Spotlight: Brandon Kelly - Navigant Consulting
January 19, 2010
by Jacob Russell
This week we spotlight add-on developer Brandon Kelly and Navigant Consulting, a site he developed using ExpressionEngine.
Our “Spotlight” series of articles gives designers, developers, add-on creators, and just generally great members of the ExpressionEngine community a chance to talk about how they have used EE and its add-ons in their work.
Brandon Kelly is a web developer and ExpressionEngine Add-on developer. He has created several of the most popular add-ons in the EE community, including Playa, FieldFrame and Wygwam and currently does business as Pixel & Tonic. He has won Extension of the Year in the AcademEE Awards twice, once for FieldFrame and once for Playa, and was voted 2009 Developer of the Year.
Give us a little background on yourself, what do you do and how do you use ExpressionEngine on a daily basis?
“What I do” has been a constantly-moving target. Over the past few years I’ve gone from a freelance web designer to a Flash wrangler at Design Reactor to a senior UI developer at Level Studios. All the while, working with some of the best companies Silicon Valley has to offer.
But now I’ve quit my day job and decided to put all my energy into EE add-on development. I’ll be doing it under a new moniker, Pixel & Tonic, just as soon as I can finish the site.
I’ve mostly given up client work, so the majority of the time I’m using EE is spent developing add-ons for it. I’d like to think that one day things will clear up, and I’ll find the time to do a client website every now and then. But that’s beginning to feel like a pipe dream.
How did you get started with ExpressionEngine?
While at Design Reactor, I led development for a consulting company’s website. Originally we were asked to use SharePoint, but when it became painfully obvious that wasn’t the right tool for the job, our creative director, Gustaf Fjelstrom, suggested we take a look at ExpressionEngine. And the rest is history.
What is this site, and why is it special?
NavigantConsulting.com. It’s special to me because it’s a great representation of the transition I was going through. I had only recently learned CSS and gone to my first An Event Apart conference. It was the last website I used Flash to any degree on, and the first large-scale project that this agency had pushed out that was primarily developed using web standards. And of course, the EE aspect.
What add-ons are you using on that site?
Were there any particularly challenging parts of this site that required creative solutions? What add-ons were involved with that?
The project certainly had its challenges. One in particular was the variety of relationships throughout the site. Those “In the Spotlight” promos on the left, Key Contacts listings on the right, Downloads within the content, Industry Specialization and Functional Expertise listings within the Professionals profiles… each needed to be relationships that wouldn’t require updating content in multiple places. And each were solved by the advent of Playa.
What is the greatest need you have on this site that you wish were met by an EE add-on
My biggest grievance was the convoluted content organization behind the scenes. To edit the Construction entry, go to the Industries weblog. To edit the entry on Litigation Support & Expert Witness Testimony, go to the Industries - Construction weblog. etc. Had Structure been around back then, things would be much cleaner!
Right now I’m focused on launching Pixel & Tonic and porting my most popular add-ons over to EE2. Once those are done, who knows? I’ve got a big pile of projects to pick from, and each are exciting in their own way. My “business plan” going forward is: Do Whatever the Hell I Want! Which I think is going to work well for me.