Literate Web Design + Development Santa Barbara


Silverthreaded is a literate web design studio located in Santa Barbara, California, serving corporate, non-profit, technology startup and small business clients. We are an informed and active node in the global renaissance of web design.

Silverthreaded offers expertise in information architecture; graphic design; html & CSS; client- & server-side scripting; Wordpress implementation; database design & development; screencasts; copywriting; domain & hosting facilitation; search engine optimization (SEO); e-commerce integration; and ongoing rapid-response site maintenance.

We are web standards enthusiasts with a passion for planning and structuring the presentation of information. Employing lightweight, web-based project management, we guide our clients through the development process in a staged, logical flow. Epiphanies along the way—arising from painless virtual collaboration—are by no means rare.

The Mirror

The way that you present your business online, whether large or small, corporate or non-profit, has become an ever more meaningful piece of the puzzle of abundance and success. A web site, to our minds, should clearly and tastefully provide a mirror of your highest aspirations, individual and collective.

A web site is no longer an afterthought to marketing efforts; it is the essential centerpiece of self-presentation. We like to think of sites as spaces, architectures with specific structures and interior design that are not just visited but actually lived within by you and your clientele.

Ask yourself: does my website feel like a place I can relax? Do my visitors find what they need, effortlessly? Does the space have a natural and logical flow? Your site can, with some planning, attention and care, easily become a destination of choice and a true reflection of your vision.

Logical Flow

The logical flow of design happens by means of an ongoing dialogue between a craftsperson and a client. At Silverthreaded, we like to facilitate the co-creation of something special, something that emerges from the flow of a client’s business and creative vision into its implementation, within what has become a very rich and expressive medium. We realize too that there is always a third stakeholder involved – the "end user" or visitor. Design for the web is a translation of the needs of a client’s set of goals into a rich visual presence that is then offered as an experience to the user. For a site to truly be successful, these three modes – enterprise, design and usability – must be placed into harmony. There is a flow to the process of creation that is then reflected in the flow of the actual experience of arriving at and making use of a site. We imagine this flow to be a kind re-introduction of nature into the world of the screen.

  • Painless Process
  • Library
  • Vita

Getting that sparkle in your eye at the prospect of a fresh new website is a joy that we hope you’ll take with you throughout the process of site creation. It certainly doesn’t have to become a difficult path. We would like to help you, in fact, to make it painless and perhaps even a learning experience, an adventure in co-creation. We present here a summary of the phases in our systematic approach to taking your vision from concept to completion.

Define the Project

We conduct thorough discovery by quickly learning your initiatives from the ground up, thoroughly understanding your goals and tapping into knowledge that may reside in the minds of your team rather than on paper or in files. To this end, we conduct engaging stakeholder interviews (in-person/phone/email) to solicit such key information.

We aim to learn everything about your various audiences, their needs and your needs as an organization, so the site can fulfill its purpose. We believe that many designers, developers and agencies underestimate this phase of site design; we prefer to approach web development from a discovery point of departure – a fundamental effort to come to a deep understanding of your needs – that leads to an exact design, content and technological fit, rather than to assume anything while diving into pixels and code.

This approach is sometimes known as web ethnography, and leads in our experience to sites with far richer and more engaging content than you may imagine initially.

Develop Site Structure

We approach from high level and drill down to detail level from a set of key architectural views of the site. Site structure will be presented using best practices in information architecture, including visual flowcharts that express all navigation paths, page-level wireframes that detail content blocks and priorities, and anticipated publishing workflow charts. These living documents help trigger decision-making about content needs and navigational pathways. They show, prior to graphical design decisions, the amount and importance of what should be presented and are a vital reference for the build-out of a site.

Design Visual Interface

We present designs and gather feedback, incorporating feedback in delivered iterations, leading to a sign off on the look and feel of the overall site. Designs will be developed with SEO (search engine optimization), accessibility and web standards firmly in mind from the beginning, which will greatly aid the production of individual pages and added functionality. During this phase, a dedicated graphic designer/digital artist/illustrator with experience in web user interface design will be involved to bring imaginative possibilities into view.

