A great looking but shallow site can surely boost traffic from design portals and such, but it's only short lived. The combination of great design, content, and user value is what effects traffic.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
Born in Poland, grew up in Sweden. After high school, I wanted to get into the ad industry in Sweden. But then as I was studying marketing at Vaxjo University, the Internet really took off and I knew that this is the medium I want to work in, since it combines my interests in computers, advertising, programming and design.
I've lived in California for the last 8 years happily enjoying the weather and traffic jams here and I'm the Lead designer at Zugara.
What do you do for inspiration?
Read magazines, watch movies, surf the web.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites
Google.com (goes without saying, doesn't it?)
Cnet.com (for tech news and to do research on products I want to buy)
Dn.se (for less biased news coverage from a neutral country. In Swedish only – sorry!)
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
My two-year-old son, Justin.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
There are a lot of great companies out there and I don't think it's fair to list only 3.
What software couldn't you live without?
Flash, Photoshop, Notepad, and a web browser!
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
Right now we're working on an E3 site for Sony Computer Entertainment America and we just completed a flash game for Red Bull.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
It was quite horrid. Black, starry background. H1 tags. Tables with border=3. Mind you, this was sometime in 1994, otherwise known as the dark ages. Fortunately the site is not online anymore.
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
New design by itself doesn't really create a whole lot of traffic. Content is still more important. A great looking but shallow site can surely boost traffic from design portals and such, but it's only short lived. The combination of great design, content, and user value is what effects traffic.
Who is your target audience?
Whoever the target audience of the client is. In Zugara's case it's mainly gen X, Y since our clients are in the gaming industry (PlayStation) or young kids drinking Red Bull.
What area of web design lacks the most?
Usability, and not designing for the audience. Often sites are not usable because the client or designer wanted all kinds of bells and whistles, animations, and effects that get in the way of the PURPOSE of the site. Knowing, and designing for your audience is crucial and sometimes overlooked.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash?
It's hard to pinpoint any one difficult project. Most projects have some level of complexity to them but nothing that has really been extremely tough. I'm sure the toughest challenges are ahead, as Flash becomes even more advanced.
Have you written any books, do you plan to?
Back in college I wrote two theses about marketing on the Internet, and one of those was the basis for a book I co-authored. The design for Motegi Racing was recently featured in Stefan Mumaw’s book “Redesigning Web Sites: Retooling for Changing Needs of Business” in which I described the project.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
Yes – in one form or another for the foreseeable future. Which in this industry isn't too long. Flash has evolved quite a bit since Flash 2-3. Flash has become more programming-oriented and less of an animation/vector tool. We'll probably see more evolution in future.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
I'm self-taught. I used to program quite a bit in high school. I had a Commodore Amiga which I used for graphics and programming. Spent a lot of time programming in Basic and assembly language as well as designing in 2d and 3d applications.
My advice is: program away all repetitive tasks! I hate repetition. If there is anything monotonous that has to be done, I rather spend the extra time up front figuring out a way to automate it. I also try to break up my Flash movies into smaller sections that can be developed and tested independently. That saves time testing and fine-tuning.
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
I'm not really labels man. I dress casually, almost always in cargo pants and a tee.
It's been a privilege, Patrik, thanks very much.
Likewise. Keep up the good work showcasing great sites!