Here at our Philadelphia web design company, Matt Nye is our go-to guy when it comes to web development and user experience design. I sat down with him in an interview and decided to pick his brain about the design process, what he uses for inspiration, and his thoughts on the future of web design:
Q: What got you interested in web design?
A: “My first attempt at web design and development was prompted by my musical endeavors. In 2000, if you were in a band you needed a website. Having a web presence was just cool – it meant fans could check you out any time, and you could publish all your emo lyrics online for everyone to see. This was of course before MySpace and Facebook took over, so the only real way to have a website was to build one yourself. Even though my first attempts were completely horrible, I instantly liked how the process worked.”
Q: What’s one of your favorite elements to design?
A: “Designing and building user interfaces is my favorite thing to do. Although I love all elements of design, I think of myself now as more of a user experience designer than straight visual designer. UX design gives me the opportunity to think more about how something works, instead of just how it looks.”
Q: Is it easier to design by yourself or with other designers?
A: “If I had to pick, I guess I’d say it’s easier to design alone, but only because collaborative design really depends on the other person. If you work really well together, I feel collaboration will always produce a better product, however if your styles or attitudes clash, it can be a tough process. Luckily, Rachel and I work awesomely together and constantly push each other to make our work better.”
Q: Do you have any favorite blogs that you find interesting/inspiring?
A: “Nope. Just kidding, yep.”
Q: What’s one of your favorite websites you’ve worked on?
A: “Collaborating with everyone on the redesign of our own website was so great, and more than a year later, I’m still really proud of how it turned out. Regarding client work, I’m currently working on a new site for Paul Downs Cabinetmakers which I am very excited about. It’s super complex and challenging, which always makes me happy.”
Q: If you could have lunch with one web designer, who would it be?
A: “I’m not sure if he would even classify himself as a web designer, but Vitaly Friedman (editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine) seems like a super cool, interesting guy. I bet I could learn at least a million things from him.”
Q: What advice would you give other web designers?
A: “If you’re just a designer, learn to develop. If you can do both, just never stop getting better. Push yourself to learn something new every single day.”
Q: What’s it like to work for Prager?
A: “For me, working for Prager is pretty much the best job ever. Although certainly fast-paced sometimes, it’s also a very laid back environment with a huge opportunity to grow and improve. From the day I started here, I was able to challenge myself and set my own goals. I am never satisfied with what I know and am always looking for ways to improve, so for me this is an amazing environment.”
Q: If you weren’t a web designer, what would you be?
A: “I’d at least strive to be some kind of professional illustrator.”
Q: Name one of your favorite websites and why.
“I cheated because this is really a web app, but I guess it’s technically still a site, right? Anyway, as a productivity nerd, I use it every day and it just has such a great, simple design with flawless functionality.”
Q: Where do you see web design heading in the future?
A: “I see a lot more of the lower-end design being handled by templates, with more of a focus put on content strategy. This means designers and developers will have to stay sharp and efficient to keep up, but ultimately that is a good thing. I think there will always be custom work for clients that understand the benefit, and thankfully the all-powerful Google is pushing the industry in the right direction with their new algorithms—good design = good rankings.”
Q: What are the best qualities a web designer can have?
A: “I think being observant is one of the most important things for any artist to have. No one is born with a magical ability to make great art without trying (although some sure seem like they were). Constantly looking at what other designers are doing and really picking it apart and finding out why it’s good is something that helps me get better.”