Webdesign Magazine
Webdesign Magazine Interview - 2004

1. From: Marcello Póvoa
What kind of projects and challenges do you see yourself working ten years from now?

That is an interesting question. As far as work is concerned, I see myself doing much more Video and 3D work in the next few years. Not only is broadband coming but these are also skills which are fascinating to me. I am positive I will continue to develop sites for the Internet but I will also continue to integrate these new skills into my designs as I improve. I am having so much fun designing right now I simply want to continue to grow as an artist and further develop my creativity through these new skills. It doesn’t matter which medium I am designing for, as long as I am growing as an artist then I am happy. As far as personal projects are concerned I am very intrigued by print quality digital art, photography and posters. In 10 years I think it would be fun to have created a collection of Digital Photography & Art which I could hang on my walls or even sell to the public. I have a long way to go before I am good enough for this but it is something I have started to play with and am very excited about.

2. From: Luli Radfahrer
Much of what is acknowledged as 'good' design resembles what was/is done for other media (print, video). When do you believe that the true internet-only elements (such as hypertext, hypermedia, interactivity, communities, collaboration) will leave 'experimental' or 'artistic' websites and become mainstream? In other words, why were we better at webdesign in 1994 than in 2004?

The Internet and Websites as they are now in 2004 will continue to resemble what is being done in other mediums as long as the internet continues to be the easiest way for these different mediums to be combined together and reach such a wide audience. Print layouts have existed and adapted over hundreds of years so it makes sense that different methods of laying out content will continue to influence text layouts on the web. Video is also older than the internet so it makes sense that effects and standards which exist in movies and TV would end up there. As a result of Flash and various other tools, it is no longer difficult to create sites which combine, Text, Imagery, Video, Audio and interactivity together into one website. I do think that these “internet-only elements” of interactivity and collaboration have definitely become mainstream as a result of this. Sites like the Ford F-150 Microsite (http://www.fordvehicles.com/trucks/f150) which I personally designed and developed at 2Advanced Studios (www.2advanced.com) is a great example of a site which combines hypertext, Imagery , Audio, video and interactivity together for a fun and interactive user experience. Sites like this are quickly becoming mainstream tools used by major companies to showcase products. Are these types of experiences appropriate for every site? No. There will always be a need for print layouts that are much easier for accessing information quickly and without unnecessary interactivity. Just because a site is interactive doesn’t mean it is easier to read and find the information a visitor is looking for. The fact is that these types of experiences are quickly becoming the norm for experienced based content.

3. From: René de Paula
How do you make sure that your work is relevant to people?

As far as the design and presentation of a website goes, the most important thing is to listen to the client. They should “hopefully” know their target audience and have a vision for what their site is going to accomplish. If they do not then that company is more than likely going to fail regardless of what you design for them. The client should help you design by advising you on who they are targeting, give you the images and assets of their products and give you the initial goals and ideas you need to start a design. We all have a style in our designs. The goal is to take our style and create something appropriate for the target audience and enhance it with our style and attention to detail. Without the client telling me what their goals and target audiences are, I am not going to be as useful in helping that company achieve its goals. If someone comes to me asking me to develop a site for their product, and I have no experience, knowledge or images of their products, should I be telling the client what their site should look like to appeal to their audience? The answer is no. Simply listening to the client and also designing with an appropriate style are the most important things to making sure our work is relevant to the target audience.

The other half of making a site relevant to people is to make sure that there is some sort of emotional attachment with the site above and beyond the design which is targeting them. Things like Music and flash animation style are both factors which assist the design and help make a visitor remember and enjoy their visit. As long as those things are appropriate for the target audience they will help leave a lasting memory for a visitor. Therefore it is our job as designers to put as much effort and detail in to coming up with the perfect music or motion as we would coming up with the proper fonts, colors and design of a site. Having a great design which targets the audience perfectly but has inappropriate techno music or choppy or erratic animation is a sure way to create a poor experience for a visitor to the site. All 3 things work together to make a unique and special user experience for the target audience.

4. From: Marcela Catunda
How did the work of a webdesigner develop in terms of communication strategy to reach the new channels of the public’s approach on those last ten years of internet?

Over the past 10 years, designers have improved at targeting specific audiences with their designs. Designers now have much more influence when creating marketing messages and designs which are specifically created to target and appeal to certain classifications of people. This all happens as businesses have seen the importance of working hand in hand with designers who can fulfill the company’s visions rather than simply giving a company their own personal designs void of company needs. In the early days, designers often created sites without any regard for who was supposed to be viewing them. Simply having a site which acted as a business card was thought to be enough for a business. Websites were considered online brochures containing only a couple of paragraphs of text, some images a couple of generic buttons and a company’s contact information. Layouts were done simply because they looked cool and very little thought was given to who the site was intended to touch. Professional designers now play a vital role in the creation of marketing messages and concepts which influence beyond the reach of the Internet. Since websites are so easy to access they have become more powerful and important than a printed brochure in establishing the presence of a company.

5. From: Michel Lenz
I have a hard time calling myself a 'Web designer' or what I do 'web design'. I'm an interface designer and I consider designing for the Web a task of interface design that will be displayed on the Web (currently the most popular kind of interface design around).

As technologies evolve and other types of interface design become more popular, how do you see the future of the Web and, therefore, what about Web design? Will we still be calling ourselves 'web designers' in a few years from now?

I agree with this. I’ve never liked the term “Web Designer”. I personally am not limited to only doing work for the web nor is any designer. In the past few years, I have done work for Print, Video, Web, and DVD. Simply calling myself a “web designer” limits my capabilities to one category and does not fully describe my own personal abilities. Likewise, any designer who has designed a website interface has the necessary skills to create designs across other mediums and should not consider him/herself a “Web Designer” either. Web, Print, Video, DVD are all graphical interfaces in their own way and we are merely the people who design things for specific mediums. When I describe what I do to people I usually say “Graphic Artist”, “Art Director” or simply “Designer”. I think the name “Web Designer” is already as dead as the term “Webmaster” is.

I personally feel that the concept and essence of “the web” is here to stay. Of course technology will continue to advance, names will change, laws will be broken and made, but the concept of sharing information back and forth in a virtual environment is here to stay much as broadcasting for the TV or Radio has dug deeper in out lives over the years. With that being said, there will always be people who are needed to create Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) to display information, organize it and create experiences for people. I also see even more opportunities for graphic artists and interface designers opening up as new technologies are released to change our lives. Now that flash is spreading to areas outside of the web, Animated cell phone interfaces, PDAs and Digital throw away electronic newspapers are a couple of areas where interface designers will soon be making major impacts.