making the site


Thank you for visiting me at io studio.

Simply put, I’m a web developer for designers and art directors who prefer to have someone else add functionality to their websites and web applications.

For those of you who prefer to collaborate with a programmer who creates code as flawless as your design, come in and let’s talk about how I can help.

the studio

The studio is me. Christina Reeser. I started developing websites in 1995. And I love it. I stay very much in-tune with what is new and unique in website and web application programming. I’m thoughtful, and take great care with your design and your intent. I have close resources I consistently use for more elaborate Flash, 3D rendering and illustration. And I have high standards. I follow best practices, and my code is quite frankly… beautiful.

the planet

One of the four moons of Jupiter, Io (eye-oh) has great, billowing volcanic geisers with plumes rising over 190 miles up, and mountains taller than those on earth. Discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610, it’s one of the most exotic planets in the solar system. And also the one with the shortest name. According to NASA, Io looks “like a giant pizza covered with melted cheese and splotches of tomato and ripe olives.”

the myth

In Greek mythology, royal houses can be traced back to Three Main Houses–Atlas, Deucalion and Io. Io was a priestess to the goddess Hera, and Io had a little thing going with Hera’s husband, Zeus. In order to hide Io from his wife, Zeus turned her into a cow. Then Hera wanted the cow as a gift. So poor io was stuck to wander the earth as a cow. The story goes on, but if mythology is for you, there’s plenty here:

io sites

It’s not about quantity (although there are over 300 websites out there with my programmer DNA on them). It’s about the process that results in quality. How I work with designers, and how their design intelligently turns into a flawless site, is what makes for a better-functioning, aesthetically-pleasing website. So please explore these few case studies. And if you want to see more sites, drop me a line.

{ H&A Solutions }

What they wanted:
H&A Solutions is a Marketing and Design Agency in Durham, NC. They wanted website that was clean and simple but stylish. The redesign was done quickly and affordably.

How we built it together:
The designer provided illustrator files and great ideas but relied on me to find the right tools to implement the vision.

What I did:
I ended up using a touch of flash, some jquery, and a lightbox gallery to create a site that achieved the look the agency wanted. I took extra care to make certain the pages were still visible and functional to users who have javascript disabled.

One interesting feature was the unique “radio button” navigation. Code-wise, it is fully search-engine friendly. Google doesn’t see dots, it sees text links that can be indexed and added to the search database. It is also accessible to people who rely on screen readers.

{ CCCBox }

What they wanted:
I’ve worked with 224 Design on dozens of projects and this was the most exciting and challenging to date. Not only was the design unique – featuring unusual navigation, a custom vertical scrollbar, and graphical product rollovers – but the site also needed to be a full content management system, easily updateable by the client.

“Christina is the only programmer I want to work with. She's enjoyable, talented, and if she has to move something around, it still looks great. All of her websites or interactive pieces have worked flawlessly, and my clients have been thrilled with the outcome and the price. And she never, ever, has missed a deadline.”
~ Karen Chase

How we built it together:
Karen provided a complete layered Photoshop file that provided the direction she wanted for the site, but she allowed me the flexibility I needed to achieve her goals. I created several static HTML pages that demonstrated the functionality before the CMS implementation.

What I did:
I selected TextPattern as the CMS. I was able to implement the complex design, but keep the back-end simple for her client. With just a few clicks, the client can update several photo galleries and modify all text and content.

Testing is critical to all my projects. Despite the complexity, this site works beautifully on Internet Explorer 6+, Firefox 1.5+, Safari, Chrome and Opera.

{ Fultz Marketing }

What they wanted:
While Fultz has a team of talented designers and web developers who created their Website, they called on me to code the site while they focused on the needs of their clients.

How we built it together:
The web designer I worked with is also a talented developer. He had a clear vision of how he wanted the site to function, even which scripts might best achieve his goals. It was a very collaborative project and it was a delight to work with someone who truly understands the medium.

What I did:
The site needed to stay true to the designer’s vision so I would code the pages, screen capture them and compare them to the actual photoshop file to make sure things were “pixel perfect”.

