Matchstick Media Production

Online Portfolio for the Web Sites Built and Managed by Matt Slaybaugh

United Nations

un.org

I first began working at the United Nations in the Summer of 2001 (Fall 2001 was an interesting time to be there) as a database developer and ASP programmer for the Global Teaching and Learning Project, which maintained a site called The Cyber School Bus. Unfortunately it looks like the applications I developed have not been maintained, but while there I worked with a designer and content person to create several interactive activities designed for teachers around the world to be able to use UN-gathered data in class activities.

Later I did freelance web development work for other offices at the UN including DPKO (Dept. of Peacekeeping Operations) and the Office of the Iraq (Oil-forFood) Programme. This was mostly front-end HTML work. We had tight restrictions on the “page-weight” of the site, meaning the HTML and all dependent images, style sheets, etc. could not add up to more than some number of kilobytes (something like 35 or 50KB, if I recall). The reason for this is that many of the people accessing the site were using “primitive” access technology, such as a dial-up modem over an unreliable telephone line. The result of this was a design style that had to put function ahead of form.

We also had to create Arabic language versions of all of our sites (as well as French and other official UN languages). Arabic was the biggest challenge, both because the characters are all double-byte encoded and because the language reads right-to-left.