Nikki Thayer

NEXT: UCLA Digital Library

Case Study

The Player's Guide to Shakespeare

What does reading Shakespeare look like when removed from the conventions of the written page?

2013—2021 / Designer, Developer / Mobile Web

Cover page of the Player's Reference edition of A Midsummer Night's Dream


1. Create a single edition of A Midsummer Night's Dream for readers and performers with different relationships to Shakespeare.

2. Match the final result to the actual needs of the theater - quick to reference and functional in rehearsal rooms with spotty wifi.

3. Build a back end interface to add editions of additional plays in the future.


This is an ongoing side project with Kurt Daw, a professor at San Francisco State University - who happens to be my father in law. We started in 2013, working into the night after family dinners discussing different user needs and UX paradigms that could meet those needs. At the time, the goal was not just to design the site but to improve my front end development skills. I coded the site up as a live demo using jquery and css with the intent of showing it as a proof of concept to attract a developer. Kurt fleshed out the original demo and it continued to get traction in academic circles. Finally in 2021, I decided to learn enough PHP to code the backend myself in order to support an upcoming edition of Romeo and Juliet.

A new version is in active development, but here's the original prototype.

Text from the four textual modes of the Player's Reference arranged in a collage


It won awards! It was a featured project in the (juried) Shakespeare Association of America Digital Salon in April 2015, and a juried "demo project" at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education annual conference, in August 2019.

The original working doc for this project. Sorry to do you dirty like this, Kurt.