The East Wing

I designed and built a site with WordPress for The East Wing, a podcast about people who build the web.

Responsibilities

  • Host
  • Design
  • Development

The East Wing was a pod­cast about peo­ple who build the web. I built a web­site to show the most re­cent episodes and links men­tioned on the show.

The Problem #

I cre­ated The East Wing be­cause I was un­happy. I was un­happy with my work and felt iso­lated where I was liv­ing at the time. The East Wing helped me talk with a lot of my de­sign he­roes and learn more about their be­gin­nings.

I loved The East Wing. Tim’s mas­ter­ful in­ter­views re­sulted in episodes that con­sis­tently in­formed and in­spired.

Wesley NobleListener

Responsive de­sign was a rel­a­tively new thing at the time and I was look­ing for a pro­ject that would help me learn how write these new things called me­dia queries.

I’d also read the doc­u­men­ta­tion Apple had for cre­at­ing an iTunes-com­pat­i­ble RSS feed and was pretty con­fused. I felt the only way to un­der­stand this bet­ter was to try it for my­self.

The East Wing homepage

↑ Above: Episode ti­tles had to be trun­cated at the time be­cause it would break the lay­out oth­er­wise. Ah yes… the good ole days with float lay­outs.

Responsive Design #

The East Wing was the pro­ject where I learned how to build things that were com­pletely flex­i­ble. It helped me learn the prac­ti­cal­ity of us­ing per­cent­ages. Through sev­eral ver­sions of the site, I learned about us­ing ems al­though not com­pletely un­der­stand­ing how to use them.

At the time, I built re­spon­sive sites desk­top to mo­bile in­stead of mo­bile first. Since then, I’ve changed my ap­proach to de­sign and code the small­est lay­out first, then ad­just based on the grow­ing browser win­dow. This ap­proach has im­proved the UX of the sites I make and re­duced the amount of CSS I’ve needed to write.

The East Wing Episode View The East Wing Episode View

Creating a Podcast RSS Feed #

Writing a cus­tom RSS feed felt like overkill. I could’ve done this on my own but I de­cided to use PodPress (this plu­gin is now de­funct). PodPress au­to­mat­i­cally added the nec­es­sary in­for­ma­tion to the RSS feed and made it easy for me to add the feed to iTunes. I was in the iTunes di­rec­tory a few days af­ter pub­lish­ing the first episode.

Tim’s show, The East Wing, was a huge cre­ative in­spi­ra­tion for me. So many in­cred­i­ble in­ter­views!

Justin JacksonListener

The PodPress plu­gin also gave me some ba­sic sta­tis­tics on lis­ten­er­ship. At the height of its pop­u­lar­ity, The East Wing was av­er­ag­ing about 8k down­loads per episode.

Conclusion #

I loved host­ing this show. Writing about it makes me miss it so much. In the three years I ran it, the show was nom­i­nated for an award two of those years by Net Magazine. Not only did it teach me new things in fron­tend de­vel­op­ment, it also helped me be­come a bet­ter de­signer and thinker. This show led to speak­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, great friends, and even a few jobs. I hope to one day res­ur­rect it.

You can see the code I wrote for this site on GitHub. If you’d like to lis­ten to the show, you’ll find it here.