Radical Shorthand Digital Book | Kalib Watson's Portfolio
The home page for Racial Shorthand: Coded Discrimination Contested in Social Media edited by Cruz Medina and Octavio Pimentel.

Radical Shorthand Digital Book

Situation

In 2017 the University of Santa Clara put out a call for a web developer to help them condense digital writings into an online book about racism. I was the developer who worked with the project coordinator to determine editorial, functionality, and stylistic changes to the web content.

Process

Before beginning the project work, I met with the project coordinator several times to understand the changes that needed to be made, and in what time frame it was preferred that they were completed. After noting the important project dates, the edits that the digital press wanted to make, and the chapters that needed to be condensed into the book, I began editing web files.

While familiarizing myself with the code base, I recognized that the previous developer had not used up-to-date tags and ASCII character codes. My first step was to go in and switch these elements out with up-to-date code. I then went through and made the editorial changes that the press had asked for.

The content that the University wanted to merge into their book was already on the web, so I visited the site to see how the content had been displayed. One major difference between the book’s original content and the content that the University wanted to add to the project was that the additional content included a lightbox for images. It also had smaller images that sat side-by-side, instead of larger images meant to be viewed without a lightbox.

I contacted the author of the piece to see whether or not they wanted this functionality and style to be carried over to the digital book. Because the layout and lightbox functionality were important to the way the chapter was laid out, the author asked for these features to be carried over in their chapter.

Laying out the images only required of changing the styling for those images on this specific chapter page, but in order to create the same lightbox I studied the lightbox functionality on the original site, and then rewrote pieces of this JavaScript code to work for the new digital book.

The lightbox opens when the user selects a photo to view.

The smaller sizing of the images in the added chapter.

It is then closed by hitting the “X” in the upper right-hand corner.

An example of a lightbox image in the digital book.

If you'd like to view this project, it's live!

Takeaways

In working with Santa Clara University to create a digital book, I modified another developers code to create new functionality and styles, and to standardize code. I also gained experience working with clients, understanding project requirements, and communicating with remote contacts.