Contact



About me

I'm Jason Cross, from a suburb of New Orleans, Louisiana.

I have been the only designer in a sea of developers and IT folks for much of my career, and I feel most at home when surrounded by tech people. I fell in love with the web back in 1998 when I built my first Geocities site to share my custom Rainbow Six skins and maps, and I have never lost that desire to push my skills and learn new things.

I believe in reducing friction through an iterative, user-centered design process. Assumptions are usually wrong, so using data and feedback to make design decisions is quite beneficial.

My design process considers the user's entire experience, which is why I learned frontend development to polish those details more efficiently. I am just as comfortable in Sublime and the command line as I am in Photoshop, and I am able to implement my own designs (the views and styles, at least). Otherwise, I have a working knowledge of the stack and can effectively hand off a project to the development team.

When not at a computer, I brew beer and have built a kegerator to dispense the hobby. I also like working on cars, fishing, and enjoying life with my wife, Katie.


Work experience

WP Engine (2015–Present)

I joined WP Engine as their second in-house designer. My primary focus is to conceptualize and design web pages and graphical elements for wpengine.com, torquemag.io, email campaigns, and various other mediums that don't have pixels. I work closely with developers, marketing, and department heads to expand their outreach while championing brand guidelines and relying on CRO methodologies and A/B testing (and learning a lot in the process).

wpengine.com  torquemag.io  velocitize.com

Immense Networks (2008–2015)

Being the first web employee at a startup IT and hosting company, I gravitated towards WordPress to give small businesses an affordable CMS solution. I learned ways to let clients manage more complex layouts with custom plugins, documentation, and ongoing consulting, ultimately trying to reduce their learning curve as much as possible.

As experienced backend developers joined the team, we became equipped to build more powerful applications. I was exposed to other frameworks and platforms such as Symfony, Ruby on Rails, Middleman (♥), and Express for Node. We began version control with Git and leveraged package managers and task runners, and I have grown comfortable with these tools.

I had many responsibilities, including UI/UX design, front end developer, project manager, creative director, account executive, and maintenance consultant. I generally orchestrate projects from the initial consultation, to deployment, to ongoing feature releases and maintenance.

Immense also owns and operates a very sophisticated hosting environment. I have become familiar with account management in WHM, cPanel, and Plesk, and I am no stranger to the command line.

immense.net

Gatorworks (2007–2008)

Worked on print designs including logos, business cards, etc. and developed core web development techniques.

gatorworks.net

LSU Student Media (2005–2007)

Designed advertisements for campus-wide publications including the Daily Reveille newspaper, Legacy Magazine, and Tigerweekly.

lsunow.com (previously LSU Reveille)  digbr.com (previously Tiger Weekly)


Education

Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, LA)

BFA Studio Art - Graphic Design
Minor - Art History
TOPS Scholarship

University of New Orleans (New Orleans, LA)

Full Academic Scholarship

Archbishop Shaw High School (Marrero, LA)

Graduate with honors
National Honor Society
Mu Alpha Theta
Principal's Honor Roll
Who's Who Among American High School Students


Skills

Photoshop
Preferred for web mockups, image manipulation, and slicing. Used for over 16 years and am extremely comfortable with it.
Illustrator
Plenty experience with print projects and vector-based web assets, though not used daily.
CSS3
Proficient and aware of browser nuances. I like Bootstrap, preprocessors, and task runners.
HTML5
Proficient and comfortable with evolving web standards. I like templating engines, including slim and jade.
Flexbox
Getting the hang of it with each new project. Love the power and time savings versus hacky methods of the past.
JavaScript
Experience with DOM manipulation (typically via jQuery), implementing libraries like carousels, tooltips, and so forth. Not a guru with the language, but I am treading into React and Progressive Web Apps.
SEO
Not as up-to-date as Yoast, but I have a core understanding of SEO, including per-page optimization and best practices.
Linux
My primary workstation is Windows, so I maintain a VVV VM for WordPress development and an Ubuntu Server VM for everything else. Very excited about Bash on Ubuntu on Windows.
Version Control
Comfortable with branching, committing, and merging git branches over command line (and sometimes rebasing).
Articulate
Strong writing and documentation skills. I have produced project scopes, proposals, and client training documentation for several years.

About this website

This website was an exploration for me. I built it with Middleman, a Ruby-based static site generator, and I learned some things in the process. Notably, it introduced me to Ruby helpers, asset management, and file optimization.

I knew the site would be image-heavy, and only I would maintain it, so a static site made sense for its simplicity and speed. I have a manageable codebase in a GitHub repository that leverages helpful tools like SCSS, Slim, npm/gulp, and Bootstrap. It is also hosted on GitHub Pages, simplifying deployments.