Design Front End

The core to web design are the dual components of markup and stylesheets. Markup is the actual html code of the page or template. CSS, which stands for Cascading Style Sheets, governs the appearance of elements that appear in the markup, from overall layout to navigation, header, paragraph, list and form styles.

The CSS framework for a site is a critical and high-value translation of the visual interface that has been graphically produced into code that plays well in all major browsers. As the core of the site’s presentation layer, it governs the look and feel of the site. CSS coding is perhaps the single most important piece to give your site that “wow” factor, and to assure that it accurately represents the content in different browsers.

CSS styles are consistently and iteratively tested against the markup (html) for all pages, optimized for performance and modified for special cases (such as the handling of pesky Internet Explorer bugs). It’s important to keep in mind that CSS is also evolving and can accomplish things that had to be done graphically before, such as rounded-corner boxes, drop-shadows on text and so on. These touches can set your site apart and please the eyes of your visitors.

Develop, Build & Integrate

With the navigational, visual and content structures in place, we collect, edit and fill in the gaps of relevant content. This is a closely collaborative phase in which we help your company gather materials, polish content, translate unstructured content into structured content, and create additional audio-visual materials – such as screencasts, illustrations & photography – that complement or supplement your written content.

Concurrently, we fully develop the site’s functionality. We put in place any technical enhancements needed to store, query and manipulate data, achieve e-commerce, conversion or ROI goals, validate forms, make the building blocks of the site more modular and provide a secure online environment. This phase can include installing and setting up a customized company blog as well. It can also include putting in place SSL certificates for serving secure pages such as sign up forms or shopping carts.

Generally, so-called frontend and backend development involves the introduction of  technologies that add to the core of html and CSS and make up what is often called the behavioral layer of a site. Common scripting languages for backend development are PHP (server-side scripting, including connecting to MySQL databases) and JavaScript (client-side scripting).


We create the QA (quality assurance) plan, incorporating best practices to review, test and polish the site to ensure its elegant presentation on a wide variety of platform-browser combinations. We fix bugs and do final tests before launching the site. Web browser testing is done to a specification based on audience; if the site requires compatibility with older browsers or mobile devices, for instance, all phases of development will take that into account, and the site will be thoroughly tested against those user agents, as well as all modern desktop browsers such as Firefox, Safari and Chrome on both Windows and Mac.

Launch & Beyond

At launch, we open the site to the public, including search engines, and help further with marketing communications and further search engine optimization, as well as social media marketing and newsletter campaigns, if desired. We also estimate maintenance needs and create a maintenance plan and budget, as needed. If a Content Management System (CMS) has been deployed, we provide training on this system so that you can update your site in house, while still relying on us for technology and plug-in upgrades, backups and more involved content updates, as desired.

