This month we’re exploring web development. It takes a lot of moving parts to get a website idea from the page to a fully functioning, interactive site. Josh is our web developer, specializing in coding, user experience, and web design. He makes a customer’s website come to life using his experience and passion for learning and implementing new web development practices. He is constantly working behind the scenes, updating and maintaining, to ensure you always have the best web presence.
How did you get interested in web development?
I’ve always had an interest in web development but in 10th grade I took a web design class, and that is when I really started to become interested in the field. From there I just stuck to it and started to teach myself coding and anything I could learn related to web development. I am mostly self-taught, before working for The Studio I did projects for myself and was involved in game development. I launched multiple sites and that’s when I started getting into more advanced aspects of web design. Being hands on with web development every day has pushed me to study and continuously learn web concepts. It takes a lot of self-discipline to constantly be learning and absorbing new concepts.
Was there one moment or one thing that sparked your interest?
I like the ability to be able to create almost anything. As a kid, I used to use Legos to build structures, and now I see it like I can do something similar in the form of web design. I also like that web is always changing. There is always a new challenge, and I’m always looking to be the one that pushes the envelope and using the new designs and new practices out there. Knowing there is a limitless amount of stuff to do and learn is calming to me because I like to constantly be busy.
What would you say to a younger person who is thinking about studying code/web development?
I think because technology and everything online is becoming more popular, there needs to be a lot more kids studying web design. The demand for digital marketing is increasing, and we’ll need more people in this field. I’d say start by taking a class to get the basics down, and once you understand the basics you will understand where you want to go from there. Web development is more of a personal thing because there are so many ways you can go. Always remember to push the envelope and always try to create new and interesting ways to do things. I also think it has to be a field someone wants to pursue naturally. You need to have self-discipline and be willing to learn on your own. You can learn the basics in school but you have to take it from there and always be open and willing to research, study, and learn.
I would also say share your work with others. It is important because sometimes you can be too self-critical but if you show your work to someone else they will see the good parts. Web design can be looked at like art – there may be times when you don’t like what you are putting out, but you are probably just being too critical and being too hard on yourself. Having outside opinions helps push you forward and not agonize over one specific stage.
I’d also say to be patient and keep trying to learn. Coding is very meticulous and has to be done in a certain way and at the end of the day, you are creating a visual thing that has 3-4 languages intertwined. You can learn one type of code but to take the next leap you need to learn the next type of code and then learn how to integrate them. Coding does take patience and the willingness to constantly be learning and evolving as a coder.
What is your motivation to keep learning and evolving?
Whenever I am working on a project I see both the good work and maybe the bad work that appears along the way, but when I look at other websites I am seeing only other people’s best work. I try to remember that, of course, they are only publishing their best work, and I don’t get to see the mistakes that were made along the way like I do with my designs. It’s good to remember that everyone does hit road bumps along the way or will need to think of another way to do something and goes through a similar process as me while creating. Only my best work will be presented to the client and put on the internet but keeping in mind that other people have the same hurdles to overcome keeps me motivated and invested in my work.
Do you have a favorite type of website you like to design? What is your favorite component to include in a website?
I like designing simple websites that use typography and animation throughout the pages to attract the user. I really like focusing on interactive elements, the aspects the user can enjoy, for example, motion graphics, hover over items that change, things that rotate and perform different functions. I like to create a fun user experience.
What is one piece of advice you would give to a client who wants to create a website?
Pick a good domain name because that is equivalent to a store front for a normal brick and mortar business. Your domain is what people will see when they look at your business online.
When they are thinking about the structure of the website I’d use the analogy that a website is like a magazine; each page has a certain subject, and you organize a magazine according to subject matter. A website is similar in that you lay out all your content based on different subjects and then base the design around the subjects. Also, showing me a website you like as a reference can be helpful and help us come to a mutual understanding on what they are looking for and what will work for their business.
Where do you get your inspiration for your designs?
Magazines, I like to pick a magazine based on the topic of the website I’m working on, and I’ll take design cues out of it, such as for color, typography, and images. However, it’s good to remember that not everything that works in print will work in web but it does give me a good outline for the overall style.
I also like Google Material Design. It is a website that puts out guidelines for design standards and other people can use those guidelines to create their own websites. It has everything from composition, color theory, and the do’s and don’ts of animations to how to build interactivity and concepts for designs.
Outside of websites what do you like experimenting with in the tech/multimedia world?
Lately, I’ve been getting into Photography and photo editing. Outside of the tech world, I love to go backpacking. It helps clear my mind so I can come back recharged and with a new perspective. It helps me disconnect from the digital world and create balance.