jQuery YouTube Carousel

One of the sites I work on required a way to display YouTube videos on their site in a carousel like fashion. The biggest challenge that I had to look at was the coding language I could use. The site’s back-end end of does not allow for me to use PHP code, which is what I would have originally used to make this solution. Instead I took to the internet find a suitable Javascript/jQuery option and to my surprise there were none to be found.

I have done some work with embedding YouTube videos in the past so I figured I could make a slick jQuery plugin to insert code into a div on a page and provide the controls to switch between the videos. My goal was to make it so that all I would need to supply to file was the video ID list, video height, and video width. I combined what I created with jCarousel – Riding carousels with jQuery to form the plugin. This plugin is developed under the dual open source licenses from MIT and GPL.

View live example
Download the file for your own use
*Update: this project can now be found on my GitHub project page.

Once you download the file add the contents to your site. Make sure you include <link rel=”stylesheet” href=”path-to-css/youtubecarousel.css” type=”text/css”> to the head of the page and <script type=”text/javascript” src=”path-to-javascript/jquery.youtubecarousel.js”></script> to the footer of the page. You of course will need to include jQuery to the page in order for this to work. My suggestion is to grab the path file over at Google Libraries API and include that near the bottom of the page. Then all you have to do is place <div id=”yt_container”></div> somewhere in the body part of your document and everything should work for you.

Let me know of any problems or suggestions in the comments.

Going Mobile!

I’ve spent this previous weekend teaching myself the art of mobile web development. There is a continuing trend within technology were our devices continue to get smaller and more portable. I know someday laptops and desktops will most likely be a thing of the past so I thought now would be the perfect time to dip my toe in the mobile development waters. I am pleased to say that my website, http://www.michaelouellette.com, is now completely mobile optimized.

In the design of the mobile version of my site I utilized the jQTouch plugin for jQuery. This plugin helps to render the site into a touch screen friendly interface instead of the usual click event focused environment of a desktop or laptop. I tried to match the desktop version of my site as closely as possible when designing the layout and images for the mobile pages. You can see below a few screen shots I included that highlight a some of the pages on the mobile site. Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments.

Michael Ouellette mobile homepage

Michael Ouellette mobile homepage

Michael Ouellette portfolio page

Michael Ouellette portfolio page

Michael Ouellette portfolio details pages

Michael Ouellette portfolio details pages

Michael Ouellette social page

Michael Ouellette social page

Homepage redesign for Pittsburgh Water Limo

I have recently made some improvements to the Pittsburgh Water Limo homepage. The new design I rolled out is more appealing and is more consistent between different browser types. The new layout also will benefit the Pittsburgh Water Limo with increased search engine visibility and help improve the site’s bounce rate. The new homepage takes advantage of the jQuery library to provide animations and quick site load times. By utilizing jQuery it makes it easier and cleaner to highlight multiple products from the company as the main image slides to show more products.

Pittsburgh Water Limo

New layout for featured products and events along with better highlighting of "Alerts".

Pittsburgh Water Limo

New social media, mailing list and products layout.


I have also updated the site’s masthead to give it a more modern and refreshed look. Pittsburgh Water Limo had been using the same masthead on their website for at least 5 years now and I felt it was time to update the look. The new masthead has a look that is consistent with the old one but will provide the site with a fresher look. The new masthead also makes the the logo and company’s name stand out better along with making it easier to read

Pittsburgh Water Limo masthead

The new Pittsburgh Water Limo masthead.

New Site Design!

As you may have noticed my site has had a major overhaul, it was well over due. With the new design I hope to better showcase my talents at designing attractive websites along with gaining some traction with SEO. My new site functions like a Javascript web application with the user visiting one page and the content of each page is brought in through AJAX. I used the Google recommended article, Making AJAX Applications Crawlable, to design the structure of my site. By using #! search engines, like Google, are able to view each AJAX page as a new page. Using AJAX also has immensely improved the site loading time over the previous version of the site.

Apart from a restructure of the site’s back-end I tried to focus on making a more professional and attractive looking site. I also tried to cut down on image file sizes to help out site loading time. I developed the site with open-sourced fonts from Google Web Fonts which allows for an expanded font library for sites to use. This allowed me to take font that would normally be in an image and apply it to the site as normal text instead. Furthermore, I have plans in the not so distant future of making this site more mobile friendly.

I love my new and improved site and all the benefits it will bring me. I spend so much time working on other people’s/company’s websites I felt bad that my site had fallen into such disrepair, it really feels good to give it a big and much needed overhaul. I would be happy to provide many of these same techniques used in my new site to your next web project, just visit my contact page and let me know how I can help you.

Introducing Bone Works Grill.com

Its my pleasure to introduce my new client and site Bone Works Grill. Bone Works Grill is a restaurant opening on August 17th, 2011 in Level Green, PA (a suburb outside of Pittsburgh, PA). They use a firewood grill and smokers for most of their cooking which includes many American and BBQ style dishes.

In the development of their site I used mainly jQuery and Javascript mixed with HTML. The owners of the restaurant wanted a website that would be interactive and would be graphically attractive so using jQuery would provide these results while still maintaining a SEO friendly interface. This site also utilizes the Making AJAX Applications Crawlable from Google to make the entire site crawable. The site also takes advantage of the Google Maps API to create a truly unique user experience when visiting the location tab. I really liked the idea of having a full screen map for customers to use to see where the restaurant is located.

Some parts of the site are not fully completed yet but I plan on having them up as soon as possible. More graphics and animations will also be appearing in the coming weeks as the restaurant prepares to open.

Introducing RebeccaJeniece.com

I would like to announce the debut of a new site I designed, RebeccaJeniece.com. Rebecca is a rising actress with experience in many independent films, musicals, plays, and hollywood movies. My goal with the development of her site was to capture the elegance and professionalism she brings to her roles. For this site I utilized many user interactive site features through javascript and css. This gives the site a more modern feel and allows for a simpler but yet classy feel. This site utilizes the scripting languages of JavaScript, CSS, html, SQL, PHP, ajax, and jQuery.

Javascript and AJAX

Over the last couple of weeks I have learned mountains of new information about Javascript and AJAX. The more I learn the more I am falling in love with these languages. I really feel like I can tackle some larger and more modern projects now. My language of choice has always been PHP, which is relatively flexible when building sites. However, these two languages allow for smoother and unique user experiences.

Currently, I am in the process of adding functionalities, provided by these languages, to the wine map. I hope to have all functions and features of the page self contained along with an auto updating map. Users will be able to go to this application and be able to see information change based on the active of other users without ever having to push refresh. As I develop the map further I keep thinking that it should be turned into a consumer focused product. So expect these bigger changes and the release of the new consumer app this summer.

Speaking on the subject of Javascript I am working on a new project. The client informed me that one thing they really wanted was an interactive site with animation videos. I will be honest, I am not a large supporter of Flash which is what is commonly used when designing these features. I feel Flash has its place on the internet, such as games, but I feel it is a soon to be dead technology. My biggest problem with flash is that it is not searchable by search engines. So when adding flash to a site the web developer needs to think of sneaky ways to improve SEO. I digress. For my client I am implementing a unique javascript library which allows for much of the functionality that you may experience with a product like Flash. This is what I’m talking about when I say flexibility with these two languages. What is your favorite web technology?