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Welcome to maxwell.fyi

For Your Information

My name is Max Starkenburg. I'm a web designer from the US, currently based in Bremerton, Washington Houston, Texas Rancagua, Chile Mexico City Washington, DC.

My work has focused on harnessing HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and graphics editors to make aesthetic and intuitive designs for large- and small-scale websites. See some samples of my previous work.

While my academic design background is in architecture, all of my professional work, including summer jobs beginning in 1999, has focused on web design. More details in my résumé.

Learn more about how I made this website in the colophon.

Where to find me

Some other places you can find me online:

Feel free to contact me using this form, or just writing to max@maxwell.fyi.

Work samples

Library website redesign

Creation of a new style for George Washington University Libraries. Learn more ...

Interactive floor maps

Make finding your library book that much easier. Learn more ...

Online textbook editor (features)

Hand-coded interactive mock-ups of a WYSIWYG editor. See a few of its novel features Learn more ...

Online textbook editor (hands-on demo)

Try the editor out for yourself. Take a test drive ...

Design for an educational repository

My longest stint has been with Connexions, an open-source and open-content educational website. Learn more ...


Several of my work projects have involved making customized skins for complex interfaces. Learn more ...

Static sites

Over the years I've created a number of small and basic single-use websites Learn more ...

Book projects (coding for fun)

Some book-related (and coding-related) side projects I thought would be fun to share. Read more ...


Max Starkenburg

Portfolio: http://maxwell.fyi · max@maxwell.fyi

Who am I? A web/UI designer with many years of experience designing websites, imagining new interactions, and writing the code to make it happen. I seek to bring my design talent and coding skills to a broader team of UX and software development experts, in order to create novel and beautiful solutions to complex user interface challenges, anywhere in the world.

Technical Competencies

HTML · CSS / Sass · Adobe Illustrator / Adobe Photoshop · JavaScript / jQuery · XML / XSLT · SVG · command-line Linux · Git / SVN

Work Experience

Web Designer

Libraries and Academic Innovation (George Washington University, Washington, DC) · 11/2016–present

  • Led design for multiple web presences for GW Libraries & Academic Innovation (GWLAI), including a redesign of the libraries’ Drupal-based website, and production of interactive and responsive mock-ups, graphic assets, and code deliverables
  • Produced artwork to advertise workshops and events (60 per semester) as well as for exhibits and handouts
  • Led workshops for students, staff, and faculty on Adobe Illustrator and HTML/CSS
  • Created interactive SVG floor maps that link from library catalog results to show users a book’s exact location on the physical shelves
  • Worked with colleagues across GWLAI to meet their content creation needs, consulting on accessibility best practices, CSS capabilities, and JavaScript incorporation
  • Designed and implemented special features like digital collection showcases and the online version of GWLAI’s annual magazine
  • Contributed to ongoing maintenance of web presences via code debugging, new feature design, content updating, accessibility improvements, and QA testing

Interaction Designer

OERPUB (Shuttleworth Foundation funded project, from Houston, Texas) · 12/2011–04/2014

  • Created high-fidelity functional mock-ups from scratch that drove the development direction of an online WYSIWYG editor that allows novice faculty authors to edit professional-quality textbooks
  • Quantified the relative success of interactive features by conducting multiple usability studies using the mock-ups themselves
  • Completely redesigned WordPress site, creating original styling and logo
  • Designed original icon set for use as an open-source vector font

Designer and XSLT Developer

Digital Scholarship Services (Rice University, Houston, Texas) · 11/2010–04/2011

  • Implemented key navigational and branding changes to Rice University’s digital scholarship archive to facilitate access to thousands of scholarly research items
  • Created custom skins in CSS and XSLT for select repositories to provide a seamless experience when arriving from similarly styled external sites
  • Fixed XSLT errors and added features to the output of 500 XML documents

Web/Graphic Designer

Connexions (now OpenStax CNX) (Rice University, Houston, Texas) · 01/2001–04/2011

  • Led visual design on an open educational repository and authoring environment of over 18,000 pages, 2,000 users, and 1.6 million monthly visitors
  • Iterated over design ideas (2,200 mock-ups in total) as needed by the team for new features such as search/browse interface, social media plug-ins, co-branding designs, user profile pages, authoring interface, homepage redesign, and tag editing/display
  • Prepared logo/branding for presentations, merchandise, business cards, book covers
  • Assured high quality of software by conducting thorough tests each release cycle


Rice University · Houston, Texas
Bachelor of Arts · Architectural Studies · 2003


  • English: native speaker · Spanish: upper intermediate proficiency (ILR 3, CERF B2)
  • US citizen, currently in Washington, DC, open to working locally or in large cities around the globe


The making of

Part of my goal for this site was to learn some new things, brush up on old, and try out some new open-source libraries. To that end, I coded the CSS in Sass, refamiliarized myself with Git commands (pushed to BitBucket and directly to my web host via Cygwin), learned about SVG creation and animation, used Jekyll (and assorted Ruby gems) to make the site bilingual without duplicating the code, and stretched some responsive muscles for a graceful mobile viewing experience. Except where noted (below and in comments), everything was coded from scratch.

Don't like the look and feel of this webpage? You can change its style: v1, v2, v3

Under the hood

In addition to some JavaScript from jQuery, Velocity.js, and Bootstrap, this site makes use Magnific Popups and Colorbox for the lightboxes, the Raleway typeface (hosted on Google Fonts), Formspree to create a non-PHP form, some SVG icons by Open Iconic and Icon 54, and ScreenToGif and gifsicle to create the animations. Background image of leaf originally by Eric Gaba, licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0 Unported. The following tools were also of great help: Eric Meyer's Color Blender (finds midpoints between hex colors), regex101 (regular expression tester and beautiful headache preventer), and Can I Use? for browser compatibility info.