Web Standards Design & Development

  • Allsopp, John. “A Dao of Web Design.” A List Apart 7 April 2000 – Issue No. 58.
  • Budd, Andy with Cameron Moll & Simon Collison. CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions. 2nd Ed. Berkeley: Apress, 2009.
  • Cederholm, Dan. CSS3 for Web Designers. New York: A Book Apart, 2010.
  • Cederholm, Dan. Web Standards Solutions: The Markup and Style Handbook. Berkeley: Apress, 2004.
  • Cederholm, Dan.Bulletproof Web Design: Improving flexibility and protecting against worst-case scenarios with XHTML and CSS. Berkeley: New Riders, 2005.
  • Curtis, Hillman. MTV: Process, Inspiration and Practice for the New Media Designer. Indianapolis: New Riders, 2002.
  • Dayley, Brad. Node.js, Mongo DB and AngularJS Web Development. Boston: Addison-Wesley, 2014.
  • Firtman, Maximiliano. Programming the Mobile Web. Sebastopol: O’Reilly, 2010.
  • Haverbeke, Marijn. Eloquent JavaScript: A Modern Introduction to Programming. San Francisco: No Starch Press, 2011.
  • Keith, Jeremy. DOM Scripting: Web Design with JavaScript and the Document Object Model. Berkeley: Apress, 2005.
  • Keith, Jeremy. HTML5 for Web Designers. New York: A Book Apart, 2010.
  • Koch, Peter-Paul.PPK on JavaScript. Berkeley: New Riders, 2007.
  • Lie, Hakon Wium and Bert Bos. Cascading Style Sheets: Designing for the Web. 2nd Ed. Harlow, England: Addison-Wesley, 1999.
  • Lynch, Patrick J. and Sarah Horton. Web Style Guide: Basic Design Principles for Creating Web Sites. 3rd Ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008.
  • Mahemoff, Michael. Ajax Design Patterns: Creating Web 2.0 Sites with Programming and Usability Patterns. Sebastopol: O’Reilly, 2006.
  • Marcotte, Ethan. Responsive Web Design. New York: A Book Apart, 2011.
  • Meyer, Eric. Eric Meyer on CSS: Mastering the Language of Web Design. Indianapolis: New Riders, 2003.
  • Robbins, Jennifer Niederst. Web Design in a Nutshell: A Desktop Quick Reference. 3rd ed. Sebastapol: O’Reilly, 2006.
  • Schafer, Steven M. Web Standards: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Perl, Python, and PHP: Programmer’s Reference. Indianapolis: Wiley, 2005.
  • Spainbour, Stephen & Robert Eckstein. Webmaster in a Nutshell: A Desktop Quick Reference. 3rd Edition. Sepastapol: O’Reilly Media, 2003.
  • Van Duyne, Douglas K, James A. Landay and Jason I. Hong. The Design of Sites: Patterns, Principles, and Processes for Crafting a Customer-Centered Web Experience. Boston: Addison-Wesley, 2003.
  • Veen, Jeffrey.The Art & Science of Web Design. Indianapolis: New Riders, 2001.
  • Wroblewski, Luke. Mobile First. New York: A Book Apart, 2011.
  • York, Richard. Beginning CSS: Cascading Style Sheets for Web Design. Indianapolis: Wiley, 2005.
  • Zeldman, Jeffrey and Ethan Marcotte. Designing with Web Standards. 3rd Ed. Boston: New Riders, 2009.

Information Design & Typography

  • The Chicago Manual of Style. 15th Edition. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 2003.
  • Alexander, Christopher et al. A Pattern Language: Towns · Buildings · Construction. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977.
  • Bringhurst, Robert. The Elements of Typographic Style. 2nd Ed. Vancouver: Hartley & Marks, 1997.
  • Cooper, Alan. About Face 2.0: The Essentials of Interaction Design. Indianapolis: Wiley, 2003.
  • Garrett, Jesse James.The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web. Berkeley: New Riders, 2002.
  • Jacobson, Robert, ed.Information Design. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999.
  • Loxley, Simon. Type: The Secret History of Letters. London: I.B. Tauris, 2004.
  • Lupton, Ellen. Thinking With Type: A Critical Guide for Desiners, Writers, Editors & Students. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2004.
  • Morville, Peter. Ambient Findability. Sebastapol: O’Reilly Media, 2005.
  • Norman, Donald A. The Design of Everyday Things. New York: Doubleday/Currency, 1988.
  • Tidwell, Jenifer. Designing Interfaces: Patterns for Effective Interaction Design. Sebastapol: O’Reilly, 2006.
  • Tufte, Edward R. Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative. Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press, 1997.
  • Wurman, Richard Saul. Information Architects. New York: Graphis Inc., 1997.

