First things first
Hi, I'm Andy and I'm 35, have 3 kids, 2 dogs (although one just gave birth so I now have 7....) and 1 fiancé.
I live in rural Fermanagh, Northern Ireland and work as a freelance web developer and consultant. My working hours will generally overlap most peoples but I am more than happy to adjust them to fit even better if required.
Except a few bar jobs as a youngster and a stint in a school (which I enjoyed a lot) I have always been a web developer. More specifically, I have been a WordPress developer.
What can I do?
“Don’t Raise Our Rents” was a campaign from the Scouts with the aim being to spread awareness and encourage the public to participate with various actions. There were a lot of guidelines that had to be adhered to regarding the colour scheme and layout and it was a fun challenge to stay within these boundaries. […]
As the developer working with another agency I was very involved with Florette, their website and their various marketing campaigns. I built numerous Facebook games for them, all of which were really popular and helped push new products. I also completely rebuilt their website from supplied designs.
When Bahlsen launched PiCK UP! to the UK market, the chicken/egg agency were tasked with bringing the brand, and the Ninja Chihuahua, alive through instore design, PR and social media. Launching with a Facebook competition with supporting sampling activity the Ninja Chihuahua hit the streets of London and invited consumers to trial a PiCK UP! […]
This was a great project to work on as a freelancer. It went so well in fact that the agency who gave me the project subsequently offered me a job! The app is entirely managed from the websites WordPress dashboard. The client can add work outs, edit workouts, respond to customers and manage all aspects […]
Brian Eno had an existing website supplied by a great digital music company who moved on to pastures new. Luckily for Secret Records (the record company who handle Brian Enos website) I had developed bespoke software aimed at the music industry that provided a complete solution to digital and physical e-commerce. Amongst a bunch of […]
Elite Inspirations organise all sorts of fashionable and stylish events and their website needed to reflect that. Jerrard Wayne Creatives did the design (and isn’t it amazing?) and we turned it in to a super funky and easy to maintain Events WordPress theme. We also build a custom Facebook app alongside the website to showcase […]
ChimpPress provided an interface for creating and managing your MailChimp campaigns without having to leave your WordPress dashboard. It also allows you to utilise MailChimps campaign sending and management tools to send automatic mailouts when ever a post/page/CPT is published. Features of ChimpPress Create bespoke HTML emails using the intuitive drag and drop editor. Add […]
This was a great project to work on and I am chuffed with the result. This website has been stuffed full of features including a whole range of bespoke gizmo’s like a Bespoke radio player, multiple bespoke WordPress plugins including a radio DJ schedule app with full backend control and a smooth bespoke theme. OnTop […]
Dot Architecture contacted me asking for a clean simple website. In fact, they really liked my old website, so that’s what I based it on. The website is full of subtle little enhancements that make the website really quirky and pleasant to navigate. As usual, it’s a WordPress theme, so the client has maximum control […]
“OCTAGON OCTAGON is THE forward thinking online magazine, bringing the freshest music, art, film, exhibitions, fashion and events that London has to offer! We explore exciting new talent as well the innovative established pioneers that molded them, offering a sick mix of in depth interviews, articles, online exhibitions and our very own channel OCTAGON TV […]
Dictate Away is an iPhone app that allows users to easily record audio whilst on the go. Speechwrite came to me needing an iPhone app that enabled their customers to use an iPhone to dictate and then send the audio to their network where it is processed and transcribed by Speechwrite’s software. The app needed […]
Let's see what we can do
Life is challenging sometimes. But to quote the great philosopher Rocky "It's not about how hard you hit, it's about how hard you can get hit and keep getting back up." A positive attitude is something I pride myself on. And since becoming a father I have made full use of my rights to make dad jokes. Be warned.
I believe this is a very big part of why we are here; To help others. As such, I run a few groups on Facebook. One for support for those who live with OCD (as I do), one for suicide awareness and one for finding lost dogs in my county (something I'm often found doing in my evenings and weekends).
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing
This is a value I strongly believe in and especially when it comes to clients. I have never advertised myself or bid on projects. All my work has come through word of mouth and that's the way I want it to be. I want to be hired for my value and my previous clients testimonials, not for my ability to write a pitch (although I'm a pretty good writer as well).
The one thing my kids will tell you they can get in trouble for is not telling the truth. Truth and accountability for that truth are cornerstones of a decent human for me.
I like to think that I have strong communication skills and have lots of experience of working as part of a remote team both as an employee and a freelancer. Being self employed for so long requires a level of self motivation that I have and if I weren't organised, I'm not sure I'd still be doing this. I have a "logical" brain and like to know how I'm going to complete a job before I get started so I can methodically work my way through it. Another skill I've leant as a freelancer (and as an employee actually) is the ability to work on multiple projects at once, prioritising and managing expectations. I am very used to working alone and have become a google search expert for when I need a syntax reminder.
I have worked with multisite before and find it exciting. I have also worked with BuddyPress which, whilst dated, has huge opportunity in my opinion.
I like DeployBot. That is all.
Don't take my word for it
Andy was the lead developer for the replatform of Carluccio's website (carluccios.com) onto the brand new BigCommerce-Wordpress integration. It was a ground-up rebuild as the old site was significantly out of date and - unusually for a replatform - was delivered on time and on budget.
I and my team were in frequent contact with Andy throughout the project, and he was consistently brilliant: quick to respond, able to suggest alternative faster/better ways to achieve a given goal, fast at delivering output and a pleasure to work with. As we were the first UK client to be using the new BC-WP integration there was a fair amount of learning to be done and problems to be solved. Andy always kept us very well informed about progress and successfully managed our expectations on deliverables and timelines. I would definitely choose to work with him again if the opportunity arose.
