
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View image of Cartelli’s Bar & Grill

Slowly but surely the next version of my Beast-Blog v.2.0 theme is being created. It happens like this: I create a site using the theme, making modifications along the way. I carry these modifications on to all my sites, with most of the changes making it into the theme build (time permitting). To a point. After a while there are so many changes it ends up being a new version.

This site is really close to what the third version of my theme will be, technically speaking that is. The styling is unique and will remain so. I do like this site from both an aesthetics and technical point of view. It should serve their purpose very well — including all SEO aspects. They love it so that part is a success already. They will be able to effectively communicate with their patrons and let them know about their all-important events, entertainment, and special functions.

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2008-01: RedScrubs.com
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View image of RedScrubs.com

I’m absolutely smitten with this project and my client is as well. This was a brand new built from the ground-up WordPress theme to which I applied all my current knowledge. I will say, its got one savvy sidebar with great navigation. This theme, unlike most, is category-centric offering five main categories. The home page features one for-all news category, from there users are split among the four remaining categories. It’s really cool.

This is a liquid theme — meaning it’ll fill the monitor — and very accessible. Tweaked to the hilt for SEO, beautiful CSS with a great handheld style sheet and well thought-out print sheet, valid XHTML, of course, and very semantic. Looks great with styles off, images off, it doesn’t matter. It also offers great organization with dedicated category, archive, and site map templates… blah, blah, blah. I really love this one. Can you tell?

Need a custom theme for WordPress? I can help. All you have to do is Contact me and we can go from there.

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