Portfolio | Michael C. Thompson

Hi! I’m Michael. I’m a UI/UX-focused web developer based just outside of Atlanta. My focus is creating user-friendly and heavily responsive web pages and apps. I've actually been playing with websites since I was in my late teens, and being able to develop and design for the web has been a dream come true.

Let me apologize if this portfolio may seem a little bare. A lot of my work from 2021 and prior is either no longer being used, or was backend work (such as PHP or custom data analytics dashboards designed with Google Data Studio) that I’m not permitted to share or preserve. I’m also not including sites that I’ve done ad-hoc work for. These are all projects that I was in charge of layout (sometimes including design) and front-end development, as well as any other problem-solving requirements.

Outside of front-end development, my interests and hobbies include spending time with my wife and our four cats and tiny dog, expanding my massive collection of and researching or playing modern and retro video games, finding new restaurants with tasty food, and watching terrible movies to make fun of (though I do enjoy the occasional quality film.)

If you wish to reach out regarding my work or potential project opportunities, feel free to reach out to me with the options listed in the Contact Section.

CURRENT AVAILABILITY:
Michael is AVAILABLE for REMOTE roles and opportunities.

ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE

Fantastic Fest (2023)

Technologies/Skills used: HTML5/CSS3, Webflow, JavaScript, Third Party API integration, Figma

The Highball

Technologies/Skills used: HTML5/CSS3, Webflow

Flying Guillotine (2022-2024)

Technologies/Skills used: HTML5/CSS3, Webflow

Video Vortex Raleigh

Unused Bar Landing Pages

These were part of a project to provide each bar within Alamo Drafthouse their own unique landing page. The project was ultimately cancelled, with only the websites for The Highball and Flying Guillotine launching live. However, there were nine other landing pages that I completed before the project was abandoned. These were all created with Webflow, but may include some custom coding (JavaScript and/or CSS.)

Please note that links go to developer builds, and may include placeholder copy or inaccurate information. For accurate information on Alamo Drafthouse's venues, please visit their website.

Video Vortex Los Angeles

Pandora's Box

Barfly

Departures

Barrel O' Fun

The Meaning Of Bar

House of Wax

400 Rabbits

OTHER PROJECTS & PAST DEMOS

Studio Anni (2016 - Ongoing)

Technologies/Skills used: HTML5/CSS3, PHP, MySQL, JavaScript, API Integration (Stripe), Bootstrap

While I was completing my associate's degree, I built this website in my spare time for my wife, a professional artist who sells original paintings as well as taking commissions. Unlike most of my projects, this is one where I handle backend duties and database management as well as front-end duties, data analytics, and image editing work (everything from logo design to photo restoration tasks.) The site itself was built from scratch with PHP, a little bit of Bootstrap and JavaScript where needed, a MySQL database for product management, and utilizes Stripe’s API for payment processing.

The website has not only earned new customers since it launched, but has also helped her come across new opportunities, including having her work featured in the motion picture Like A Boss from Paramount. I still maintain and update the site when needed, in addition to many other duties.

ReverendCrush.com v. 1.0 (2024)

Technologies/Skills used: React v.18, SASS, HTML (JSX), JavaScript, API Integration (BlueSky Social/AT Protocol), Git, Cursor (Visual Studio Code), Paint.Net

The goal of specifically this "Version 1.0" ReverendCrush.com is really just to serve to promote a (rather snarky) BlueSky Social account for an old acquaintance and collaborator, along to serve as a "Linktree Alternative." It actually began as a fork to an uncompleted version of what would have been this site, built in React. That version, dubbed "MCT6|30" with a bar, was put on indefinite hiatus when I was hired full time for a long-term contract position by Alamo Drafthouse. The version of my portfolio that you're viewing now, redubbed MCT630 (sans bar), was developed with a much more calmer theme in mind with Webflow since I myself don't have any actual need for a JavaScript Framework just to showcase my past work (at this time, anyway), and it was quicker to develop than MCT6|30 was coming along when I was working on that, even with the extra time went into planning a layout for this version of my portfolio.

