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Michael Widener
Mac® User Experience Designer & Manager
View My Work


UX Designers with good Graphic Design skills are hard to find. Designers with Front-end Development skills are even more rare. Most specialize in one field or the other. Michael created the only Bachelor of Science in Multimedia Design and Development in American University's history. He knows Graphic, Web, and Motion Design, as well as Web Development. While focusing mainly on the front-end, Michael originally returned to school to strengthen his design discipline by enrolling in well-known Full Sail University to get his second and third Bachelor of Science degrees in Web Design & Development and Graphic Design. But after a short while, and after finishing the credit transfer process, it turned out he would have years of repeating general education coursework he had already completed while getting his first Bachelor's from American University.

Michael decided to transition to a Master's and take targeted programs for strengthening his Visual Design skills instead. He is now enrolled in the highly respected Jack Welch Management Institute where he is pursuing a Master of Business Administration. Over the next three years, he'll complete that, targeted Visual Design coursework, project management certification, and targeted User Experience and Front-end Development coursework. When completed, he will have a single, one-of-a-kind design degree from AU, together with comprehensive skills in Web Design, Graphic Design, Front-end Development, Motion Graphics and UX Design, as well as an M.B.A. and project management certification. To top that off, Michael plans to get his Doctoral degree in Computer Science from John Hopkins University. Thereafter, Michael will update his hands on skill with the theoretical Computer Science discipline that will make him a triple-skilled professional possessing skill in creative, management, and computer programming disciplines while maintaining incredible interpersonal skills for someone with technical ability.

Michael's unique education will equip him to create interactively beautiful user interfaces and compelling user experiences wrapped in trendy design flare with custom-made browser, O/S, and mobile detection and advanced cyber-secure programming to protect his vision from compromise. To prepare for his Ph.D, Michael trains weekly, one-on-one, in computer science coding logic with a teacher who has over twenty years of experience in software development and is a current University Professor in Computer Science. The teacher is also one of Michael's technical references and has taken Michael on as an apprentice. By the time Michael begins his Ph.D in Computer Science he will already have created several computer programs and will bring practical, hands-on expertise into the program, making the education that much more effective for him, and allowing him to apply what he learns to what he has already programmed from day one. Michael is a special talent. He deserves leadership positions because his perspective is truly unmatched. See where he came from and some of his work and then reach out and get in touch!

  • cps emblem cps campus


    Honors High School

    Not everyone goes to a high school famous for honor, integrity, and creativity. Michael attended CPS in Oakland, California acclimating to intellectual rigor, problem-solving, critical thinking, and teamwork through sports. The University of California recognizes CPS as an honors institution because all classes are taught at the honors level. Michael graduated with a 3.5 GPA. GPAs from honors high schools are calculated one grade point higher than the transcript when applying for admission at post secondary institutions and Universities. This means Michael's high school GPA is a 4.5.

  • mac plus se image graphics office

    1988 - 1989

    Image Graphics

    Michael got his first job in Graphic Design for a small design firm in Oakland, California. Back then, computers were slower and relatively more expensive. Michael learned to design on a small black and white screen using Super Paint and ran the mail merge for the office's marketing campaign using Microsoft Word.

  • usf logo usf campus

    1989 - 1994

    Community College & USF

    After deciding he would like to become better at Graphic Design, Michael left the workforce to focus full-time on education. He enrolled in Community College in Oakland, California majoring in Desktop Publishing. Michael transferred to the University of San Francisco to continue his education. He was elected Freshman Class President in his first year and won as a write-in after memorizing the names of 200 freshmen he had just met. He is the only one who has ever done that in the school's history.

  • george lucas thanks skywalker ranch

    1994 - 1995

    Skywalker Ranch & George Lucas

    Michael left the University of San Francisco for a once-in-a-lifetime internship at Skywalker Ranch with his idol, George Lucas. Michael became an IT Assistant at the George Lucas Educational Foundation where he improved his computer support skills while studying the convergence of education and technology in the Foundation's specialized education technology library. He also used Mozilla during its first launch and was excited about his future. Researching the Foundation's library revealed a computer animation school in Sunnyvale, California. Immediately following his internship's end, Michael moved to Sunnyvale and enrolled.

