typefirst

past work

Hello! I’m Kyle. I design ways for people to communicate and access information online.

I’ve led technical teams in startups, designed and built custom web applications from the ground up, and worked with interdisciplinary groups in unstructured environments. These wide-ranging experiences have taught me the value of spur-of-the-moment creativity — also the importance good processes, best practices, and clear agreements.

If you have an interesting project of spirit and integrity that involves web technology, please contact me. I’d love to help.

If you’re in need of stellar social media marketing, WordPress or WooCommerce development, or online strategy for your venture, I partner with the highly talented Mhairi Petrovic at Out-Smarts Marketing.

Here’s some work I’ve done in the past.

Riipen

Lead Developer
2017–2018

Skills:

  • Technical architecture
  • Extensive refactoring
  • Full-stack development
  • Documentation
  • Code review
  • Hiring
  • Mentorship
  • node.js
  • Sequelize
  • React
  • Redux
  • Webpack

At Riipen, I lead improvements in the quality and maintainability of a codebase that showed the tell-tale signs of early stage startup life: inconsistent style, redundant code, and spotty testing — in a phrase, technical debt.

In addition to making architecture decisions for the platform, I did feature development for in-app notifications; refactored the backend approach to authorization; wrote a method for efficiently querying polymorphic foreign keys in as few batches as possible; and optimized React components.

After my experience refactoring those components, I contributed to the company’s technical blog with a series of articles about using the JavaScript library performantly: The Virtual DOM and its Anti-Patterns, Optimizing React Components, and Finding React Components to Optimize.

I also had the privilege of mentoring junior developers, which I continue to do, and conducting technical interviews during the hiring of another developer.

In March 2018, I left Riipen to pursue consulting.

prollster

Chief Technology Officer
2014–2017

Skills:

  • Co-founder duties
  • Project management
  • Grant writing
  • Hiring/internships
  • Branding
  • user experience
  • Linux sys admin & dev ops
  • Full-stack development
  • SaltStack
  • Python + Django
  • PostgreSQL
  • Redis
  • HAProxy
  • Varnish
  • nginx

I co-founded Prollster in 2014 with a professor at a local university. In 2016, I represented our company in a funded Montreal-based accelerator program called FounderFuel.

In 2017, the startup was acquired by Vancouver company Riipen Networks.

As CTO and the sole developer of our product, I was responsible for the full stack, including system administration and dev ops — plus visual design, company branding, product support, and technical grant writing. We received one government research grant and multiple youth employment opportunities, which allowed me to hire two technical interns.

2015. Django.

Our goal with Prollster was to shift the top-down broadcast media model of most education platforms (in which students are passive consumers of centralized content, like videos and reading materials) toward community-based exploration and co-creation of new pedagogical content.

The product was a discussion forum at scale (serving hundreds of students per course) with automated grouping, lightweight game mechanics, and marked grades for student participation that integrated with popular learning management systems. Over 7000 students used Prollster.

2017. edX course with Prollster embedded.

To help course authors and teaching assistants manage such a large amount of text-based discussions, I built a dashboard of data visualizations to show a bird’s-eye view of participation. Here’s one viz our customers found especially helpful. It plots students according to how many connections students made, how much they participated, and how insightful the content they posted was rated by their peers.

2015. Django. Plottable.

adbusters

Web Director
2013–2015

Skills:

  • Digital strategy
  • Full-stack development
  • Hiring & internships
  • Copy editing
  • Drupal
  • Wordpress
  • Shopify
  • FileMaker
  • node.js
  • Redis
  • Photoshop
  • InDesign

As Web Director at Adbusters, I was responsible for the foundation’s digital strategy and online presence. The work was an eclectic mix of launching well trafficked campaign sites and getting the office printer to work, and I did it alongside artists and writers envisioning a better world out of the ashes of the old.

In 2015, I redesigned adbusters.org following a content audit of the Drupal site and moved ecommerce functionality to Shopify. That change facilitated a new strategy for supporter communications devised by production manager Wendee Lang and me. In less than a year, our overhaul boosted the nonprofit’s recurring revenue by 40%.

adbusters.org. 2015. Drupal. Design by Kyle Robertson.

More culture jamming: I helped wage a battle for the soul of economics at the American Economics Association’s annual conference with an auxiliary campaign site called Kick It Over and launched a global vote to determine the worst corporation in the world (#killcap). I also got to use my English degree by contributing to the bimonthly, globally-distributed print magazine as chief copy editor.

Battle For the Soul of Economics
2015. Wordpress. Design by Pedro Inoue.

I had the privilege of hiring three web designers during my tenure. Here I am learning from my very first hire EVER, Heather Tsang (right).

Heather shows Kyle something on a computer screen.
2014. Photo by Dan Toulgoet. Vancouver Courier.

web

front-end design
2001–

Skills:

  • Content strategy
  • Full-stack development
  • Copy writing & editing
  • HTML5
  • CSS3
  • JavaScript/ES2015
  • gulp, babel
  • sass, less, postcss
  • Photoshop
  • Illustrator
The Cheeky Chorebots
Chorebots. 2016. Design by Kyle Robertson. Typefaces by Carolina Giovagnoli and Julia Bausenhardt.
Dr Philippe le Billon
Dr Philippe le Billon. 2013. Wordpress.
Aspiring Flesh Sacks: Install Spyware and Smile
Read on Black on White. 2013. Django.
Whole Note Music Studio. 2012.

See my old portfolio for more work →

print

layout & typesetting
2012–

Skills:

  • InDesign
2012. Graduating essay for Bachelor of Arts (Honours) at UBC. Typeface by Robert Slimbach.