Updated: Feb 26, 2021
Preface (for my technical skills click here):
At the beginning of the pandemic that is COVID-19 I was entering the summer before my senior year. This was supposed to be the summer of possibilities. One that would define my future and make all those years of relentless psychology and computer science research pay off. I had applied to an immense number of tech internships over my college career that I hoped would bring credibility to my skills so that I was no longer just a 'kid who new code'. Employers often look to the juniors who have honed their skills over the prior three years and are one year away from an eager entry into the world of business. Then in March of 2020, swiftly and without remorse, this disease plagued our civilization and shut down the world. Included in this was the cancellation of any and all internships I had applied to. I couldn't even get the closure of a rejection. Instead I was left to sulk over the "what if?"s and "why now?"s.
I'm not big on sulking.
So I found work with the honest job of grocery delivery at Instacart. This really was good work, and good money, as most people wanted to stay home instead of going to a grocery store. The surplus of 'batches' and deficit of workers made each day valuable. That is until the Hand of the Market pressed down upon delivery services and before I knew it I was making $9 over two hours of manual labor (which it is). I have far too much pride to put it up with that, so I quit and spent my fair share of time on the spiked unemployment checks.
This has a point, just wait.
Pride and desperation are a tough and semi oxymoronic mix. Therefore, I took to my email. I emailed just about every psychology doctor within a twenty mile radius of me, imploring them to read my resume, smell my desperation and by chance be open to taking on a new research assistant. While I was let down lightly by most (if they even bothered to respond), technology specialization and psychology interest are a coveted combination, even during a pandemic.
Eventually, my last hope cover email reached the eyes of Dr. Stephen Schueller, head of the psychology and mental health lab at the University of California Irvine. He invited me to join his team as a paid researcher and web developer for his site One Mind PsyberGuide. Even to this day, I don't think he has or will ever realize just how grateful I am to him.
I worked as a web developer and researcher at the University of California Irvine in the Technology and Mental Health (TEAM) lab under Dr. Stephen Schueller. There I was put in charge of the website One Mind PsyberGuide, which rates and reviews mental health apps and technology. About a third of my work was psychology related, specifically digital mental health, which I will go into more detail about in a later post. However, this article will be devoted specifically to the technical skills I gained and utilized while working for One Mind PsyberGuide.
Layout and design upkeep
HTML and CSS for most design edits including:
Spacing: Blocks and text
Text styling: Color, thickness, location.
Image / video alignment and edits
Internal and External page links
I published almost all content seen on the site such as:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
First I maximized meta data for high traffic pages then improved links, content, and meta data for low traffic pages.
Each of the below were assessed for length, content, relativity, and specificity:
More than 300 words. References title and Key phrases. Out bound links. Internal and External references. Strong wording. Readability.
Specific to content. Strong wording.
Includes title of page, key phrase, specific details, applicable adjectives.
Focus/Meta key phrases
Phrasing was specific and relative to the page content. 5 words at most. Includable in Header, SEO title, and Meta description.
Included opportunity based key words. Comprehensive of page content. Includes SEO title, page title, Key phrases, and slug.
Images and Alt Image captions
Images had proper compression and pixilation. Alt captions were readable for computers that could not process images. These captions also followed the rules for descriptions above.
Similar to key phrase and page title. As short as possible.
Internal and External Links
Made sure any content had properly linked references to other high traffic sites. Made sure any references to internal pages were properly linked.
Fixed broken links, file directories, too high or low quality (based on pixels) images.
From gathered user data we were able to analyze:
What kept users on the site, to maximize this on other pages.
Which words are searched the most on the internet. Implemented these words in meta data or page content.
Which pages drew the most and least users. How did they get there?: Search engines, internal links, external links. What's stopping users from viewing certain pages?: difficulty of location, lack of internal or external links to page.
What do users like and what don't they like? Including:
Design. Functionality. Ease of use. Readability of content. Directions. Linkage.
Designs and Graphics (Not very much)
My next post with regards to my work at One Mind PsyberGuide will be my perspective on and what I've learned about digital mental health. So be sure to subscribe below to be notified and thanks for reading!