  • cogswell art cogswell art

    1995 - 1996

    Cogswell & Domino Computer

    After feeling disconnected from the workforce for too long, yet realizing he needed to remain current with evolving technologies, Michael decided to take a new approach: to work while going to school. He took a job at a computer store as a salesperson and technician so he could personally build the products he sold. He also attended animation school to continue his pursuit of digital design. He learned customer service and technical support and then moved on to network administration, obtaining his Novell Netware Certification and earning $60 an hour doing network "house calls." Michael's boss called his computers "bullet-proof." It may have had something to do with Michael's 27-step preparation plan used on every computer he built.

  • old christchurch new zealand

    1996 - 2000

    New Zealand & WWW

    When traveling between school and work became too grueling, Michael's high school friend invited him to move to New Zealand for a change of pace. There, Michael created an online video game retailer that received 1.2 million hits in its first year. He and his partner made the front page of New Zealand's largest newspaper and were featured on television as an innovative, technology-based retailer. At the time, theirs was the only website featuring videos of gameplay to overcome buyer's reluctance and give customers a preview of gameplay before purchasing. Click here to dig around Google and see some of the articles about Michael in New Zealand. One of the links reveals a little known fact about Michael: Jeff Bezos of cited Michael's website, in his Patent document. View the document here: Patent document.

  • silicon valley traffic los gatos, california

    2000 - 2003

    The Start-up Bubble

    During the time Michael was in New Zealand, the dot-com bubble started growing. Unemployment in the U.S. hit an all-time low of 4.6%. Tech companies were searching high and low for creative talent to fuel innovative start-ups. Michael moved back to the United States to leverage his experience in his New Zealand start-up and grow his experience in the larger, more competitive U.S. market. In Los Gatos, California, Michael learned the value of separating the front-end from the back-end so specialized talent can be more productive. Michael was promoted to Product Manager after creating a prototype to redesign his employer's software interface based on user feedback. Later, he was promoted to Director of User Interface Design. Michael's work helped sell their web application and their start-up for several hundred thousand dollars and won Michael an invitation to join the same executive team at their next start-up.

  • au emblem katzen arts center

    2003 - 2011

    American University
    & Phantom Records

    Shortly after getting hired at the new start-up, the tragedies of 9/11 led investors to pull the funding at Michael's new employer. With start-up funding ending all over Silicon Valley, Michael decided it was time to return to school. Feeling dissatisfied with the educational opportunities in California, Michael moved to the East Coast and enrolled in American University. There, he created a custom-made degree combining Graphic Design, Multimedia, and Web Programming. Michael graduated with the only Bachelor of Science in Multimedia Design and Development in the University's history. While going to school part-time, Michael also worked part-time to apply what he learned directly to the work world. He graduated on May 8th, 2011 with a 3.49 GPA but the school had him walk with the honors students.

  • the fountain in downtown silver spring, maryland downtown silver spring, maryland

    2011 - 2015

    Experience & Education Applied

    After graduating from American University, Michael applied his education and experience to develop Phantom Records' website into a rich, multimedia, database-driven site. After updating the site to the most modern it can be, his employer, Phantom Records, moved the site into maintenance mode. Without a site to apply his talents, Michael negotiated the option to take on contracts that would allow him to remain current and broaden his skill set. Between 2013 and now, Michael completed several contracts building sites for the TSA, the Glenmont United Methodist Church, and a start-up government contractor.

