Shawn Allen Curriculum vitae
Hi. I'm Shawn Allen, a web designer and developer with a keen interest in data and systems. Here's what I've been up to professionally since I started working on the web in 2000.
Systems Designer c. 2017 - present
I’m part of small but nimble team that owns, builds, and maintains Primer, the design system that powers GitHub.com and many of the company’s marketing sites.
- I’m one of the core maintainers of the Primer CSS framework, and have undertaken several large projects to improve its visual consistency, release workflows, and developer experience.
- As a Design Systems first responder I’ve offered code review, one-on-one support, design, and development assistance with hundreds of pull requests to the github.com Rails application, and deepened my understanding of Ruby along the way.
- I’ve built and shared GitHub Actions for publishing npm dozens of packages and continuously deploying Primer web sites.
- I’ve lead efforts to measure and improve Primer coverage on GitHub.com.
- I’ve learned React on the job and jointly developed the Primer Components framework from scratch.
- I’ve ported several Primer web sites from Jekyll to Next.js, and then to Gatsby, and learned a ton about continuous deployment on Now.
Innovation Specialist (GS-15) c. 2014 - 2017
I serve in the U.S. government as a front end design lead at 18F, a division of the General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Service, alongside a brilliant team of designers, developers, product managers, strategists, and other wonderful, dedicated folks who are working to improve digital services for the American public.
- I’m the technical lead on the U.S. Web Design Standards, a style guide and front end toolkit that aims to make it easier for government web designers and developers to deliver beautiful and accessible experiences with a consistent look and feel. I’m also the sole maintainer of the Standards Jekyll theme.
- I’ve played a hybrid designer/developer role on projects large and small, leading front end efforts, doing research, and leading exercises that engage our agency partners in the design process.
- In my lead capacity, I’m a part-time mentor for three colleagues, who I meet with weekly to discuss their work and career goals.
Partner, Design Director c. 2005 - 2013
- Shepherded projects from business development and specification through development and delivery
- Provided technical front end direction for 5-10 projects at any given time, plus design and code assistance for a team of 4-6 design technologists
- Project-specific design, technical planning, full-stack development and deployment
- Provided technical guidance to local governments on the design of open data policies and implementation of their public interfaces
- Taught data visualization courses at public and private universities
- Gave talks and lectures for public and private audiences on data visualization and open data policy
- Performed and evaluated research & development of new tools and techniques
- Initiated and maintained open source projects such as Modest Maps, Prosthetic, and Sando
Contract Interaction Designer c. 2004 to 2005
- Developed an interactive learning application that guided employees of pharmaceutical manufacturer Sankyo through the drug development process
- Designed and developed a robust paginated text and image layout system in Flash for over 250 pages of content, and a complimentary content-driven, cross-linked navigation system
Contract Interaction Designer c. 2004
- Developed several interactive portions of the Patrón Spirits Flash site, including a map-based “spirit locator”, a timeline-based explanation of the spirit-making process, and a video player
Engineer 1 c. 2004
- Designed and developed an ActionScript-based UI development framework that was later adapted for use in a Sims franchise console game
- Aided the Flash interpreter development team by developing simple test cases for complex issues
- Worked with game programmers and designers to develop a workflow for getting Flash files from concept to production
UI Engineer c. 2003
- Built to completion a large portion of the user interface for The Sims Bustin’ Out console game
- Developed light-weight interfaces that ran in a custom Flash interpreter
- Collaborated with game programmers to design communication protocols between the UI and game engine
Web Engineer c. 2002 - 2003
- Developed collaborative web application for PR firms
- Built scalable PHP tools for parsing and rendering standard data formats, including vCal and vCard, to enable PIM and PDA synchronization over the web
- Ported a legacy database abstraction layer to a class-based system in PHP5
Hill & Knowlton
Web Engineer c. 2001 to 2002
- Re-wrote a PHP-based CMS from the ground up and added support for additional database engines, including PostgreSQL and Oracle
- Co-developed a suite of PHP web site and application development tools
- Developed web-based press room and file sharing applications and productivity tools
Interaction Designer c. 2000 to 2001
- Coordinated with design and information architecture teams to develop a variety of static and dynamic web sites using Flash, PHP and MySQL
- Developed a general-purpose PHP/MySQL content management system in use on dozens of web sites
- Built an XML-driven Flash presentation tool that was used by the sales team to successfully pitch several projects
- Participated in research and development of new tools and techniques
References available upon request.