I recently sat down with Mark, our Digital Creative Director to get his perspective on all things web.
With over 10 years of experience and 100 websites under his belt, Mark has some very interesting insights into the world of WordPress and modern Website design.
Digital Creative Director Interview
Kevin: So Mark, what is your creative process for web design?
Mark: For us at Pixel Fish the creative process actually begins during our very first client meeting which we call the 'discovery phase'. This is when the stakes are the highest as interpreting (or misinterpreting) a brief can make or break a project. The more questions we ask, the more we can challenge the brief which means we can be more accurate in our creative execution when presenting the website. Once we have a clear idea on what our client's needs and wants are and who it is they wanting to communicate to, we can then dive into the 'design phase'. The design stage starts off with all the basics - logos, colours palette, imagery and an overall look and feel and finishes with text being integrated into the design.
Kevin: What applications do you use when creating Pixel Fish websites?
Mark: We decided to specialise in WordPress as a CMS (Content Management System) because we simply couldn't ignore the sheer benefits for our clients when it came to customisations & ease of use. By specialising we've been able to provide the best possible support for our clients. We also believe in using the very best providers in each industry. We exclusively build websites using the Elegant Themes framework and utilise the many cool features of ManageWP for migrating new websites, plugin updates and website backups.
Kevin: What has been one of your favourite websites you have designed and why?
Mark: I really enjoyed designing the new gregbyrne.com.au website. Greg has been a life long friend of mine and someone I've played a lot of music with in a previous life. Greg has forged a very success career in as a wedding singer and came to us with some great photos, mp3 and videos.
Kevin: What are some common mistakes you see people make when designing for web?
Mark: Probably the biggest mistake we see is when a client doesn't know their end customer. This is a hurdle that strikes just about every web project to some degree. Often clients will write content that is far too technical than it needs to be. My advice in this situation is to speak the language of your client.
Kevin: What have been the biggest changes and challenges to Web Design in the past 2 years?
Mark: The biggest challenge has been what I call "Digital Noise" There is so many digital channels out there (such as Social Media, Emarketing, Advertising & SEO) to communicate and promote your business that often the website has been forgotten about. Whilst it's important to maintain a presence in all these channels, you still want to drive visitors back to your website to capture their interest.
Kevin: Do you miss doing flash websites?
Mark: Not really - I think Flash was fun whilst it lasted but the speed at which content is delivered now far outweighs 'how' the content was delivered. I also think CMS websites & Social Media have unknowingly played a role in the demise of Flash due to sheer speed at which content can be created,delivered and consumed. Its not just me that feels this way - we all stood ringside when Apple & Adobe came to blows a few years ago when Apple refused to allow Flash websites to load on iPhones but even Google has followed suit with Chrome just announcing it will automatically pause Flash content in its browser starting September 2015.
Whilst I do believe there is still a place (albeit a smaller one than before) for web animation, the NOW generation is here to stay with the belief we only want what we want and we want it now.
Kevin: How important is a stylish logo and quality photography to a websites design?
Mark: Strong branding such as logos, fonts & colours are a massive help for a web designer, however when it comes to visual impact the most important feature of a web page is the images. We often find even using 1 or 2 quality stock photos per page can really break up the text and lift the mood of the page.
Kevin: How has Wordpress changed your design capabilities?
Mark: As a web designer I don't even know where we would be without WordPress. It has simply revolutionised the way content is added to the web and the accessibility clients have to make edits / additions to their websites. Now along with new exciting frameworks/themes & plugins web designers have total design control and need to rely far greater on their eye for design (which we love!) because of this. In years gone by, the only options clients had to make changes to a website was to either pay for a expensive private CMS solution which was clunky and ugly at best or pay a designer/developer per hour to hard code the changes. WordPress has changed all that.
Read More: Why we use WordPress
Kevin: Where do you get website inspiration from?
Mark: I get inspired from great photography and the beautiful use of typography. Sounds strange but it's not really when you think about it. As web designers all we have to play with is text and images and our job is to combine these two in a creative manner that attracts and engages visitors for our clients. One of the greatest leaps the web community has made over the past few years has been to develop themes and frameworks which operate without boundaries that in turn enables us as web designers to treat every page as a blank canvas.
Kevin: Any tips for any aspiring web designers?
Mark: Nothing digital is set and forget. The web is constantly changing so you need to embrace new trends and learn to swim as fast as you can.
Find Out More
If you would like to find out more about Pixel Fish’s fantastic websites please call our friendly team on 02 9114 9813 or email us at [email protected]