How Noelle Leigh uses Glitch (to destroy the gender binary)

Nothing is more exciting than seeing how different creators make the web. At our annual onsite in May, we had three users come in as guests to talk about the apps they've made using Glitch. One of the guests, Noelle Leigh, talked about her “trans-pride-frame” app which let people easily add the trans pride flag around their Twitter picture without logging in.

The app got a bit of traction in the Glitch community and inspired people to remix the project with other LGBT flags (bisexual, non-binary, lesbian, etc.) I got to ask Noelle about that experience and some of her others while working on Glitch.

What kinds of projects do you like making on Glitch? Has Glitch changed the way you thought about your work or your creative process?

My projects on Glitch usually grow from a seed of visual inspiration, so a lot of my projects have focused on procedural graphics in some way. Working using Glitch has encouraged me to be more creative because it makes it so easy to instantly share your work with others!

Not having to fiddle with hosting and domain names helps to remove a lot of the friction that I would otherwise experience, and leaves me with more time to experiment and explore more directions!

When you created the “trans-pride-frame” app, a lot of folks ended up remixing it with different LGBT flags. Was that always part of the plan?

When I was working on the app, there was definitely a point where I considered including some more flags. But while thinking that through, I realized that would introduce a lot of scope creep, and I might never end up releasing the app itself! So instead I settled on making it fairly straightforward to adapt to new flags, and hoped that more people would customize it to suit their needs! I was so pleased when they did!

Can you tell me the story of how you came up with the Emoji Gender Bot?

It's difficult to remember the exact circumstances, but I believe this tweet was the inception for the idea (ironically, I didn't use that library and built my own emoji manipulation functions from scratch).

One of the difficult parts of procedural generation is producing a wide variety of outputs that are both interesting and unique. It turns out the thousands and thousands of available emoji make for a perfect canvas with which to create generated art!

Seeing this emoji library made me realize that I could select and manipulate lists of emoji programmatically. And as an avid fan of abolishing the gender binary, I thought this project could be a great piece of satire on western culture’s obsession with newborns' genitalia!

I saw that for Emoji Gender Bot you made a point to keep detailed documentation. How did you find your passion about sharing your knowledge with others? Does Glitch enable that passion?

My first few projects on Glitch were primarily ways of learning how to use certain new web APIs, which I never would've been able to complete without relying on the well-documented examples of others before me.

Seeing a couple of really detailed breakdown of impressive projects on Glitch inspired me to share my own knowledge for other folks who may be new to the world of JavaScript, which can be really overwhelming!

I'm a huge sucker for good documentation, so I try to include it for any project that I want to share with a wider audience, in order to support an open-source community of young and old who can build on each others work to make more beautiful things!