I met Wesley Zhao, a current Penn freshman, at an event for newly admitted students in early January. By the end of January, he’d pulled me into a project he began with Ajay Mehta, a friend of his at NYU.

They’d begun it a week before I got involved, working with a girl named Sarah Lim. The three of them built a website called PennMatch basically overnight, and it looked like this:

In other words, it looked like a mess. (I swear I had nothing to do with this.) Besides, the information had been farmed in questionable ways–I did mention that they’d built it overnight, right?–so Wesley and Ajay decided to redo the thing, and they needed someone to do layout.

This is what I came up with:

It uses similar bones but just works out a lot better (at least, in my opinion). The “buttons” are also all hovers–I don’t think the screenshot really does it justice–so go check it out at PleaseMatch.me!

It was fun to do something and focus on design. I don’t think it’s the prettiest thing I’ve done, but it was fun to do, and it’s intentionally a little cheesy. And I did write a little PHP, as well, so my talents weren’t entirely wasted. (;

My one real frustration has been that, from the get-go, the site’s very hetero-normative: people can only be paired with people of other the other gender. Oh, and I let Wesley deal with all the Facebook Connect things, which meant that I didn’t get to learn about it. (Ah well, I’m sure I’ll find another project which I can use to learn about that.)

P.S. It’s funny, because it’s now been a little while since I built it, and I can see all ways I’d like to improve it.

P.P.S. I should also mention that Ankur Dave, a freshman at Berkley, and Drew Inglis, a should-be-sophomore at Carnegie Mellon (he’s taking a year off to work) were instrumental in helping with debugging and other things. Both of them are more experienced programmers than Wesley, Ajay or I.

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