Pacific Standard Time at the Getty Center

Posted on Jul 12, 2013 | 0 comments

Pacific Standard Time at the Getty Center

screen-pstPacific Standard Time began a decade ago as a joint initiative between the Getty Foundation and the Getty Research Institute to recover the historical record of art in Southern California. Over the past several years, it has grown into a region-wide collaboration, culminating in a series of exhibitions across Southern California at more than 60 cultural institutions. The Pacific Standard Time at the Getty Center website is a database of the art, people, venues and happenings recorded in the initiative, including an interactive map displaying the physical relationships between the venues and happenings over time.

The Getty’s Pacific Standard Time team approached my team at Red Card Studios for help in transforming their vision for an interactive database into an actual functioning website. My role began as a consultant in flushing out how the different types of functionality would be adapted and into what platform. I then moved on to collaborate with my Red Card Studios partner Patrick Skidmore and The Getty’s then in-house graphic designer (now a graphic design freelancer) Kathleen Evanoff in flushing out the graphic designs to match the vision and the resulting functional spec.

My next role then was to take the final graphics and integrate the design into a web-friendly application, using WordPress, PHP, Javascript/jQuery and MySQL.

screen-pst-exploreOne of our challenges was the wide breadth of user browser and operating systems to support. I was able to write cross-compatible CSS using javascript libraries like CSS PIE and jQuery to wrangle older dysfunctional browsers like Internet Explorer 7 and 8 into visually matching the experience of modern browser users.

Another challenge was the vast amount of data that needed to be entered and made available. I created a child theme using the Thematic Theme Framework, custom post types and taxonomies within the new (at the time) WordPress 3.x custom Post type frameworks, and extended it using the Advanced Custom Fields plugin to create a well-rounded CMS that allowed my team of four and several staff members at the Getty to enter and maintain literally thousands of pieces of data. Then I built out the envisioned navigation structures to allow users to easily browse the category of art, people, venue or happenings that they were interested in.

screen-pst-mapThe final piece of functionality we built was an interactive custom filtering map using the Google Maps API. Developer David Anderberg was my primary javascript and map API developer, and using the javascript object data provided by my wordpress template, we were able to create a filtering interactive map of art and events in the Los Angeles area across several decades.

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