Stay connected. I love being in contact with the design community. I always try to talk to as many people in the industry as possible. That’s what makes the web design scene flourish.

  Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

My name is Stephen MacKenzie and I am a partner and Creative Director at Teknision Inc. I started my career by taking Graphic Design at Algonquin College here in Ottawa, Canada’s capital. Being a new graduate and fresh to the industry, I began working for a couple of well-known agencies in the city. It was a great experience but I quickly felt the need to branch out on my own.

I knew I wanted to start my own company where I could expand on my skill set and share my own vision without boundaries and have more control of where life can take me. Starting Teknision provided me with a great avenue to push the envelope. The company is still relatively new to the game but I think the design community will be seeing more and more of us in the future.

  What do you do for inspiration?

I usually visit various design portals on the web, keep my eyes open for examples of good print work, and brainstorm with the rest of the team. I love discussing new and innovative navigation ideas and I’m also very interested in emerging technology.

A lot of my inspiration comes from interacting with new things and how I might be able to put my own spin on them.

  Please list 3 of your favorite sites that you surf.

Besides FWA, I check out www.styleboost.com often. I'm also a big Apple fan so I check out the rumor sites macrumours.com (no longer online) and macnn.com to see what Apple is coming out with next.

  What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

I'd say my biggest achievement is finding the courage to start my own company. We started Teknision Inc. in the middle of the economic downturn when larger companies were laying off or going under completely.

Our company has grown largely because of word-of-mouth. With the help of a talented team, we’ve managed to stay on top and grow the business by researching new trends and delivering a final product that exceeds our client’s expectations every time.

  What software couldn't you live without?

Macromedia Flash. About 90% of our business comes from Flash work so we all use Flash every day. Then again, maybe it’s my new BlueTooth software that lets me control iTunes from my cellular phone. One of the two.

  What projects do you have in the pipeline?

We are starting to focus on some new Flash oriented applications. We have announced ‘Konsort’ which is our first official Flash product. Konsort is based on the communication application being used on our website currently but will include many additional features that make it a real business tool.

We are also working on other products that take the power of Flash and Communication Server and apply it to real world business challenges that we see our clients face every day.

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

WDDG I love these guys. Each site they create is unique and their 404 error page is the most creative one I’ve ever seen.

Praystation Josh Davis has inspired many and done so much for the Flash community.

Volumeone Matt Owens style is great. I love his work he’s a definite inspiration.

  What effect on traffic do your new designs have?

Without a doubt, fresh and innovative design brings traffic to a site. For example, our new site has had a huge increase in traffic from its earlier versions. However, design has to go hand in hand with usability and productivity. On our site, I think the increase can be attributed more to an idea as opposed to the design itself. The idea all revolves around communication. Using Konsort, lets us immediately connect with everyone that visits providing a truly unique experience whether it is someone else in the design community or even a potential client looking for more information on our services.

  Who is your target audience?

This may sound strange but I’d have to say it’d be myself and the others here in the shop While the outcome has to satisfy the needs of the client, it also has to appeal to us and we’re the harshest critics of all.

  What area of web design lacks the most?

From an industry point of view, I’d like to see a quicker adoption of Flash. Once people get used to interacting with Flash as an application, I think only then will it start to propagate across all mediums and platforms at a greater rate.

I would also have to say usability and functionality. The reason is that many people have learned to use rich media tools out there in the world but few have learned to use them to solve problems. Many people seem to design for themselves rather than users. That leads to 2 scenarios. 1) A site that people visit, get annoyed leave and never return. 2) People visit, love it, show a few friends, they love it and within a little while, they never return.

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

Honestly, It was really bad. Big ugly buttons and just plain bad all around. Fortunately it’s not around anymore.

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

Not at the moment although a fellow partner at Teknision, Tony MacDonell, is planning on writing a book soon. I’d be interested in reviewing or taking part in one if the opportunity presented itself.

  What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?

The toughest site to date was BabyreeEntertainment. It is a dynamically populated Flash site complete with a back-end administration system that was created with Cold Fusion and Flash 5. The site would have been completed in half the time if we’d had Flash MX at our disposal.

  Do you think Flash is here to stay?

I think it's definitely here to stay and continue to evolve and grow. In the near future I predict a huge increase in Flash web sites and also rich media applications made with Flash.

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

Most of my Flash skills are self-taught. I pay attention to what the industry is doing and I try to emulate and build on those ideas. I’m always learning. That's what I love about flash/design – it’s ever changing and inspiring.

My advice for newbies is to remember that any application is just a tool and should be used as such. Ideas are what count.

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

Labels aren’t really important. I dress for comfort.

  Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

Stay connected. I love being in contact with the design community. I always try to talk to as many people in the industry as possible. That’s what makes the web design scene flourish.

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

I am very honored to be interviewed by FWA. It is my pleasure. Thank you to everyone for the support and feedback. Perhaps I’ll run into you on our site sometime soon.

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