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For a Web Designer, a Retail Outlet

This article by Teena Chandy was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on

March 10, 1999. All rights reserved.

The World Wide Web has touched the life of Syamala Jonnalagadda,

and it has changed her career. "I was fascinated by web study,"

she says. It’s all she wants to do now.

Through her firm Shape Multimedia Creations, Jonnalagadda has designed

more than 100 websites, mostly for biotechnology companies and

women/minority-owned and small businesses in the area. Now she has

bought Business Express, the storefront at Princeton Meadows Shopping

Center, and has integrated Shape Multimedia with it.

Business Express provides such business services as printing and desktop

publishing plus mailing and packaging services, stationery sales,

key duplication, and copying. Jonnalagadda has computerized the UPS

and Federal Express services, added two computers with printers that

are available for rental at $10 an hour, and is setting up a computer

learning center to offer summer camps for children and adult classes

in the fall. Her assistant, Riham Ali, helps her out with the service

side of the business. She and her husband — an engineer at Sarnoff

Corporation — have two daughters, and the older one also assists

in the store.

When Jonnalagadda came to the United States from India 22 years ago,

she had a master’s degree in genetics. She worked at Rutgers University

and Princeton Biocenter and also earned her teaching certification.

About four years ago she discovered she liked designing websites better

than chemistry. "I taught myself and learned by myself, and eventually

I took some courses," says Jonnalagadda, "I kept improving

my skills, did a little teaching, and I am still taking courses.

When she started in the website business Jonnalagadda was working

at Source India, an umbrella for more than 150 Indian businesses worldwide,

and she did the website there (http://www.sourceindia.com).

Two years ago she went out on her own.

Then she got her big break. Alfred DeGrazia, a retired professor,

spotted her advertisement and hired her to design his website. His

material ranged from political science and his own theory of quantavolution

and catastrophe to a series of war letters written during World War

II. The website Jonnalagadda created (http://www.grazian-archive.com)

was widely acclaimed. The letters were published like a serial for

two and a half years, she says. "His work, his level of topics

was very deep, and we gave it a lift through the Internet," says

Jonnalagadda.

Anybody can make a jazzy website, says Jonnalagadda. But what makes

the website impressive is the content. "The material should be

good and should have something of interest to offer the reader."

She is modest when she talks about her contribution to the popularity

of the Grazian Archive. The professor had some interesting material,

she says. Though she does not undermine the importance of appearance,

Jonnalagadda believes that using real pictures scores above cartoons,

animation, and similar computer tricks.

Business Express, Shape Multimedia Creations,

660 Plainsboro Road, Building D-3, Princeton Meadows Shopping Center,

Plainsboro 08536. 609-799-3580; fax, 609-799-7378. Home page: http://www.business-express.com

— Teena Chandy


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