PHP Development

  • Babin, Lee et al. PHP 5 Recipes: A Problem-Solution Approach. Berkeley: Apress, 2005.
  • Boudreaux, Toby Joe.PHP 5 . Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing, 2005.
  • Choi, Wankyu et al. Beginning PHP 4. Birmingham: Wrox Press, 2000.
  • Harrington, Jack D. PHP Hacks: Tips & Tools for Creating Dynamic Web Sites. Sebastapol: O’Reilly, 2006.
  • Steinmetz, William. Wicked Cool PHP: Real-World Scripts That Solve Difficult Problem. No Starch Press, 2008.
  • Ullman, Larry.PHP For the World Wide Web. 2nd Edition. Berkeley: Peachpit Press, 2004.
  • Welling, Luke and Laura Thomson. PHP and MySQL Web Development. 2nd Ed. Indianapolis: Developer’s Library, 2003.
  • Wenz, Christian. PHP Phrasebook: Essential Code and Commands. Indianapolis: Developer’s Library, 2006.

Project Management

  • A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide). Project Management Institute, 2001.
  • Berkun, Scott. The Art of Project Management. Cambridge: O’Reilly, 2005.
  • Goto, Kelly and Emily Cotler. Web Redesign 2.0: Workflow that Works. Berkeley: New Riders, 2005.
  • Kruchten, Philippe. The Rational Unified Process: An Introduction. 2nd Ed. 2000. Boston: Addison-Wesley.
  • Lewis, James P. The Project Manager’s Desk Reference. 2nd Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000.
  • McConnell, Steve. Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules. Redmond: Microsoft Press, 1996.
  • McConnell, Steve. Software Project Survival Guide. Redmond: Microsoft Press, 1998.
  • Storbacka, Kaj and Jarmo R. Lehtinen.Customer Relationship Management. Singapore: McGraw-Hill, 2001.

Design Business

  • Foote, Cameron S. The Business Side of Creativity: The Complete Guide to Running a Small Graphic Design or Communications Business. 3rd ed. New York: Norton, 2006.
  • Monteiro, Mike. Design Is A Job. New York: A Book Apart, 2012.
  • Perkins, Shal. Talent is Not Enough: Business Secrets for Designers. Peachpit Press, 2006.

Book Design

  • Birdsall, Derek. Notes on Book Design. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004.
  • Hochull, Jost and Robin Kinross. Designing Books: Practice and Theory. London: Hyphen Press, 1996.
  • Kittler, Friedrich A. Gramophone, Film, Typewriter. Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1999.
  • KuHaku. & Other Accounts From Japan. Seattle: Chin Music Press, 2004.
  • McLuhan, Herbert Marshall. The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man. Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press, 1962.
  • Olmert, Michael. The Smithsonian Book of Books. Smithsonian Books, 2003.

Database Design

  • Date, C.J. An Introduction to Database Systems. 7th Ed. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 2000.
  • Fleming, Candace C. and Barbara von Halle. Handbook of Relational Database Design. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1989.
  • Hernandez, Michael J. Database Design for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design. 2nd Ed. Addison-Wesley, 2003.
  • Welling, Luke and Laura Thomson. MySQL Tutorial. Indianapolis, IN: Sams Publishing, 2004.
  • Yank, Kevin. PHP & MySQL: Novice to Ninja. 5th Ed. Collingwood VIC, Australia: Sitepoint, 2012.

Search Engine Optimization

  • Enge, Eric, Stephan Spencer, Rand Fishkin, Jessie C. Stricchiola. The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization. Sepastopol: O’Reilly, 2010.
  • Kent, Peter. Search Engine Optimization for Dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing, 2004.
  • King, Andrew. Website Optimization: Speed, Search Engine & Conversion Rate Secrets. O’Reilly Media, 2008.
  • George, David.The ABC of SEO: Search Engine Optimization Strategies. Lulu Press, 2005.
  • Walter, Aaron.Building Findable Websites: Web Standards, SEO, and Beyond. Berkeley, CA: New Riders, 2008.


  • Shotts Jr., William E. The Linux Command Line: A Complete Introduction. San Francisco: no starch press, 2012.

