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Welcome to maxwell.fyi

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 aesthetic and intuitive 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 max@maxwell.fyi.

Work samples

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

Connecting university students to resources

Various web interfaces created or redesigned for George Washington University. 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: https://maxwell.fyi · max@maxwell.fyi

What I can do for you:

Translate your conceptual goals into digital deliverables by building intuitive interfaces made strong by clean, robust 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

I will proactively seek out the appropriate solution to each problem, be it with an Illustrator design, a Bash script, or anything in between, to give you a successful product and satisfying user experience.

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 Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 websites, with the aim of easing content editors' ability to promote student resources while reducing development bottlenecks, unknowns, and costly retrofitting:
    • Requirements gathering and project scoping
    • Production of interactive and responsive mock-ups for use in usability testing
    • Site configuration and evaluation of contributed modules
    • Custom theme development using Sass/CSS, Twig, JS/jQuery, integrating 3rd-party libraries and APIs, reviewing for accessibility compliance, and light PHP development
    • Participation in code review, debugging, and QA, and streamlining of our Git workflow
    • Maintenance of site via Drush, backup script coding, and server migration consultations
  • Built interactive SVG floor maps improving user experience by linking from library catalog results to the exact location on physical shelves
  • Collaborated with colleagues across the organization to meet their content-creation needs, consulting on accessibility best practices, incorporation of CSS and JS, and special features
  • Taught workshops for students, staff, and faculty on Adobe Illustrator and HTML/CSS
  • Produced artwork to advertise workshops, lectures, exhibits, and other events

OERPUB · Interaction Designer

Publishing initiative for open educational resources (OER) · 12/2011–04/2014

  • Scripted high-fidelity functional mock-ups from scratch that drove the development direction of an online WYSIWYG editor that allows novice authors to edit professional-quality textbooks
  • Quantified the relative success of interactive features by conducting 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 navgational access to thousands of research items
  • Fixed XSLT errors and added requested features to the output of 500 XML documents

Rice University · 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 2018 and 2019, Drupal GovCon 2018 and 2019, AccessU 2019, and regularly attend DC-area Drupal Meetups
  • Courses: Enrolled in half-day and multiday trainings on ES6, Composer, and PHP development
  • Languages: Upper intermediate proficiency in Spanish, both written and oral (ILR 3, CERF B2)
  • Intercultural experience: 2 years residency and remote work in Chile and Mexico (2015-16)
  • Residence: US citizen, currently in Washington, DC, open to relocation and remote work

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


The making of

I used Jekyll and few other Ruby gems to be able to make the site bilingual without code duplication, 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 managed 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. I've tried to ensure responsive styling with each design, and had some fun in some 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, 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.