That being said, with the need for implementing and heavily working with BlueSky Social's API (and technically YouTube's, though nowhere as involved) as well as the need for user friendly functionality for such a component, the remains of the MCT6|30 project actually served as a much better solution than trying to inject API-related code into something like Webflow; there was already a skeleton of an incredibly responsive single-page app with a lot of special effects as well as packages that could easily be reapplied to this project's aesthetic theme. Theoretically, I could have used Webflow to design some of the more static elements, but I honestly felt like it would have been too much trouble to export Webflow-generated code and reapply it from HTML to JSX (plus exporting the CSS to various SCSS files), and in this case there was no need; 50% of the design was already there, plus I really didn't need Webflow. I was given free reign to experiment with an Anti-Design philosophy, since nothing is being sold or marketed other than a BlueSky account that already has somewhat of a countercultural slant to begin with that (along with the lack of image assets available) making it a worthy candidate for such an approach. I also saw it as a challenge to keep it readable and UX-friendly as possible. As pointed out by this Built In article on Anti-Design aesthetic, it comes with limitations such as reduced accessibility and the tendency to be less user-friendly. Those issues just happen to be those that I specialize in addressing, so I'd like to think that I overcame those challenges with both the final design, it's functionality and the overall user experience, especially considering that BlueSky Social's community has a large following of people with disabilities. Hopefully, I managed to organize the chaos for everyone.

While MCT6|30's aesthetic would have been more about flickering neon lights and one animated faux console prompt in the header, ReverendCrush.com is more loud and flashy towards the direction of 80's CRT style monitors, retro video game/terminal fonts, multiple (non-animated) faux-console prompts and glowing text with scanlines. The latter was a theme I was familiar with after a similar project for Alamo Drafthouse (see the Video Vortex landing pages under "Unused Alamo Bar Sites"), though nothing I custom coded for that project was re-used here. The navigation menu, using the react-burger-menu package, was another a holdover left from MCT6|30 that was kept for ReverendCrush.com since the effect still looked amazing on mobile and desktop.

About 90% of the development on this project was for the BlueSky component seen on the main page alone. It pulls the most current 100 of the author's posts (be it from them or anyone they repost and/or anyone they quote-post) from BlueSky Social along with any media included such as images, YouTube videos (which embed straight on the website), or cards to other websites, and then paginates them in a fun, 80's CRT video game/computer style interface that is very easy to use and, despite using pixelated fonts, easy to read across all devices. Unlike most social media displays, this component doesn't display the number interactions such as likes, comments and reposts. Rather, they're calculated into one "Banger Score" ("Banger" being a term referring to a very funny or otherwise amazing post) that's displayed with each post. This component also includes a leaderboard for the 25 posts out of the recent 100 with the highest scores, displaying much like an old arcade video game to go along with the theme with some extra styling based on the position.
During the midst of the project, I switched code editors, going from Visual Studio to Cursor, an AI-powered fork of Visual Basic with GPT4 integrated as well as several other AI-powered bells and whistles. While I'll admit that having AI baked into my code editor is extremely convenient and greatly reduced the time spent on the rest of the project (specifically debugging, addressing errors and some research), I feel the need to stress to anyone wanting to integrate AI into their dev environment, especially junior developers or higher-ups looking to cut corners, that AI will not build your project for you. You absolutely still need to have a fairly good grasp of the languages and/or framework you're working in, but also development principles. It's only going to be as good as you are. That said, if utilized properly, it can actually be a really efficient tool not only to help code, but to also become a better programmer.

I probably gained more React experience from this little project than any "To-Do List" tutorial, and I'm really thankful to have the opportunity to work on this one. I hope there's more for this project down the road, because this project was a lot of fun without being a total pushover, and I really enjoy working in React. I just wish more people would pay me to do it! The project is available on my GitHub, but the code to specifically the BlueSky functionality can be found in the Git repository under src/components. It's set up to where it can be reused, if forked and implemented in a React project.

Starry Night Art Studio (2023)

Technologies/Skills used: HTML5/CSS3, Figma, DNS Hostname configuration and other basic new domain preparation tasks, Paint.net

For the two weeks before the Christmas holiday in 2023, I was hired part-time by a friend-of-a-friend who needed a website that showcased her ceramic artwork and paintings, in addition to a page that included her artist bio and statement, as well as very simple storefront to sell some of her artwork.

I was brought on to plan and design the layout, implement it in a popular web hosting platform that the client already had an account for so that it could be easily edited and kept up to date as needed without the requirement of a full time developer, and to advise the client on a number of aspects to the website, such as getting an affordable and SEO-friendly domain name registered and additions/placements of certain elements (CTAs, a block featuring her latest Instagram, etc.)

I chose a color scheme that, while still a dark theme, was still vibrant and paid homage to Vincent Van Gogh's use of yellow. Since I wasn't given much copy to work with, it allowed for a more busy main page with some animation. Overall, this was a pretty smooth short project where I was allowed to be creative. Those are always the most fun!

Brutal Gaming Quiz (2019)

Technologies/Skills used: HTML/CSS3, JavaScript

This is a simple video game trivia quiz I built for a content producer who wrote the questions for this. It was thrown together just using base HTML/CSS3 and JavaScript. It was suggested during development to implement some way to at least narrow down some of the options which is why you’ll see a “Cheat” button. Though even the hints that were written are really vague. The highest I’ve heard of anyone legitimately taking this thing is 80%, but even the most seasoned retro video gaming enthusiast tends to have issues with this thing (I think I managed to score a 40% when I first took it.)

