Content is the only reason to have a website. If you have nothing to say then no one will listen.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
I was born in 1975 in Calgary, Canada. I received my design degree from the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary.
I've since had 5 years of experience in the interactive industry working for Critical Mass in Calgary and Chicago.
I've worked with such clients as Rolex, Ashes & Snow, Dell Computer, Ikea, and AT&T Wireless.
What do you do for inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere. There are metaphors in the most unexpected places and they can all influence your solutions.
I'm astounded by outer space because it makes me feel small.
I am hugely inspired by architecture because, like design, every good solution is uniquely tooled to its specific environment or problem.
I love illustration, music, geometry, history, technology, science, nature, the stock market, relationships, love, death, humor, drama, intelligence, stupidity, video games, animals, everything.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
Hmmm, there's so many websites I love. Here's 3 off the top of my head.
I'm a fan of Bibliodyssey. They blog weird and wonderful illustrations almost everyday. They have a great archive.
Mr. Fastfinger is one of the most memorable sites I've ever seen. It's just such a cool interactive idea and it's flawlessly executed.
I also love Google Maps an awful lot. Nothing beats flying around the world in an instant.
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
I am very proud that I was one of the Art Directors on the new Rolex.com. It was a year-long process that saw so many hours and iterations but ended up becoming a beautiful site.
It refreshes and represents the brand so well and it created a great platform to showcase their products, philanthropy, and heritage.
What software couldn't you live without?
Photoshop. Safari. Flash.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
Right now I'm working on an itinerary builder for VisitLasVegas.com.
We're also looking at refreshing that whole site for 2008. I'm also finishing up a freelance CD case illustration.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
My favorites right now are Group94, We Fail, and Yugop.
Group94 make the best galleries and they always try new ways to approach interface.
I like WeFail because of their fantastic range.
And then Yugop. Yugop makes beautiful things for a variety of businesses, but the solutions always seem to have a very distinct Yugop flavor.
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
I have found that any major change in a design creates a spike in traffic based on buzz alone. Once initial buzz traffic subsides, regular traffic will generally be higher than before the new design went live.
It's a general requirement of clients that a new design increase traffic so you're always thinking about how to make things better. Evolution usually works.
Who is your target audience?
Depends on the project. Every client has different needs, even though they may say their target audience is "everyone".
What area of web design lacks the most?
Simplicity, clarity and content. There are so many websites that are far too complicated in their presentation.
Boxes within boxes and list after list of links. Clutter achieves nothing but a confused user. That said, a simplified website is nothing without compelling content. Content is the only reason to
have a website. If you have nothing to say then no one will listen.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
I believe my first site was a freelance project I did for my Mother. It's a simple little flash gallery of her paintings and yes, it's still online. It's updated when paintings sell or new ones go up.
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
Books? No. I am so easily distracted that I would start writing and not finish for years and years.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?
The toughest thing I ever did was create an experimental interface where all the links appeared deconstructed and animating until the user rolled over.
The links then reconstructed themselves and became readable and usable. It never went live because I became distracted by other experiments.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
Right now flash is a standard that has proven itself as valuable. I can't see it leaving any time soon.
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 say yes and no. As a general rule, I believe people should go through school before getting into the industry.
I don't care how well you think you can draw or "photoshop", a solid design education empowers your talent and opens your eyes to a broader world.
On the flip-side, one of my best creative directors started in the industry with only a minimal technical education. His passion for design and raw talent drove him to succeed in the
professional design world. He also lived in Sweden for a year, that always helps!
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
1. Experiment. Find something that inspires you and go with it. Test and break its limits and follow your instincts.
2. Ask questions. Everyone likes to talk about what they know and there's so many talented people who can share their knowledge.
3. Be humble. There's always someone better than you and teamwork always wins. At the same time, know when to hold your ground. Instinct should be paid attention.
4. Look outside you industry
What is the most expensive thing you've bought in the last week?
I bought a Slingbox. It's a cheap way to watch television on your computer from anywhere.
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
I prefer transparent overcoats.
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
Don't eat yellow snow.
It's been a privilege, thanks very much.
FWA rocks the party.