Application for The Dream Internship

Many of the people that know me know that I’ve always wanted to work for Automattic. It just seems like the perfect blend of good people supporting a great WordPress community and Open Source along with the  autonomy to work from home in an environment best tuned to do your best work. I actually sent in an application for a “Community Handyman” position a couple weeks ago, but I’ve still got one more year in the Computer Science program at the University of Wisconsin before I get my degree. An internship on the Automattic VIP team would be a great opportunity.

Something that I’d love to work on would be a plugin to make the dashboard more responsive. Most people think of responsive design as a way to make websites work better on mobile – that’s awesome, websites should look good everywhere. I really like using responsive design techniques to fully utilize large displays though. I think a plugin that let you change the number of columns on the dashboard depending on page width would be a welcome addition for those users that spend time working on a large screen.

I always keep my dashboard at two columns because in addition to my large desktop display, I spend a good amount of time working from a 13″ MacBook. Three or four columns isn’t quite as useful when your browser is a total of 1200 pixels wide.

How would this work?

So, there are a couple ways this could work:

  1. We set the break points and let the user define the number of columns at each point. This be with three or four sets of options for number of columns, or just apply to the current browser width. For example, if your browser is between, say 1200 and 1600 pixels, that’s what the settings applies to. And if you resize it larger or smaller than that, it applies to a new width.
  2. A little more complicated, but let the user set the break points. Similar to option 1, this could be completely menu based, or just have it work on-the-fly – setting new break points as the user changes the number of columns at a given width. There would obviously need to be a way to reset this, as it would accumulate lots of break points fast for some people.

The more I think about this, the more I feel like it would be better to do some research and use fixed break points instead of giving users control over that. This would reduce complexity and increase ease of use for a user.

I’d love to know what others think about this idea.