Tags filed under ‘utlaw’

UT Law on the Go: New iPhone Web App

Screenshots of the UT Law iPhone app

Trying to keep up with the proverbial Joneses, today we launched an iPhone / iPod Touch mobile web app for the University of Texas School of Law. If you want to check it out on your iPhone right away, fire up the following link in Safari: http://www.utexas.edu/law/m/

I built it from the ground up with PHP, JavaScript, and a bit of elbow grease, pulling data from a handful of existing sources both on-campus and off. It makes use of the iUI JavaScript framework, which is a great resource for getting up and running quickly (but which also has some drawbacks — I’ll likely switch to pure jQuery for the next major version, but I’m also keeping an eye on the jQTouch project). A quick rundown of the features of the web app:

  • Directory Search — if you’re affiliated with UT Law School you can search our internal phone and email directory by name or department, using the native iPhone apps to place calls and send emails directly,
  • Event listings and Notices pulled from our existing calendar and Law Mail announcement systems,
  • RSS feed view of our press releases,
  • Recent Twitter posts from our Communications office (this will make more sense when/if we have more than one Twitter account posting official news, and can combine them into one stream here),
  • Maps: detailed building maps, Google maps that use the iPhone location services to guide you to our building, KML-based maps of public parking, nearby hotels, and restaurants,
  • and a psuedo-iPhone style photo gallery that’s pulled from our existing mini-gallery on the regular website, adding the ability to flick through the images (did you know that Mobile Safari adds nifty JavaScript events for multi-touch gesture support? I didn’t until this project…)

There are a lot of things already in the works for the next iteration. The number one goal is to support other popular devices, to live up to the ideal of “one web, any browser”. As a developer who has wrestled against the wide range of inconsistent desktop browsers and all of their HTML and CSS inconsistencies over the years, though, it was really, really, nice to work with a single browser that already supports HTML5 and CSS3 presentation out of the box. Now I’m spoiled.

UT Law: Border Wall Working Group

Border Wall Working Group

Another simple site for the University of Texas School of Law, this time for a working group dedicated to investigating the political and cultural implications of the Texas/Mexico border wall currently being erected. The main challenge for the design was to appeal both to the general public looking for basic information about the activities of the group while primarily serving as a clearing house for hundreds of declassified government documents and other academic material about the wall.

Clinical Education at UT Law

Clinical Education at UT Law

The new Clinical Education at UT Law site, showcasing the large number of community outreach programs available at the school that bring together upperclass students with real-world legal experience and service.

Institute for Transnational Law

Foreign Law Translations

This summer I had the pleasure of designing and coding one of our largest recent projects at UT Law: the new system that would house the collection of English translations of international law for the Institute for Transnational Law. The previous version of the system was an ungainly assortment of static, invalid .html and .shtml SSI files that were inherited from another university (meaning no offense), and at a couple of thousands pages deep it was a bear to maintain. The new version of the site is now available for your perusal.

We consulted with main campus ITS to build the perl scripts that culled the juicy bits from the old html, the resultant data scrubbed a bit and dropped neatly into an Oracle database. After a few strong shots of relational SQL kung fu and a bit of object-oriented PHP, everything is up and running efficiently. The front end display is now (mostly) valid XHTML, with CSS for the visual styling. Google’s much happier, I’m much happier, and hopefully the refreshed site will help make this important legal resource even more visible and valuable.

LTS: Law Technology Services

LTS Mousepad

I designed all of the branding for our in-house technology department at the UT School of Law, including the logo, color scheme, and website. The department had recently undergone a restructuring and a name change (we were formerly called “Internet Initiatives”), and it was time to reposition ourselves as a more service-oriented and forward-reaching organization. This particular graphic was used as “marketing” for our site in the form of mouse pads given out to all faculty and staff.

CLEO Edge 2007 UT Law Advertisement

CLEO Edge 2007 Advertisement

I’ve been commissioned on three occasions to make print ads for the University of Texas School of Law to appear in CLEO Edge magazine, a publication for minorities seeking information about education in the legal field. I don’t usually do much print work, so I enjoyed having the chance to lay out some type, play with CMYK inks, and work with the excellent photography of Mark Rutkowski (which I heavily tweaked in Photoshop — sorry, Mark!).

Lost in Townes Hall?

The University of Texas School of Law is housed in three interconnected buildings, and is noted as being one of the more labyrinthine sets of hallways on campus, so I’m pleased to report that the new maps I designed are officially live. They’ve been redrawn from the ground up (literally!) using Illustrator, which gives us the ability to spit them out in pretty much any format or size we want while keeping the ease-of-editing very high. Also new are the PDF versions that allow for zooming and text searching, handy for finding that obscure room number or named classroom. This new design replaces our old set of inaccurate, flat .gif files, so I’m very happy with the results…

UT Law: Freshlaw Central (2007)

UT Law Freshlaw 2007

Freshlaw Central is a site on the University of Texas School of Law’s site aimed at incoming 1L’s (freshman law students, basically, hence the name). The design usually changes every other year to keep things moving forward, and this year the theme went sort of blog-gy and plain but finally with a stronger use of photography.

William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law

William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law

Website design for the William Wayne Justice Center at the University of Texas School of Law, an organization established for the purpose of promoting public interest law and equal justice in legal education (both things that I admire!). The site needed to match the existing print material provided by the center while still fitting in as an official UT Law site. Thankfully dark browns and gold tones work very nicely with burnt orange, and somehow I even managed to evoke the metallic inks of the print brochure. One of the few (only?) light-text-on-dark-background pages amongst the other 10,000 or so pages on the UT Law site! The interior pages switch to a much more readable dark text on white background, at least.

UT Law Homepage Buttons

UT Law Homepage Buttons

When I revamped the UT Law homepage back in 2005, one of the previous homepage’s design elements had to be sent out to pasture: the single “rotating” highlight button that accompanied each major news or event announcement. They were very time-consuming for a tiny shop like ours as they had to be made by hand using Photoshop each time an event came along, and setting the type was always tricky (there’s a reason that the newer design featured buttons separated from their headlines!). I miss working with these, though — they were a good exercise in design, photography, and typography. Above are a handful of my favorites out of the hundreds I ended up creating.