The homepage features random testimonials and a sliding panel. The navigation is in a fixed position and the page slides underneath it. I also added a “sticky footer” that positions itself on the bottom on the screen.

Making this site look and behave properly on IE 6 was quite a challenge, but with a few nifty css tricks, I was able to make it perform beautifully.

{ Practice Wise MATCH Application }

What they wanted:
This project was web application that provides guided treatment to children with psychological problems. The goal was to create a dynamic and interactive application that was web-based, platform-independent, and fully downloadable.

“In a word, Christina is exceptional! She is creative, conscientious, responsive, and always professional. Her knowledge and ability to integrate both technical and creative issues have yielded wonderful solutions to complex problems. We have worked with her on several projects and she remains at the top of our "go to" list.”
~ Eric Daleiden

How we built it together:
It seems that some people can do almost everything, like be a doctor, a researcher, a writer, and architect a software application. Such people could probably be programmers too if they had the inclination. But lucky for me, Eric had no such inclination (although his code is quite good.)

My job was to take his ideas and find the best, most efficient technology to make it happen. What a reward! I was able to work with brilliant people to create something that will help providers treat children. That feels pretty awesome at the end of the day.

What I did:
I served as the designer, programmer and tester for this project. There is an abundance of jquery awesomeness in this site that allowed it to be dynamic, interactive, and seamless in it's navigation.

{ Chocklett Press }

What they wanted:
Another website by the amazing Karen Chase! Karen wanted to create a website that captured the history of an established printer, but introduced the new company name in a big way.

How we built it together:
Karen's design was challenging. Her initial navigation concept would have involved Flash, which I discouraged. She was happy with the compromise. We ended with with a site that was SEO friendly and still looked great.

What I did:
This complex design was achieve with clean, compliant and (shall I say beautiful) code. View the source code and see for yourself. Interestingly, there’s not a single image used in the basic html template. The style sheet handles everything, making the site is print and search engine friendly.

Since this site has many large graphics, I spent a great deal of time with optimization, using tools like FireBug to ensure I was keeping it as minimal as possible.

I also had some fun with the custom portfolio. In order to make it easy to maintain, I used an iframe and a single html page for each category. The images are loaded using an array. A jquery fade is used to for transitions, and transparent png images provide navigation.

Since this site has a flash intro, I added a script to check for iPhones. Since iPhones don’t support flash, users go directly to the main page of the site. And because I'm a stickler about such things, the site degrades gracefully for users with older browsers.

technical bits

I create static sites and content management systems (CMS) –all using best practices.

What I love, is to slice designs into valid XHTML, semantically correct, search-engine-optimized and cross-browser compliant XHTML/CSS code. Scripting is no problem. I work with javascript, ajax, php, and jquery, too. For clients who want to maintain their own website or make frequent updates, a CMS may be the right choice. Because no single CMS fits every company, I work with three of them - Drupal, TextPattern and WordPress.

Every site can be developed to include any social media networking links or special features. I also provide regular maintenance for many of the websites I create.

the process

Working with me is easy. It’s collaboration. It’s working with you before you begin to design, while you’re in the middle of it, and/or once you’ve built something we can then develop together. I can help you field questions for clients, or speak to them directly. I don’t program in a bubble that excludes you. How easy is it?

~ You provide the concept and project overview ~
~ We chat about needs and wants ~
~ I provide a flat-fee estimate ~
~ You provide the design ~
~ I create beautiful code ~
~ You review the site continuously ~
~ We launch ~

so beautiful

A butterfly is so beautiful. Perfectly symmetrical wings. Radiant and muted colors shimmering in light. And in addition to that lovely form? Function. The wings absorb light and heat to provide power to the butterfly. The wings defy regular aerodynamic laws to allow for quick turns from predators, and to navigate flights over hundreds of miles.

‘So beautiful’ will be a blog is about things, ideas, words, images, and more that I find truly lovely, inspiring, or where functionality meets form. Check back soon for more information.


There are many ways for us to begin. Send me an email. Call me. I can review a design. Or we can talk about the needs and wants of your client. Where shall we begin?