  • full sail university logo nih nightline

    2015 - Present

    Full Sail University &
    The National Institutes of Health

    Now that Michael has demonstrated his ability to create modern, database-driven websites, he is broadening his skill set with bleeding-edge Web Design, JavaScript Web Development, and Data Visualization Programming for the NIH. Michael's longer term plan is to master both the creative and technical aspects of creating electronic experiences. Additionally, he is under the direction of his mentor, learning the software development lifecycle to round out his skills with project management and business development. In a few years, his expertise will equip him to contribute to enterprise-level, web-based projects and step in at any stage to ensure the beauty of its design, the soundness of its programming, and the success of the project through professional project management. He will be a valuable asset on any web-based project.

  • What Role
    Will You


Check out my work and skill set.

HTML5 thumnail


Intermediate Skill

jQuery thumbnail


Intermediate Skill

PHP design 1 thumbnail


Intermediate Skill

Poster Design thumbnail

Lindsay Eythe

Poster Design

Stamp Design thumbnail

Lindsay Eythe

Stamp Design

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Ross Nover

Ad Design

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Brian Davis

Game Design

DVD Menu thumbnail

Randall Packer

DVD Menu & Video Editing

Production Bumper thumbnail

Kylos Brannon

Production Bumper Design

Glenmont Methodist Church thumbnail

Glenmont UMC

Website Design & Maintenance

Double O Technologies thumbnail

Double O Technologies

Website Design & Maintenance

Frag-tastic thumbnail

Frag-tastic Travel

Website Design

Phantom Records thumbnail

Phantom Records

Website Design & Maintenance

Phantom Records thumbnail

Phantom Records

Web Application

Phantom Records thumbnail

Phantom Records

Compact Disc Packaging Design

Phantom Records thumbnail

Phantom Records

Commercial DJ Mix
"Wild Wild West"

Phantom Records thumnail

Phantom Records

Commercial DJ Mix
"My Love Is Your Love"

Phantom Records thumbnail

Phantom Records

Commercial DJ Mix


See examples of my code.

Web Developers who have design skills are rare. In this section, you can review my web applications and programming skills used in front-end Web Development.  Each item includes a link to interact with the application and an option to request the source code. Security information will not be included in the code provided.

User Interface with Sample Gamification

  • Technologies Used: Adobe Creative Suite: Experience Designer 2016 (Preview) Unreleased.
  • Purpose: To provide a sample UI for evaluation.
  • Client: Tech Challenge. Year: 2016.
  • See It In Action: | Request Further Contact:

Account Management Mini Web Application

  • Technologies Used: GUI, PHP4, MySQL, HTML4, CSS3, CMS, JavaScript, Form Validation, Database Connection, Loops, & Variables.
  • Purpose: To provide a place for users to register and upload tracks for their custom music mix.
  • Notable Implementation: The application uses PHP Update to keep the database small instead of creating a new master record with each change of information. This was a priority for this project.
  • Client: Phantom Records. Year: 2005.
  • See It In Action: | Request Source Code:

Dynamic Browser/OS Detection

  • Technologies Used: PHP4, MySQL, HTML4, CSS3, CMS, Session Validation, Browser Detection, OS Detection, Email Messaging 
  • Purpose: When users visit our site with different browsers or operating systems, my code loads the corresponding compatible music player when they view a page with an audio preview.
  • Notable Implementation: For Windows users, I load Windows Media Player. For Mac OS X users, I load a QuickTime player. The mini application sends an email each time a user previews audio that includes their browser and OS information and the music previewed.
  • Client: Phantom Records. Year: 2005.
  • See It In Action: | Request Source Code:

Login/Register Mini Web Application

  • Technologies Used: GUI, PHP4, MySQL, HTML5, CSS3, CMS, JavaScript, Form Validation, Session Validation, Database Connection.
  • Purpose: Our users needed a place to login to access their account management area. The login form was programmed to detect if they are already logged in, if there is a current session active, or if they need to register. Redirects sent the user to the account management area or a registration screen depending on whether they are recognized or not.
  • Notable Implementation: The login screen detects an incorrect username/password combination and invites the user to go back and try again or to recover their password. Recovered passwords are emailed to the user's registered email address. If a user attempts to register using an existing username, the web application informs them an account already exists and offers a link to login to the existing account or go back and register using a different username.
  • Client: Phantom Records. Year: 2004.
  • See It In Action: | Request Source Code:

