About

Anna Belle Leiserson
aka Happy Web Diva

Welcome to Happy Web Diva, where I muse about building the Web. My beat is the intersection of the Web, work, and life. My dream is to be a part of the Awakening Web.

I’ve been playing in Web source code since the dawn of Web time — Feb. 1994 to be precise. Nevertheless, I wake up every morning amazed that the Web happened in my lifetime. It might so easily have been otherwise.

What I love to do is build beautiful, responsive websites — particularly accessible ones, because I know first-hand what an incalculably rich resource it can be for those with significant physical limitations.

My Web passions are many and various: information architecture (where I can release my inner librarian), UX, CSS, SEO, SVG, etc. If you look around my blog you’ll unbury some of my old flames. I’m starting to weed them, though, so hopefully you won’t run into horribly outdated posts.

My Credentials

In Brief:

  • I’m a front end Web developer who has been building websites since 1994. From 2004 to 2013 I was in charge of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center’s website, VICC.org, as first Web Coordinator and later Health Systems Software Engineer. Under my watch, VICC.org was ranked by the Journal of Healthcare Management (Jan/Feb 2012) as a top 10 hospital and health system website (out of 4,037 facilities / 636 websites). Since 2012 I’ve been an invited expert to the W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative. Prior to that (1984-2004) I was first a librarian and then Webmaster for Vanderbilt University Law School. During that time I created and launched my first love, AcqWeb, an award-winning site for librarians.

Details:

  • Freelance front end web development (2005 to present). Until I retired from Vanderbilt in Nov. 2013, I primarily freelanced for Vanderbilt departments other than my own. Now I build websites for friends.
  • Developer of accessible themes for WordPress.org.
  • An invited expert to the W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative (2012 to 2016).
  • Health Systems Software Engineer, Vanderbilt Research Informatics Core (2010-2013). I continued my earlier trajectory of front end Web development for Vanderbilt, but with a fancy title, given the way VU delineated jobs in this era. To my amazement, I was lucky enough to be offered early retirement after 29 years at VU.
  • Web Coordinator, Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center (2004-2009).
  • Vanderbilt University Law School Webmaster (1997-2004).
  • Founder of AcqWeb (1994 to around 2000). I began building websites when I was an acquisitions librarian at Vanderbilt Law Library. I had no intention of making it a career. Back then, who knew it would even become a career, let alone a hot one? But I was one of those lucky ones who did what made me happy and, in time, it became not just my avocation, but also my vocation.

What I Do

Technically I’m a front end Web developer. For non-techies, we’re hybrids — linking the skills of programing with those of digital graphic design. In other words, my skills include HTML5, PHP, MySQL, CSS, JavaScript, Photoshop, UX, responsive design, information architecture, and real SEO (not the flim-flam stuff that so many people try to hawk).

Since retiring from Vanderbilt, I’ve mostly been building WordPress sites for clients and doing various Web accessibility jobs.

But the real deal is that, for reasons I don’t really understand, building the Web brings me great joy. I’m lucky these days that I get to pick my projects. I only do ones that I believe will make a valuable contribution (however small) to this hurting world of ours.

Wishing you well,
Anna Belle Leiserson

Contact Me