Hello! ☞ This is an archived version of Al Shaw's personal website. The current site is http://shaw.al.


The Portfolio

Talking Points Memo

Since May 2008, I have worked full time as Designer/Developer (previously Associate Publisher) at TPM, where I have been responsible for all frontend code and site design. Along the way, I have redesigned the homepage (including a custom mini CMS on top of Movable Type), designed and implemented an iPhone edition, designed and managed a revamp of the myTPM social network, designed and coded an advertising minisite and created some custom stats tools. During my time at TPM, I've developed extensively with Movable Type, built on RESTful APIs from Twitter, bit.ly, Google Analytics, Chartbeat and VodPod, and developed in-house solutions in HTML/XML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript/jQuery and Ruby/Rails.

TPM PollTracker

"Hate to cuss, but TPM's polltracker is unfuckingbelievable."Scott Klein, ProPublica

The TPM PollTracker is a standalone web app I wrote for Talking Points Memo in Ruby, Rails, HTML/XML, CSS, and JavaScript/jQuery for aggregating and displaying all manner of opinion polls. It features a custom backend with role-based authentication, an XML API for integrating Flash maps and graphs, and AJAX pagination. I worked in a small Agile(ish) team, including Flash developer Michiko Swiggs and statistician Charles Franklin to lead the app from conception to production in under two months. It's currently humming along in the Engine Yard cloud. Read my reflections on the project here.


In 2008, I attended the Democratic National Convention in Denver with BAGnewsNotes where I designed and produced live coverage for the popular visual politics blog. I also designed the (now former) BAGnewsNotes identity.


The Hive

The Hive is essentially a student run booking agency at the University of Chicago. We use university funding to bring bands to campus. Though the Hive is now effectively defunct, during my college career we brought bands such as Animal Collective, The Books, Xiu Xiu, Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, The Blow and many more. Before I joined the Hive, it didn't have a website. So I devised a simple and malleable identity which allowed the homepage to morph into infinite variations, based on what the next show would be.


Four times a year, the Midwest Faculty Seminar hosts a conference at the University of Chicago. The topics have ranged from Bollywood to John Rawls to Hurricane Katrina. Starting with my complete redesign of the site last year, I have created custom graphics (particularly a 500x600 splashscreen for the homepage) for each institute. Here are some example homepages I created for the Seminar.

The Center for Teaching and Learning is a division of the college that helps graduate students and junior faculty improve their teaching. While keeping most of the information intact, I rewrote the site in HTML and CSS to improve aesthetics and functionality. The site features an updated seminar and workshop calendar, and users can register for events from within the site. There is also an extensive online tutorial for teaching techniques.