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The Michigan Herp Atlas

Michigan Herp Atlas Hero

It feels great designing & developing a website that helps make the world better.

The Michigan Herp Atlas is a labor of love for David Mifsud, a Herpetologist and Wetland Ecologist who reached out to me through a mutual friend. The Herp Atlas enables citizens to record observations of Herpetofauna for submission to a public database for the state of Michigan. This enables the Michigan DNR and others to help assess changes in species population and to observe the overall species health.

The main goal for the Michigan Herp Atlas was to get the site off of Adobe Flash, which was sunset on December 31st, 2020. The second goal was to refresh the site and improve the manageability of the site long-term. There have been unique challenges at every turn and custom features that were new territory to me and a friend who helped me with the back-end features.

  • Web Design
  • Front-End Development
  • Strategy & Consultation
  • Project Management
  • Content Migration
  • Server Management
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Michigan Herp Atlas Homepage Mock Up Michigan Herp Atlas Homepage Mock Up

We’ve committed to a long-lasting partnership to improve the Michigan Herp Atlas because we believe in their mission.

With a limited budget, there was a lot of heavy lifting to do. We decided the only way it was possible to execute the project with the respect it deserved was to provide a significant discount. We also made some early decisions in design, as well as made concessions to get the site launched early May of 2021. Currently, we continue to roll out micro-improvements, many of which are submitted by users who actively use the site in the field. The partnership with David Mifsud and the Michigan Herp Atlas is definitely one of the highlights of my career.

This was a new process for everyone involved. The Michigan Herp Atlas team had never gone through the design and development process. We knew nothing of this field of work, its importance and the process of submitting entries for approval. We worked collaboratively and iteratively throughout design and development stages to make sure we were hitting the mark for the users submitting data and those managing the data. We checked our pride at the door and listened.



The Michigan Herp Atlas has a lot of active members who gave us really great feedback and we’ve been making improvements ever since.

Michigan Herp Atlas Homepage About Page Screen for the Michigan Herp Atlas Species List Screen for the Michigan Herp Atlas c Add Record Screen for the Michigan Herp Atlas

Project Success!

Overall, the goal was making the site feel friendly, inclusive & approachable. It was important to balance the needs of the power-users and the entry-level users. It was also important to showcase the beautiful species in Michigan; The data being entered is helping protect these species. Mobile was very important because a lot of individuals using the site were out in the field with shaky internet service and the need for confirming the accuracy of their observations was vital. We added additional features to make that process easier for users.

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