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What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash?

Getting the shrink-wrap off the damn box in a Xmas-like frenzy.

  Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

Born in Alaska. 27 year old designer of things. Moved through multiple interactive agencies (UsWeb, IBM, etc.) before founding Wiretree to really get things done. Currently living in my loft in Atlanta with my cat Cooper who oversees the project management and sound design part of the operation. Having fun building out whacky projects all over the country. Just loving what I do.

  Please list 3 of your favourite sites.

www.Threeoh.com - FWA - www.Newstoday.com. These are the sites that came to mind. I guess I'm big into design related warez.

  What do you do for inspiration?

Music: I find a lot of inspiration in music (Bob Marley in the back now). Certain songs can trigger thoughts for environments or transitions, even ways to organize information.

Flying: Everytime I'm on a plane I can't help but let my mind run.

Observation: Just watching people in everyday situations and how they interact and deal with change in certain situations.

  What software couldn't you live without?

If Flash wasn't installed on my box I would have to consider therapy. I mean come on, Flash is built to break the borders of web design - how can you pass that up? Ever since FutureSplash (pre-macromedia) I've been hooked. Not many software products can carry a cohesive experience on the web the way Flash can.

  What projects do you have in the pipeline?

Happy to report that we have about 14 active projects on the board. With a 5 person crew we are pretty slammed. On one side of the cue is a flash-based software application for the eLearning market and on the other side you can find a pure entertainment piece for Virgin Records.

  What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

Starting Wiretree to focus on design for the right reasons and the fact that we can support our team doing what we love to do. That is such a rewarding feeling and I feel lucky and thankful for that.

Another achievement is keeping our passion to extend our skills and techniques even as the economy takes a downturn now and then. It is rough out there, but we can't help but over-deliver for the sake of the project.

  Who is your target audience?

Intelligent people on the web. We give our audience credit and build interfaces that are creative and intuitive. Some audiences are more targeted depending on the client and the material, but we attempt to entertain the broadest audience possible without going too vanilla on the delivery.

  Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?

That is a rough question. I have so much respect for people out there who are pushing the boundaries of design and interface operation. To call out a few Segura, Superhere (no longer online) , threecolor, 2advanced, and Scholz & Volkmer.

  What effect on traffic do your new designs have?

I would say Wiretree's designs have a positive effect on attracting more traffic, but above that we hear responses from clients that many more people reach out to them to comment on their site design on a personal level. So, a more meaningful visit is almost better feedback than mass traffic.

  What area of web design lacks the most?

I think things are always going to evolve and we'll never be on top of it all the time due to compatibility or other commonalties. That said, I think the area of building an experience on the web is lacking.

So much of the net is raw data thrown in your face (which is great for certain applications), while every other popular media format is delivered in some sort of context. Not to say the net should follow another media type and try to evolve into that, we are clearly in a realm of our own.

My point is more about building a story with your delivery in order to help visitors retain information through the relation of a unified experience. As developers feel more confident in broadband coverage I think we'll see the medium really start to take shape and surpass other forms of entertainment and information delivery.

  Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?

Books, not yet. I was approached by a publisher, but I just can't find the time to really put everything into it that I would want to talk about. I do have a coffee table type book idea that I'm ready to produce if anyone is interested. We'll see what happens.

  Do you think Flash is here to stay?

It has survived for this long in a turbulent world of development. As long as it keeps growing to encompass new trends and capabilities of net culture it will remain a steady staple. I'm not giving it up by any means!

  What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?

Grey baby! I have always been into a minimal soft look even before I knew what that was. I believe I have a screenshot of the home page still available online somewhere. I was big on learning every application I could get my hands on and just developing my design flavor as I went along. So, my first site was a way to give myself a project to complete using whatever it took to get it done.

  What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash?

Getting the shrink-wrap off the damn box in a Xmas-like frenzy.

  What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?

They certainly can. Sometimes not knowing the guidelines (or even that there are guidelines to begin with) can be a distinct advantage in a medium that is ever changing. Anyone has the ability to bring new perspective to the table whether they are trained or not.

  When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?

Past relationships were a key element. Starting out we had a good size list of possible clients to go talk to about what we were forming and direction we wanted to take things. The next most important thing is to over deliver on all of those engagements right out of the gates. It is important to exceed expectations and build a solid foundation of work as a new company, even if that means you doing things for half or a quarter of the budget. We continue to over deliver just to be safe, because we value and want to continue building the relationships we form with our clients.

  What is the most expensive thing you've bought in the last week?

Gasoline. Ouch.

  How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?

I've learned a great deal of Flash knowledge by not compromising my designs. I won't give in when technology puts up a roadblock.

I'll bang my head against the desk for a day trying to make something work just the way I had seen it in my head. Then when I finally get it there I may just decide to scrap it and try to implement it in a totally different way.

Exploration like that helps me pick up all kinds of Flash tricks. Just stay open to alternative ways to portray an idea.

For the newbies: Just dig in. Once you start to figure things out you'll be amazed how you can link things together to create complex methods.

Ask questions, there are so many talented flashers out here who are willing to help out. If it helps I've been self-taught from day one on all the software apps I use.

You'll always be in school with all the new stuff that comes out in this industry (that is part of the fun)!

  What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?

Whatever is comfortable for a long night of code crunching.

  Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

Something different drives every one of us. Be passionate about everything that you do. Follow your thoughts on design; don't try to conform what you do to look like something else - why would you want to do something that is already out there? Don't be afraid of being self-taught and not knowing the rules (that puts you ahead of the game).

  It's been a privilege, Will, thanks very much.

Thanks for the invitation, it was my pleasure.


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