Daniel L. Potter – Curriculum Vita


I take pleasure in crafting content-rich & aesthetically engaging websites, while constantly learning new techniques & technologies. My expertise lies in web standards design & development (CSS, HTML, JavaScript, jQuery, PHP, MySQL), user experience, deep discovery through corporate ethnography, information architecture, project management, and building lasting client relationships. I have 16 years experience in digital media design and project management, encompassing web design, commercial games, marketing communications, research, web-based eLearning, data-driven enterprise applications and consumer entertainment applications. I bring an extremely strong educational background to all my work.


PROJECT MANAGEMENT: Teamwork PM | Basecamp
INFORMATION DESIGN: OmniGraffle | Creately | Balsamiq
GRAPHICS PRODUCTION: Photoshop CC | Illustrator CC | Sketch
PROTOTYPING: Sketch & InVision
WEB DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT: HTML5 | CSS 2.1 + 3 | PHP 5 & 7 | MySQL 5 | JavaScript | jQuery
TOOLS: Terminal | Sublime Text | Atom | Textastic (iPad) | Filezilla | homebrew | WP-CLI | Pantheon Terminus
FRAMEWORKS, RESETS, TEMPLATES: Bootstrap | Foundation | normalize.css
PLATFORMS: macOS Sierra | Win 7 Pro | Linux
HOSTING: Linux | Apache | Nginx
PREFERRED HOSTS: | Rackspace | Digital Ocean
COPYWRITING + EDITING: Chicago Manual of Style
WEB FONTS: Typekit
SOCIAL MEDIA: Twitter | Quora | Pinterest |
COLLABORATION: Dropbox | G Suite | Dropbox Paper


2004 – Present
Principal | Web Designer & Developer
Silverthreaded Information Design
Santa Barbara, CA

As principal of the web design & development firm Silverthreaded, I have been performing UI and information design, client- and server-side coding, copy-writing & project management for corporate, non-profit and small business clients desiring clean, modern, rapidly-developed sites. I approach this work via expertise in web standards – xhtml markup, CSS layout & DOM scripting – supplemented by a technical foundation in LAMP (Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP). These base capabilities are supplemented by a systematic understanding of SEO, WordPress, screencast production and e-commerce.

My main clients currently are the SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning and the Santa Barbara Humane Society. I have also designed and developed sites and solutions for FastSpring E-Commerce, Intuitive Surgical, AngioDynamics, the Conference of California Bar Associations (CCBA), CPC Search, Veterans for Peace, Sierra Conveyor Company, BeatDMV, Computer Motion and RITA Medical. For corporate clients, I provide special expertise in project management, running the entire cycle of web refresh development: planning; graphical UI design; sub-contractor supervision, database design; stakeholder interviews; 3rd party vendor management; resource allocation; copywriting; review cycles and QA.

For FastSpring, a highly successful e-commerce start-up known for its rich, intuitive platform and outstanding customer service, I handle a variety of creative, technical and project management duties. My work for FastSpring includes multi-site web design & development, corporate blogging, screencasts, marketing communications, localization and creative direction.


Technical Director
Santa Barbara, CA

For FastSpring, a highly successful digital commerce start-up known for its intuitive platform and award-winning customer service, Daniel handled the design and technical development of the company’s websites, marketing collateral, support documentation and platform localization to 20+ languages. Daniel managed the graphic design team, led SEO initiatives and contributed CSS code to the SpringBoard platform.During Daniel’s time with the company, FastSpring was awarded by Inc. 500, Deloitte’s Tech Fast 500, the Codie Awards, and the Stevie Awards. Daniel is proud to have worked with FastSpring since its inception, initially as a consultant and then as a full-time employee.

Director of Information Design
Computer Motion / Intuitive Surgical
Santa Barbara, CA

Taking the project management lead for the Marketing Communications department of this prominent medical device company, I produced documentation, design and copy for interactive and print products. On the ocassion of the company’s acquisition by Intuitive Surgical, I developed a systematic communications strategy and project plan. In 2002, I consulted as copywriter and information architect in a major refresh of the public web site.

