Some people shy away when they see something new that they don't immediately understand, while others see it as an opportunity to explore.

  Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

My name is Rickard Leckstrom. I just turned 30 and was born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden where I also live.

I’ve worked professionally with Flash for about 5 years. I’m currently employed at Fantasy Interactive as an Interactive Developer.

Right after university, where I studied Computer and Behavioral Science, I started working as a general web programmer. But now I have become more and more specialized within Flash.

After ending up at FI about two years ago I felt that it was at a place where I could really develop my skills and do what I do best.

  What do you do for inspiration?

I don’t think I seek it actively. Instead, I see inspiration as a part of everyday life.

It’s a good feeling when you just happen to see a movie or web page or hear some music that makes your fingers itch, wanting to start producing.

  Please list 3 of your favorite sites.

At the moment, off the top of my head:

www.imdb.com - I use it almost every day

www.vectorpark.com - a really old favorite of mine, arty and pretentious in a nice sort of way

www.samorost2.net - like Vectorpark it’s a beautiful diversion from the rest of the Internet

  What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

I think it is yet to come…

  What software couldn't you live without?

Flash of course, but also music-making software. The hours really fly by when you sit by your laptop, tweaking beats.

I don’t do it as often as before but it is something I would like to pick up more regularly again.

  What projects do you have in the pipeline?

Right now I’m revamping parts of the Fantasy Interactive site. That will be up soon.

Later on I will be involved in a new project for AOL.

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

I don’t see them as the top 3, but here’s some stuff I like:

Shynola - it wins the category of best animated music videos

Acne - advertising, fashion, synthesizers, you name it…

Alex Rutterford - seems to be involved in many things that I like

  What effect on traffic do your new designs have?

The average user is probably most often looking for content when they visit a site, but good design can make that experience so much better.

I believe that the design of a site can make people like and trust it more, making them wanting to come back. I hope the projects I am involved in contribute to that.

People are different though. Some people shy away when they see something new that they don’t immediately understand, while others see it as an opportunity to explore.

I guess it’s a fine balance when creating commercial design and functionality.

  Who is your target audience?

With the kind if projects we do these days, it seems like it would be anyone using the Internet.

  What area of web design lacks the most?

When it comes to Flash, it’s probably the attention to details.

Often everything looks good at first, but then when you take a closer look you often see lagging and pixel shifting that could easily be avoided.

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

If I remember correctly it consisted of one html-page with my name on the top, some homemade illustration and beneath that a bunch of links, all nicely centered with some hideous background graphic.

In short, like your average website in 1996. No it’s not up. Kind of wish it were. :)

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

No, I haven’t really thought about it. Maybe some day, who knows?

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

The biggest, most complicated Flash project I have taken part in must be the Road Runner portal.

On that I mainly did interface-programming like different kinds of menus and other graphical elements. That project is still going on.

  Do you think Flash is here to stay?

Yes, but I think the way we work with Flash today will keep on evolving and change quite a bit, especially when it comes to building more complex applications.

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

I think you always need a basic talent, regardless of whether you’re a programmer or a designer.

There are a lot a self-taught people out there that work professionally and are really amazing at what they do.

What can be good about getting an education is that you sort of “learn to study” and maybe get a new perspective on things.

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

I’m pretty much self-taught when it comes to my practical Flash skills, starting about six years ago.

With Flash becoming more and more complex, there is often a number of ways to do the same thing.

Try to learn many aspects of the program, from animation to OOP. The more you know, the more opportunities you have to solve a problem and come up with innovative solutions.

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

A Nokia cell phone, which was sort of an impulse buy actually.

I usually spend quite a lot of time researching before buying technical gadgets, especially when it comes to stuff like headphones and MP3-players.

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

Not necessarily, but I tend to be loyal to certain brands when it comes to things like jeans, shoes and electronics.

  Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

Be prepared to learn new stuff every day.

  It's been a privilege, thanks very much.

My pleasure.

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