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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
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.
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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