The color scheme is based on the Nintendo Famicom, the Japanese version of the original Nintendo Entertainment System. It’s pretty heavily built with mobile in mind, perhaps more so than on desktop than I would like. The Cheat feature's "PROTIP" font is directly lifted from the "PROTIP" captions seen in GamePro, a video game magazine from the 1980's-2000's.

There is some desire on all parties involved to create a new version of this now that ReverendCrush.com actually has a homepage built on a JavaScript framework and is currently featuring this project as a placeholder for one of its sections, but no concrete plans have been made (that I'm aware of.)

RPS-9 Game (2018)

Technologies/Skills used: HTML/CSS3, JavaScript

RPS-9 is a somewhat wilder take on Rock-Paper-Scissors, and yet somehow it’s one of the tamer variants of RPS one can find on the Internet. I needed a refresher in JavaScript at the time, but I didn’t want to make just the same old simple RPS exercise as that’s boring to not only play, but also code. So I chose to make one based on the RPS-9 ruleset, and to make it exciting.

There are three game play modes based on the number of rounds, 10, 25 and 50. Rather than just “Rock”, “Scissors” and “Paper” options, you have six other options including “Gun” and “Sponge”, each with their own weaknesses and strengths. To make it a bit more interesting, I took the original rule set and set a point system in place. Gestures are worth different points to either you or the computer on a win depending on how “weak” or “strong” they are against one another. So, even if you suffer nothing but losses in the first five rounds, you can easily make a comeback with a couple of “strong” gestures.. It’s kind of a double edged sword in a way. Also, I don’t recommend doing that thing some people do while playing regular Rock-Scissors-Paper where you pick the same gesture (usually “Rock”, let’s be real) like several times in a row hoping they’ll slip up. I designed it to where the computer will pick up on picking the same gesture several times in a row and always counter with something strong or “average” strength. I didn’t really spend a lot of time working on the visual aspect so much as the logic, as this was meant to be more of a programming exercise than a serious project. It's responsive across all platforms, but not the best aligned.

Cute, Happy, Pretty Things (2018, unused)

Technologies/Skills used: HTML/CSS3, JavaScript, Figma

I was commissioned by an artist friend who was familiar with my work to design and build a very minimalist. lightweight and responsive landing page showcasing some of her work and commission fees and guidelines. First, I created a sort of an “advanced wireframe”, which is sort of a rough mock-up using Figma. This mockup includes some minimal styling, such as fonts, body colors and images. It’s not meant to replace a full-blown mockup designed in Adobe Illustrator, but it helps when I’m creating any kind of website from scratch.

When I presented it to my friend, she was actually really happy with what was in the mock-up, and only had a few suggestions. I spent a few hours one afternoon going “font shopping” and putting together this page with simple HTML5/CSS3, based on her feedback of wanting to focus on a “cute and simple” motif. It’s technically unused as she put commission work on indefinite hiatus (Yes, I still got paid!), though a version without contact information is hosted for preservation purposes, and could possibly still be used in the future... but honestly, I could do much better these days (especially on mobile), and probably faster.

WordPress Golf Project (2017, canceled)

Technologies/Skills used: HTML5/CSS3, WordPress, JavaScript, Bootstrap

One of the projects I worked on when I was a Junior Web Developer was for a redesign of one of my company’s several websites. Like the previous site that I had just finished some work on for the company, I built it on WordPress with a customized theme based on requests from management, including one request for the addition of a “Quick Menu” in the header, alongside a traditional navigation bar. One change that I had suggested was hiding this “Quick Menu” on the mobile version of the page, since it didn’t seem to serve much purpose other than to have additional links that are already in the navigational menu, and would be more of a hindrance when viewed on mobile. Since they were mostly concerned about how the site looked on desktop, this change was approved without any issue, though I absolutely made sure it was responsive on mobile.

While the work on the website was finished and approved by management (pending some verbiage changes), the company was absorbed in a merger before the site could be launched, and this project got the axe. The version archived here has had all of the original verbiage replaced with placeholder text, and does not mention the company's name or products.

CONTACT

If you have any need for a very motivated front-end developer for your next project, or otherwise have any questions about my work, the fastest way to reach me is this contact form. Please keep in mind that I may not respond outside of normal business hours on the American East Coast. Also, if you would like more in-depth information about my prior experience and skills, I invite you to take a look at my LinkedIn page for more details. I also respond to direct mentions over at a timely manner, if you wish to connect that way.

Please note that I only work remote from just outside Atlanta, and will only work with clients within the United States.

CONTACT FORM