DigitalMed, Inc.
Santa Barbara, CA + Boulder, CO

For DigitalMed, an eLearning technology and content company serving the second-largest hospital system in the US, I conducted information design, project management and technology acquisition for the Learning Content Management System (LCMS). I produced detailed documentation and project plans, while managing teams and vendors.

Director, Information Design
Salus Media
Carpinteria, CA

I directed startup Salus Media’s information architecture and content design using XML and XSLT. Salus’ “LifeStyles” product comprised a suite of web-based content modules serving dynamic health and wellness programs via corporate intranets.

Senior Producer
Addictive Media / Netlogix, Inc.
Santa Barbara, CA

For this successful interactive development studio, I produced seven on-time, on-budget CD-ROM titles and two Location Based Entertainment attractions for industry-leading publishers. Major clients included Walt Disney Imagineering , Mattel Media and The Learning Company . I oversaw client relations; wrote design documents and technical specifications; handled milestone deliverables through Alpha, Beta and Gold phases; directed art and engineering production and QA; managed external animation teams; designed and implemented video projects; and led multiple web design projects.

Interval Research Corporation
Palo Alto, CA

For Interval, the famed “best & the brightest” technology R&D company founded by Paul Allen, I contributed to major qualitative and quantitative market research projects focused on tween, teen and GenX demographics, in collaboration with market research firms ImageNet and Cheskin-Masten . My work involved field and focus group interviews, videography, photography, video logging, web design, UI design, company-wide presentations, hosting of guest speakers, and detailed research reports for internal and external clients. I built a major hand-coded multimedia website presenting research conducted at Lollapalooza concerts, in conjunction with the Electric Carnival traveling multimedia exhibition. Internal clients included Brenda Laurel and Marc Davis; external clients included Thomas Dolby; hosted speakers included Peter Gabriel and Douglas Rushkoff.

1987 – 1991:
Teaching Assistant
Dept. of Comparative Literature
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY

Taught self-designed Freshman Writing Seminars for six semesters, covering topics in composition, literature, and film. Among the writers and filmmakers studied were Albert Camus, Breyten Breytenbach, Philip K. Dick, J.G. Ballard, David Cronenberg, Nawal el Sadawi, Michel Foucault, Godfrey Reggio, Marshall McLuhan, Kobo Abe and Carolyn Forche.


Ph.D. program in Comparative Literature, 1986-1992
Major subjects: German Studies
Minor subjects: European intellectual history; French literature; Media theory
M.A. received May 1990
Dissertation topic: The Essay Film as Art of Memory

B.A., Honors Humanities and Comparative Literature
1979-1984: Graduated June, 1984.
Overseas study: Tours, France, 1981 and West Berlin, 1983-84

Freie Universität Berlin
DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) scholarship: 1988-89

Wilhelms-Westfälische Universität Münster
Fulbright scholarship: 1984-85.

Awards & Scholarships

  • Guest seminar and workshop, Center for Technology, Williams College, April 1998
  • Mellon Fellowship, Cornell University, 1992
  • Einaudi research grant for film research in Paris, July-August 1991
  • DAAD Fellowship, Freie Universität, W. Berlin, 1988-89.
  • Fulbright Scholarship, University of Münster, W. Germany, 1984-85
  • Sage Graduate Fellowship, Cornell University, 1986-87
  • Publication of undergraduate Honors Essay by Stanford University, Honors Humanities Monograph Series, 1985.

Teaching Experience

John S. Knight Writing Program, Dept. of Comparative Literature,
Cornell University, 1986 – 1991


Speaking, writing, and reading knowledge of German and French; working knowledge of Spanish, Russian and Latin


For further information and recommendations, please visit my LinkedIn profile:

View Daniel L Potter's profile on LinkedIn

“Daniel is an excellent designer, and a joy to work with. We’ve made him part of almost every project I’ve been involved with over the past few years, and he’s always come through with great work at a very reasonable price. We consider ourselves quite fortunate to have the opportunity to work with him, and I know his other clients feel the same way. He also happens to be a very good person.”
– Dan Engel, Former CEO and Co-Founder, FastSpring

Dan Engel