My name is Nicole Hanusek, and my goal is to create beautiful, effective websites that elevate my clients’ online presence.
I began designing websites in 1998, back when websites were just starting to become “a thing.” Because I started so long ago, I learned how to build a website from the ground up. I bring that know-how to every site I build. I design in Photoshop; I hand-code in HTML, CSS, and PHP; and I provide a full website from start to finish, helping my clients through the entire process. I truly enjoy my job because it combines creativity, logic, and problem-solving. In college, I majored in illustration, and when I was growing up, I excelled in math and science. I think web design is the perfect combination of those two subjects.
I started Smack Happy Design in 2008 because I really enjoy working on a variety of projects, and Smack Happy lets me help people and companies with their challenges. I’ve created solutions for lawyers, caterers, hair stylists, schools, artists, and many other business types.
My goal is to make sure that all of my clients have a beautiful, professional, and easy-to-use website. I want visitors to my clients’ sites to know exactly what my clients do. Whether someone visits a site to purchase a product, buy a service, or just to get in touch, I want the end goal to be easy to accomplish. I help my clients make that happen because I care about their business, and I care about helping them achieve their goals.
My web design career began in Cleveland, Ohio, while I was studying Illustration at the Cleveland Institute of Art. As a web designer, my love of art is satisfied by the design portion of my job, while my love of science and math is fulfilled by hand-coding HTML and CSS. I get the best of both worlds!
In 2004, I moved to San Francisco and dove into professional design full-time. In 2008, I took the leap and opened my own design firm. Since then, I have been affectionately referred to as a “web design goddess”, a “css master,” and a “WordPress magician.”
While working my last full-time job and preparing for my switch to freelancing, I was trying to come up with a business name. As you may know, coming up with a good name these days is very difficult. The domain needs to be available, and it needs to be memorable and easy to spell. One day, I was at work and my co-worker did something to aggravate me and I said to myself, “I’m going to get smack happy on him!” Bam, there it was, what a great name! Luckily, it was available, so I snatched it up… and here we are.
I live close to the San Francisco SPCA, and one day I was walking by with my dog. We passed a woman who commented, “He’s so mellow, he’d make a great therapy dog!” This was actually something I had thought about doing many times. And guess what? She was in charge of the program! She gave me her card, and I knew I had no more excuses. My dog Joe and I went through Animal Assisted Therapy training, and now we visit one of the more than 90 facilities throughout San Francisco that are affiliated with the program, two to three times a month.
I’ve also participated in the Spark program. Spark provides life-changing apprenticeships to youth in underserved communities across the United States. In Spring 2011, I took on two web design apprentices: Matthew (8th grade) and Coy (7th grade). Together, they formed their own design firm and created design concepts for me, their client. They learned a lot about the web and will hopefully go on to pursue some classes in Photoshop or HTML.
Nicole Hanusek (PDF)