PayPal API Third Party Integration

  • Technologies Used: GUI, HTML4, CSS3, JavaScript, PayPal API.
  • Purpose: When users want to purchase an existing music mix product instead of create their own, they click a custom Add to Cart button that has hidden fields storing the price of the product as well as a per product handling and shipping charge that increments based on the quantity of products ordered. This information is passed to PayPal on a subsequent screen branded for the client.
  • Notable Implementation: When a user placed an order, the integration stored the product number and IP address (in addition to other information) so that this information could be compared to site visit logs. On the site, the music mix files, that the user previewed, were named based on the product number. This meant that the orders placed could be compared to the IP address of users who had previewed that product and analyzed to see how often a given IP address previewed a product before purchasing the same product.
  • Client: Phantom Records. Year: 2004.
  • See It In Action: | Request Source Code:

JavaScript PoP-Up Order Screen

  • Technologies Used: GUI, HTML3, CSS2, JavaScript, ASP, CGI.
  • Purpose: When users ordered a product, an order screen popped up with a simple order form. The form asked for full name, shipping address, and phone number. It contained links to explain why online ordering is safe for users who were new to online ordering. It allowed a user to pay by credit card or "Telebank," a local banking system in New Zealand where the client's site was based at the time.
  • Notable Implementation: My client was the first in New Zealand history to be approved to process credit card transactions online. The client beat out 500 other applicants to become the pilot merchant to process credit card transactions online because I was the only one to successfully explain how to use New Zealand's privacy laws and stored order information to obtain a court order to compel an ISP to provide billing name, address, and phone number for the account associated with the IP address that placed an order. The achievement was covered on the front page of New Zealand's largest newspaper, with a readership of one million. We were also profiled on television.
  • Client: Gamescape Interactive NZ, Ltd. Year: 1997.
  • See It In Action: | Request Source Code:

Certificates & Degrees

Check out my certifications and degrees.

HTML certification thumnail

HTML5/HTML Developer

W3 Schools
Active since 2015

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CSS Developer

W3 Schools
Active since 2015

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JavaScript Developer

W3 Schools
Active since 2015

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Certified in

Adobe Systems, Inc.
Active since 2012

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Certified in

Adobe Systems, Inc.
Active since 2012

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Certified in

Adobe Systems, Inc.
Active since 2012

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IT Professional:
A+ Certification

Active since 2012

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IT Professional:
Computing Fundamentals

Active since 2012

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It Professoinal:
MS Office User Specialist

Active since 2012

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Undergraduate Education:
B.S. in Multimedia Design

American University
Washington, D.C. (On Campus)
Graduated in 2011

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Graduate Education:

Jack Welch Management Institute
Herndon, Virginia (Online)
Expected Graduation: 2018

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Doctoral Education:
Ph.D in Computer Science

Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland
Expected Start: 2019

Contact Me

I'm always looking to meet other
designers, developers, or clients.
Reach out to me if you'd like to discuss business.


Some of my closest friends started out as co-workers. Clients, co-workers, and supervisors — you'll find them all here to vouch for my work ethic, technical creativity, and drive. You will find all of these references connected to me on my LinkedIn profile.

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Employment Law

The Marker Law Firm

Active Client since 2016

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Karen Hammond

Performance Analysis Expert

KHD Performance Analysis

Active Client since 2015

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Ogechi Onyewu

Owner & CEO

Double O Technologies, LLC

Active Client since 2014

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Harriet Smith

Church Secretary (Former)

Glenmont UMC (Church)

Active Client since 2015

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Kevin Bush

Illustrator & Graphic Designer


Design Reference since 2012

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Brian Cosgrove

Big Data Analyst

Wells Fargo Bank (Former)

Technical Reference since 2015

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Tanes Kanchanawanchai

Senior Software Engineer

Technical Reference since 2015

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Zak Akin

UX Designer

Stanford University

Technical Reference since 1994