I am so excited to finally have taylormccaslin.com back up and running!

It has been a long journey since the site went into maintenance mode in early January, however I am very pleased with the design changes and refreshed content, now let me take some time to introduce you to the new taylormccaslin.com…

A Change

As many of you already know I was primarily a Theatrical Production Stage Manager for over six years, however around Christmas of last year (2011), I decided that may Production Stage Management wasn’t what I wanted to be doing with my life. I knew I had an aptitude for technology, as I had been working as a freelance designer for a little bit of extra income. I found that I enjoyed working on client’s websites more than I enjoyed sitting in rehearsals for a production. Along with this realization I discovered over the Winter Break that the lifestyle that Production Stage Managers lives is not the lifestyle that I wanted to live. I don’t want sit in rehearsals and performances on weeknights and weekends. I want a more standard 9-5 job, with benefits, stability and opportunities for corporate ladder climbing. I guess my recent obsession with the Broadway Musical, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying featuring Daniel Radcliffe had rubbed off on me a little bit.

Thus, I decided to change fields. I am still actively pursuing my BA in Theatre & Dance, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I have learned so much about project management and had so many opportunities for professional and practical experience in time, team strategic and fiscal management. Those skills, I think, will prove to be valuable far into my future, no matter which career path I choose.

The Idea

With this new ambition to start down a new career path I decided to really do some ‘soul searching’ to figure out exactly where I was headed, technology. Over Winter Break I spent time researching and exploring the technology career field, specifically in digital management. By January I had decided that the technology field was exactly where I wanted to be.

By this point classes at UT had started back and I didn’t have much time to continue my job search. Thus fast forward to Spring Break where I had my awakening. Going back to exploring the digital technology field. That’s when it hit me, I already had skills in digital technology, specifically web development and web design. My freelance work, the foundation of this shift in interests, was my answer. So I changed my approach, let’s make a new technology centered resume.

The Resume

I knew I wanted something that would show off my design skills. Something sleek and sexy, but also simple. A large aspect of my design philosophy is simplicity and minimalism. I found a basic photoshop resume template and decided that if I was going to jump into Digital Design, I might as well start with my resume. I will stay building a resume in photoshop has been quite a ride. It is nothing like formatting for word. I have never done much word processing in photoshop, but I now consider myself an advanced user, which I think will be helpful for my future designs. You can see what I came up with on my resume page.

The Site

Now that I had my Digital Design resume created, it was time for the site redesign. I wanted the site to be a direct investigation on my personal interest, Information Architecture, User Interface Design (UI) and User Experience Design (UXD). I also knew I wanted to use a content management system (CMS) since I had been using them with my clients. I had built my old site on the proprietary web based CMS Squarespace, but I wanted something that was much more open to development. Thus I settled on WordPress, one of the most popular open source CMS. I had built many of my client’s sites on WordPress, so I was familiar with the system, but I had mostly been using proprietary themes and customizing them. For my site I wanted to start from the ground up. Thus I started with a basic backend framework and built the custom framework architecture that my site is currently built atop. Check out my portfolio page for a deeper exploration of this framework.

The Content

Building a WordPress framework and theme from the ground up was not easy, however it was very educational, and challenged me to extend my skills in ways I had never thought of before. Needless to say Coda, Photoshop and Illustrator are all pinned to my dock now. But what is a framework and theme without content? This is where I am at now. I have a custom site with nothing to show off, though I have a clear plan of attack.

Create Content

This seems so basic, but so many sites fail when it comes to keeping things fresh and updated. I want my site to have a new featured article at least every 2 weeks.

Be Creative. Teach Something.

I don’t just want a personal blog where I write out my inner feelings for all to see, I want to examining current trends in technology, teach a skill I have just learned, or just sharing my thoughts on current events.

So I want you to join my mailing list, which you can do by filling out the form here and follow me on twitter, because taylormccaslin.com is about to become a college eye on everything digital design.


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