Waidanian | CG

The Web is made of messages.

Be the messenger for
your community.

Activity

Content design

Content design means iterating on the media content that organizations need, structuring and styling it in synergy. This includes every part of the content’s life cycle from copywriting, typography and metadata to publication planning and recurring analysis.

I specialize in Web content design for scientific or pedagogical organizations, as well as businesses working in niche markets. I apply solid principles from epistemology and information science in order to develop modular systems of digital content, thereby respecting and enhancing the inherent cognitive wealth of each client’s domain.

If you are interested in working with me, You may contact me through LinkedIn, GitHub or email, at your discretion, in order to inquire about my availability. I am always happy to learn about new client scenarios and needs.

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Document-based programming

I sometimes write programs to support my other activities. I am acquainted with software engineering practices, but I am not an engineer: I am a designer with a background in research and teaching. I strongly believe in the continued relevance of literate programming, which I practise whenever adequate.

Style guides and design systems are prime examples where literate programming makes much sense. For clients who wish to invest in such live artifacts, I gladly apply the literate methodology, so as to make the code depend on an intuitive, design-driven description.

More generally, I believe in the power of narratives and stories. I strive to ordain the artifacts of formal language to those of natural language, sending messages meant for people.

Pedagogy

I have experience in teaching and tutoring at the high school and university (undergraduate) levels. My inclination towards design thinking began when I started to explore ways to improve my teaching.

I have ongoing pedagogical projects at the high school level. I wish to show students and tutees how to navigate digital reality, by dignifying and improving the sound cognitive paths that they already possess. There is no separate ‘digital world’: the digital is part of this organic, messy world we inhabit. What makes ‘digital’ special is that it represents our interrelated cognitive acts, the discrete quantities attached to concrete entities.

That is why, in addition to information architecture (of which content design is a part), I like to speak of cognitive architecture, the infinitely scalable art of interrelating cognitive agents and their productions.

Portfolio

Communications of the TeX Users Group

My Organic TeX Demo accompanies the talk I gave last year at the TUG2016 conference in Toronto. The demo shows how TeX / LaTeX, Emacs Org-mode and other document formats based on macros can be used to produce high-fidelity content for the Web. The demo, for the initial phase of this ongoing effort, focuses on text content, but the applications are wide-ranging and include all manner of annotated graphics, bringing to the Web some classic techniques promoting density of information and cognitive efficiency in the tradition of Edward Tufte’s analytic design. The workflow has already been extensively tested in production, in the context of the HU15 group’s publishing work in the digital humanities.

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EML: Institutional website on the Squarespace platform

content workflow, custom styles, content strategy

My work with the Lavoie music school (fr) involved teaching the site’s managers how writing directly for the Web in the Markdown format can help them deliver a powerful message for their audience of media-aware students and keen tutors. With minimal CMS dependencies and tasteful custom styles that set the tone, the school has found its voice and reaches eager students in the community who discover new passions through musical practice.

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HU15: editorial projects in the digital humanities

content workflow, RDF-style relational vocabulary, visualization

The HU15 group is a collective of researchers in the field of French Medieval literature. I designed for them a set of CSS styles that are applied directly to TEI XML manuscript transcriptions (fr). I also showed how the abstract RDF model can be used independently of concrete syntax to formalize intuitive statements relating segments of text (fr), in a manner that is respectful of a text historian’s techniques and cognitive goals.

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Propositions

A build system for Web content

I am in the process of formalizing the workflow I favor when working with organizations on rich content design and integration. This ongoing project will yield a concrete tool and general principles that can be applied in many content design situations.

Many templating and substitution languages exist, both for static and dynamic websites; the proposed build system can leverage existing document tools to prepare content for a CMS, a Git-based project site or a social media submission, by focusing on user needs and adapting the tool pipeline accordingly.

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A DOM module: recursive procedures on narrative data

report on the ‘Needledrop Level 0’ Python module

While working as a teaching assistant in an introductory programming course designed for Computer Science and Software Engineering students, I realized that students often struggle to grasp the practical importance of recursion when it is first taught to them using binary search trees and suchlike. I designed a new exercise about writing recursive functions that parse narrative XHTML documents. Here is an impression of the resulting module, along with an earnest proposition to write a new module implementing the same algorithms within an industry-standard framework.

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