This site showcases the (mostly) digital work of Andrew DiFiore from both Virtual Arts Studios and answerYES Interactive as well as random thoughts and experimental projects too volatile to be contained anywhere else.

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    International Center for Integrative Studies (ICIS) is a global community of thought leaders from all walks of life dedicated to developing solutions to the most pressing problems facing our world today. ICIS was founded in 1962 by Erling A. Thunberg to help address the humanitarian concerns many scholars and scientists had at the end of the 1950s regarding the future.

    In 2003 I had created a basic HTML website for a subsidiary of ICIS called RiverTides, an organization providing educational support to local nonprofits representing a wide variety of social causes. Three years later (after answerYES Consulting was established) I was asked to create a new website and private forum for ICIS, folding RiverTides into this new site architecture. It was decided the site would be built under the open-source content management system Drupal, designing a custom theme that reflected a more contemporary image of the organization.

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    My first XML driven Flash photography site showcasing the beautiful work of Una Petrino of Photography by Una. She has a great eye for portraits. Her studio is located in Yorktown Heights, NY.

    After a Carmel High School student died in a drunk driving accident that shook the entire town, I became involved in that community’s cause to curb teenage drinking. The idea behind the Sober Teens Festival is an annual celebration of sobriety where students sign “contracts” with celebrities like Ace Frehley (KISS’ Space Ace), agreeing not to drink until they are legal age.

    From 2003 to 2006 I donated my time in the creation and ongoing management of the official Sober Teens website which featured teen battles of the bands, podcasts, videos, photo galleries, forums, and Flash games. Unfortunately, the Festival has run its course and the site is no longer available. All that remains is the logo I did above and this SWISH banner (JK not really).

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    My cousin owns a learning center in Natick, MA, called Realizing Children’s Strengths (RCS) that provides individualized behavioral and educational services for children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Their tagline is Progress for all children. RCS has been growing exponentially in and around the Boston area, having secured a number of schools as well as working with many parents directly.

    I was asked to help create a simple website that the staff at RCS could update themselves. There are a number of Content Management Systems (CMS) on the market, some free (open-source), some charging a nominal fee. I have worked with both kinds, most recently with Drupal and Movable Type. Both are very powerful platforms but also require a level of technical skills unreasonable to expect most interns to possess. I had been reading about Textpattern lately and was impressed with the online support and their compliance to Web-standards (by building sites in Web-standards they are automatically search engine friendly). Moreover, Textpattern takes a minimalist approach, making it easy to install and even easier to train the non-tech user. It was the perfect fit for RCS.

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    Arista Air Conditioning, the largest HVAC company in the tri-state New York area, has been providing commercial and residential air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration for over 50 years. Their navy blue vans with the gigantic snowflake are familiar sights to local home and business owners. And it was for that reason that we gave the van a prominent place on the company’s website.

    We storyboarded the concept of a 30 second animation featuring the van displaying each of the company’s three main brands (e.g. Arista, Arista Premier, and Kelnard) as it revolved. answerYES did the photography, the Flash animation and programming, even the sound editing. Since we didn’t want the Flash to get in the way of the user accessing the content, the navigation was presented immediately. Since we didn’t want the music to be annoying, the animation only played upon the first visit (though the user could opt to play it again).

    The Flash was just a nice added touch of uniqueness, the real content was the site copy. We worked closely with Arista’s sales team to craft the right communications across all three target segments while still ensuring that it was search engine friendly.

    The entire site was built on top of the Six Apart’s Movable Type content management system. answerYES customized the templates to support the site design and architecture, including a blog and slideshow that pulled from the company’s Flickr photo stream (for things like the company picnic). We continue to provide ongoing support for the site as well as miscellaneous marketing materials like poster boards for an upcoming trade show.

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