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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

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: http://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 design for multiple GWLAI web presences, producing interactive and responsive mock-ups, graphic assets, and production code and configuration on Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 websites to increase student access to a variety of university resources
  • Created interactive SVG floor maps that link from library catalog results to show users a book’s exact location on the physical shelves
  • Collaborated with colleagues across GWLAI to meet their content-creation needs, consulting on accessibility best practices, CSS capabilities, and JavaScript incorporation
  • Led workshops for students, staff, and faculty on Adobe Illustrator and HTML/CSS
  • Produced artwork to advertise workshops, lectures, and training events (60 per semester) as well as for exhibits and handouts
  • Contributed to ongoing maintenance of web presences via debugging of technical problems, design of new interfaces and special features, accessibility improvements, and QA testing

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

  • 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 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

Cross-Cultural Experience and Skills

  • Fluent in Spanish at upper intermediate proficiency, both written and oral (ILR 3, CERF B2)
  • Strong intercultural competencies based on 2 years residency in Chile and Mexico (2015-16)

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, I managed and committed the code with Git commands (pushed to BitBucket and directly to my web host sometimes via Cygwin and other times in Ubuntu via VirtualBox), learned more about creating and animating SVG images, used Jekyll (and other 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 by yours truly from scratch.

Don't like the look and feel of this webpage? You can change its style to previous designs: 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 icons by Open Iconic and Icon 54, and ScreenToGif to create and gifsicle to optimize 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.