James Backhouse, CEO @ Skarp
Andy is one of those rare finds in that he's very cool, knows his stuff backwards, is uber creative and can help you discover possibilities you never thought of. He's also just a v good gent with strong ethics and professional ethos, he comes highly recommended from me.
Pip Piper, Director @ Blue Hippo Media
Its been a joy to benefit from Andy's expertise and creativity. He has been extremely customer focussed with us
Dr Karamat Iqbal, Director @ Forward Partnership
Andy has a rare skill of combing programming, UX and UI Aesthetics. This is a hard balance to achieve as coders are not always good and combing left and right brain activities. He understands briefs and taps into the need of the client with top level patience.
Andy is very genuine person and an absolute pleasure to work with. He is the first person I recommend to any of my clients and business associates.
Danny McMillan, Director @ DATAbrill UK Limited
Andy is a reliable young gentleman with creative flare and a broad technical ability in terms of online development and e-commerce. He's geeky but possesses that rare quality in a geek, the ability to communicate clearly and in a measured way that us mere mortals can understand. I think he's set for a great career and will prove to be a valuable asset to everyone he works with.
Chris Thompson, CEO @ Digital Animal
Andy worked at DA who we employed to supply a back-end e-commerce solution. I always found Andy to be both knowledgeable and enthusiastic and was impressed with his clear headedness.
Duncan Reid, Marketing strategist @ Digital Animal
How I work
An award winning, national
This award winning and very large law firm needed a rebrand and rebuild. As usual I was given flat designs after consulting on the design ideas in terms of their practicality of being developed. It was then my job to break down the designs and reproduce them pixel for pixel as a WordPress theme.
One of the remits for the new website was that it enabled users to quickly and easily find what they are looking for. However, I also wanted to present the user with relevant information that they may not have been looking for. For example, a user looking for legal advice about divorce may also be interested to know if their local office specialises in this. Furthermore, they may want to be able to see the actual lawyer that would be working on their case. So I built a system that linked information throughout the entire site. For example, a visitor may end up on the site via a blog post about divorce. They then see that the associated lawyer is Kate Bloggs so they click on her picture, read her bio, then see that she's in the Family Law department. The user can click on the Family Law department, watch a video from the head of department and see what services that department offers. They then see Mediation as an available service and realise that that may be relevant for them as well, hence encouraging the user to engage the client in numerous, profit making ways.
The site contains a lot of information, all of which needed to be easily and quickly accessible. We tried a few WordPress search plugins but none of them would index related items as per the services, sectors, offices and people as above. So I wrote a plugin that indexed the content (which the client could adjust and update) and then cached those results in a quickly searchable table until anything was updated in the backend, at which point the cache was cleared and updated. On the front end I implemented an ajax search box that displayed rich content as the user typed as well as a filterable results page if the user wanted to search further.
Following the launch of the new website, it won an innovation award. I am very proud of that. :)
A celebrity chef, multi-national
A very large and well known restaurant chain needed a new website following a huge rebranding of all of their locations. As part of the rebrand, a new e-commerce offering was to be added to the site. The client partnered with BigCommerce and I was the first person to use the WordPress plugin built by Modern Tribe to integrate BC in to WordPress. The plugin needed some wrangling but I built an "add on" plugin that provided the functionality that was needed and also won me an international award for the BigCommerce / WordPress work.
Initially I was involved the design process in terms of giving advice around whether certain design elements could realistically be turned in to the desired functionality within the budget and timeframe. Once the designs were completed and signed off I was given flat designs. It was then my task to turn those designs in to a dynamic and pixel perfect WordPress theme.
One of the big challenges of this website was that the client wanted to be able to create new page layouts from the backend. I broke down the designs they sent through and made modules out of each element. For example, there was a row element, within which the number of columns could be defined. Within those columns they could then place various elements such as text, images, videos, links to other parts of the site, table booking widgets and so on. The colours of the site were also controlled globally so with a few clicks, they could change the entire look and feel of the site. I also built a design change timer which meant that they could set up a new design, preview it and then schedule it to go live when it suited them.
The client chose BigCommerce as their e-commerce partner and as such I worked a lot with the BigCommerce for WordPress plugin and the team behind building it. This part of the job was probably the most challenging as it involved using pre release software in a live and profit making website. This is not something I would ever recommend but with enough hard work and wrangling of code, I made it not only work, but work really well. BigCommerce is one of many solutions available for those needing e-commerce however, within a WordPress environment I would advise a more mature product like WooCommerce. That said, not only did this aspect of the project work out great and allow the client to generate lots of income by selling their ingredients, recipe books and gifts, the work done on it won an award.
Like any restaurant, the client needed to have their menus displayed online. They use a third party menu manager that allows them to ensure that their online and printed menus all display the same data. I wrote an integration with the third party API to query the menu, save the data and periodically update the menus when the data changes. I then built a front end that encompassed real time filtering for ingredients and dietary preferences.
As an international and famous chain, there were numerous locations that all needed catering for. As such, I built a section in the backend for managing restaurants quickly and easily. Photos could be added, facilities updated, dynamic ("open now", "opening in 2 hours" etc ) opening hours (including one off times like christmas) and contact details were all easily editable. On the front end, the site will locate the user if they've allowed permission or ask the user for another location and display restaurants by nearest first with handy distance estimations. This was really fun to build as it was an essential part of the site and relatively easily achieved.