Max Starkenburg

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¡Hola! I'm Max. I make web interfaces and live in Washington, DC. Learn more about me.

Welcome to

For Your Information

My name is Max Starkenburg. I'm a web professional 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 create intuitive, accessible, and aesthetic interfaces for large- and small-scale websites. See some samples of my previous work.

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

Work samples

Various web interfaces created or redesigned for George Washington University. Learn more ...

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

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

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

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 ...

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

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


What I can do for you:

Translate your conceptual goals into digital deliverables by building intuitive interfaces with clean, robust, accessible code and aesthetic visuals.

I can be counted on to bring my:

  • Strong advocacy of user needs.
  • Collaborative, detail-oriented, and holistic approach to problem-solving.
  • Two decades harnessing the capabilities of HTML, CSS, JS and related web technologies (four years in Drupal). Whether the job calls for a Bash script, an Illustrator design, or anything in between, I will proactively seek out the best solution to help make your product successful.

Personal portfolio:

LinkedIn: /in/max-s | StackOverflow: /users/5285945 | GitHub: /maxstarkenburg

Work Experience

George Washington University

Web Designer | Libraries and Academic Innovation (GWLAI) · 11/2016–present
  • Led or guided all steps of the lifecycle of GWLAI's four Drupal 7/8/9 websites, focusing on enabling content editors to promote academic resources while reducing development bottlenecks, unknowns, and costly retrofitting, by:
    • Building interactive and responsive mock-ups, based on participation in requirements gathering and project scoping, for usability testing and stakeholder feedback
    • Configuring sites and evaluating Drupal contrib modules to support user stories
    • Writing custom D8/9 themes and modules using CSS/Sass, Twig, JS/jQuery, 3rd-party libraries and APIs, and PHP development, reviewing all work for conformance to WCAG
    • Reviewing code written by the senior web developer, managing regression testing, and helping to streamline workflows for Git, Composer, and config management
    • Maintaining sites with Drush and custom Bash scripts, and consulting on server migrations
  • Built SVG floor maps made interactive with JS to help users find a book on the physical shelves by linking from catalog results to highlight the book's location on the maps
  • Collaborated with colleagues across the organization to meet their content-creation needs, consulting on a11y best practices, graphic design, and CSS/JS incorporation in their projects
  • Taught workshops for students, staff, and faculty on Adobe Illustrator and HTML/CSS

OERPUB (publishing initiative for open educational resources)

Interaction Designer · 12/2011–04/2014
  • Scripted high-fidelity and functional mock-ups from scratch for an online WYSIWYG textbook editor, quantifying the relative success of the editors interactive features via multiple usability studies using the mock-ups themselves
  • Created original open-source vector-based icon set, designed logo, and made plug-in and theme customizations for the initiative's WordPress site

Rice University

Designer and XSLT Developer | Digital Scholarship Services · 11/2010–04/2011
  • Customized the university’s digital scholarship repository in DSpace using XSLT to provide seamless branding and intuitive navigational access to thousands of research items
  • Fixed XSLT errors and added requested features to the output of 500 XML documents
Web/Graphic Designer | Connexions (now OpenStax CNX) · 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
  • Assured high quality of software by conducting thorough tests each release cycle


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

Additional Experience and Info

  • Conferences attended: DrupalCon North America 2018-2021; Drupal GovCon 2018-2020; BADCamp 2020; AccessU 2019; regularly attend DC-area Drupal Meetups
  • Courses taken: Half-day and full-day trainings on ES6, React, PHP programming, and Drupal module development (Debug Academy); Composer (DrupalEasy); Drupal migrations (Agaric); Section 508 and WCAG 2.1 (Knowbility)
  • Language: Upper intermediate proficiency in Spanish, both written and oral (ILR 3, CERF B2)
  • Cross-cultural experience: 2 years residency with remote work in Chile and Mexico (2015-16)


The making of

I used Jekyll and few other Ruby gems to be able to make the site bilingual without code duplication (I used to maintain the site en español también), write the CSS in Sass, and keep around old designs of this site with ease (see version 1, see version 2, you're on version 3). The code is version controlled in Git, usually written from an Ubuntu VirtualBox, pushed to the origin repo in BitBucket for safe-keeping, and pushed to another remote repo on my web host where a post-receive hook in Bash builds the generated HTML and other assets. Professional education and efforts in the realm of web accessibility, mostly after originally building out the site, and my attempts to remediate its numerous issues since (still a work in progress), have given me a newfound appreciation of what a costly and misguided notion it is to try to retrofit a11y ex post facto. I've tried to ensure responsive styling with each design, and had fun in some past iterations with animated SVGs and CSS.

Except where noted here in the colophon and in a few code comments, everything was coded by yours truly from scratch.

Under the hood

In addition to some JavaScript from jQuery, Velocity.js, and Bootstrap (for its scrollspy functionality), this site configures Magnific Popups and Colorbox for the lightboxes, uses the typefaces Open Sans by Steve Matteson and Catamaran by Pria Ravichandran (hosted on Google Fonts), Formspree to create a non-PHP contact form, Let's Encrypt for the SSL certificate, and some icons by Open Iconic and Icon 54. I used ScreenToGif to create and gifsicle to optimize the animations of work samples. Image of banana peel by Max Ronnersjö, 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.