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When we were last interviewed, we were eight people strong - we're now twenty-two, we've grown!

It's been over three years since we last interviewed Preloaded. Please update us on your company bio and what you've been up to.

When we were last interviewed, we were eight people strong - we're now twenty-two, we've grown!

We'll be nine years old in January, and we're as passionate about digital media as we ever, actually - even more so. In the intervening three years since our last interview we've broadened the range of what we can offer as digital agency and as a result what we are known for has changed.

We were often seen as primarily a Flash-focused agency, but our output is now equally split between the more interactive Flash content and traditional web design and build.

When dealing with major clients, how difficult is it to meet the needs of such wide target audiences?

Over the last few years Preloaded has moved towards a user-centred design approach, which means we spend a lot of time defining who the audience is in each case, and ensuring we build the best product we can for them.

We do still work on quite a few projects that do have to have mass appeal, but we still try to always define the primary, secondary and tertiary audiences and keep them in mind during the planning, design and build phases. It makes for a better product in the long run.

How many projects does Preloaded juggle at any one time?

It varies according to the scale of the jobs really, but these days I’d say it averages out at around seven or eight projects of different size at different stages of development.

Of all the websites Preloaded have produced, which ones are you most proud of?

As the FWA's audience is primarily a Flash one, it makes sense to focus on the Flash projects. I guess therefore it would be all the classic ones we're known for best and that audiences have really loved, so Tongsville, AliveIs, Spooks, Evil Nine, Death in Sakkara, CDX and Launchball.

http://www.tongsville.com/

http://aliveis.preloaded.com/

http://spooksmi5.info/

http://evilnine.preloaded.com/

http://www.deathinsakkara.com/

http://www.cdx-thegame.com/

http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/launchpad/launchball/

We've got some great new stuff on the horizon for the new year too, which are definitely going to be added to that list - a real broad range of different types of Flash projects.

Is there a particular moment in Preloaded's time that stands out?

There's been a number of great Preloaded moments. I think the first key one was bagging Best in Show at SXSW in 2002 for Tongsville, and then again last year for Launchball.

Winning Agency of the Year with .NET in 2007 was also pretty special, as was winning a BAFTA for Level-UP.

In all cases they were really a total surprise, which made those moments all the more special. We've obviously hired some great people and won some great pieces of work which has enabled us as an agency able to do work people like, it makes it all worthwhile.

How many hours do you all work each week?

In the early days of Preloaded, we used to work all sorts of hours, but we were much smaller then, and it was our decision to work that way.

You just can’t run a business like that when you're larger; it’s not healthy and doesn’t produce better results which defeats the purpose pulling the extra hours.

We now have official hours of 09:30 to 18:00, and pretty much all of the time people stick to that, so everyone does just under forty hours a week each.

Deadlines can cause spikes here and there, but generally we're quite good at ensuring people keep a good work / life balance in that regard.

How do you keep your finger on the pulse of the latest web trends?

Blogs, portals, Twitter, RSS feeds etc. We all use different sources as we all have different interests, but always send the best and worst of what we find around internally. It's often provokes some heated and healthy debates!

How do Preloaded keep up with the latest capabilities of Flash or do you rely on other members of you team to do this?

In terms of what's possible, pretty much everyone here knows what the current trends are as we due to all the link swapping during the working day.

In terms of actual R&D into and the "how to" execution of the new things, that's very much driven by our technical team which is particularly strong at the moment.

There must be a project that you have always dreamed of doing, what is it?

I think it would have to be something that was totally our own.

Doing large-scale projects for the likes of the BBC, Channel 4 or Science Museum is great, as they allow us to do innovative things, but at the end of the day they still need to serve a commercial purpose.

Being able to create something of the scale of CDX, Launchball, or perhaps the next big web app, but for ourselves would be the dream. I think it's about creating some worthwhile intellectual property of our own.

The difficult thing is finding the time when there's always clients to think of first.

How difficult does Preloaded find employing the right people in a world where everyone calls themselves a web designer?

It's been pretty tricky over the last eighteen months, as there's been a real shortage of seriously good people, and many average ones out there.

It got to the point that there were a lot of bidding wars going on between agencies for even just okay people, which didn't really do anyone any favours in the long run.

Since the global economic climate's changed though, things have started to settle back down, which is a good thing.

We're now seeing candidates showing more of an interest in the company culture, working environment and the types of projects they're likely to work on as the greater motivators.

In the UK, television programmes covering the web are way behind what is really happening in terms of web design and development, why do you think this is?

Television simply isn't the right medium for talking about digital things. Communicating an interactive medium through a passive one simply doesn't work that well.

Besides, the turn-around time to make a television programme doesn't lend itself to the instantness of the web.

What country excites you the most in terms of innovation?

I don't think we really spend a great deal of time actually thinking about where the work we look at is actually coming from.

The global nature of the internet stops you thinking that way. It's also often a misleading anyway, as for example, a fair chunk of work that came out of U.S. advertising agencies in the last year was actually being done outside of the U.S., with a load of created by UK digital agencies.

Looking 10 years in to the future, how far can websites go?

If you think how basic a lot of the web and its interactive experiences were back in 1998, it's quite staggering to think how far we've come so quickly.

We've all come to accept and expect broadband, media rich experiences as the norm now. Without a doubt, in ten years from now digital will have risen to the top of the marketing media channels, meaning clients will spend more on digital than we could ever hope to see at the moment.

Combine that with technology allowing us to push even more data around, and devices and inputs with which to access it all, and you have to anticipate we're going to experience some amazing things.

I think it's possible we'll not refer to "websites" anymore; we're going to see all our devices being able to access all digital / interactive content as the norm, and the idea of the web-browser as we know it being the norm for accessing content seems doubtful.

What al this also means is that it's going to be interesting time for interactive designers and developers like us, as we'll all need to give a lot more thought to how different people access our work.

How do Preloaded relax or unwind?

There's a broad range of interests here. We have climbers, DJs, avid cyclists, gamers and real-ale drinkers.

We tend to all go out as a company at least once a month, which is always an interesting evening to say the least!

Has winning FWA awards helped Preloaded in any way?

Definitely, a lot of people are very aware of the FWA, especially people who work in advertising and marketing.

Those types of clients often find out about us through our work appearing on the FWA, so that works well for us.

Do you have any links to photographs of Preloaded's studio you could share?

We have some before we moved in!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/22465034@N07/sets/72157606535837790/

What does the future hold for Preloaded?

Well it's interesting times ahead for everyone at the moment. One things for sure, and that is clients are spending more in digital than ever before, and that's despite the economic gloom.

At the end of the day, digital is now well established as a communication channel, and it's giving traditional medium a real run for its money. If there's a area of business that's good to be in over the coming years, it's definitely digital.


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