Martin Bean (Martin Christopher Bean if we’re being pedantic) and 20 years.
Fox’s Crunch Creams and a cup of coffee. Together.
The last “book” I read was actually a graphic novel: “Batman: The Long Halloween” by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. Someone referred it to me as it was apparently one of the graphic novels The Dark Knight team took influences from for the movie’s story (and it was interesting to see those similarities, albeit subtle). The last movie I saw was “Angels and Demons” on DVD. I thought it was a bit pants to be honest. My girlfriend assures me the book is far better, so I may have to pick up a copy to see if she’s right.
I’m not sure how or exactly when it started. I remember being in maybe the second year or secondary school (so about 12) and picking up a book on HTML in my school’s library. I gave up after the first chapter. I would later re-visit the idea of learning HTML and building websites and was a fair bit more successful than my first attempt.
I also had a copy of FrontPage on my home PC, but worked religiously in the code view. Crafting HTML pages and getting irked with FrontPage’s habit of inserting Microsoft specific tags and removing them way before I heard of standards compliant mark-up or what it meant. CSS then came soon after.
I began subscribing to Practical Web Design magazine (a now-defunct offshoot of .net magazine) and that helped my HTML/CSS skills considerably in a quick amount of time.
At college, I didn’t really progress my skills that much. I had a good knowledge of HTML and CSS and was the go-to guy with my peers for help, but other than that I wasn’t going anyway technically, but picked a hell of a lot up in terms of the theory of web design and design in general. In my second year of college, I got a placement with a leading new media design agency in Newcastle. They threw me in the deep end, telling me I had two months to learn PHP (which saw me end up swimming rather than sinking) and got my foot in the door to employment in Newcastle. I would move to Newcastle from my home town of Darlington little over a year later after a couple of stints at other agencies in the region.
Andy Clarke. But that vested interest is biased as he’s redesigning the home page for CannyBill, a product by dpivision.com Ltd, whom I used to work for.
A week day usually consists of getting up at around 7:00am. I hop on a Quaylink to Newcastle City Centre, then get on another bus to work. At the moment my days are spent working on a super-secret project, but other than that I’m a web developer for a digital online marketing agency, so there’s never a shortage of projects. But currently I working away developing a social networking site in PHP/MySQL.
Definitely back-end development. I thought I would be a web designing, but turns out my calling was in development.
Good question. Brock Lesnar has this stigma that due to being a former professional wrestler and a multiple-time WWE Champion that he shouldn’t do well in a “real” fight sport, but the fact of the matter is, is the guy is a monster. His only downfall is his lack of experience in MMA fights which was glaringly visible in his UFC bout with Frank Mir back in February 2008 I think it was. That will be Brock’s downfall – a lack of experience. However, with each and every fight he closes that gap, and no one can go toe-to-toe with him in terms of size or strength.
PC, simply for the fact that I’ve never had enough money for a Mac when I had to buy a new machine at home. And at work we all use PCs. However, if I had the option I would definitely grab a Mac.
I think it’s dead set that PHP is my core skill set, but in the future I hope to expand my knowledge of web technologies. I want to be a versatile programmer and have a great knowledge of various languages. Java interests me, .NET not so much though. I don’t want PHP to limit my capabilities in the realm of server-side development or programming. I definitely want to become my au fait with AJAX as well.
I’ve been wanting to attend a conference for the past year or so, but haven’t been able to whether it was because of money or lack of time off etc. I’m really pining to go to one, so think I may try and attend one in the North East first, just to see what’s involved, and then go for a larger one down south. Richard Quick’s Bamboo Juice conference piqued my interest somewhat and was about to go until something came up at the last minute, despite the nice chap offering me a discounted ticket!
Paul Randall, 22 years old
It has to be a mug of tea, and Crunch Creams. I could literally eat a whole pack in one go!
I have just finished reading Thinking In Type, by Ellen Lupton, and was captivated by District 9 at the cinema.
After my A-Levels, I left school to work as an IT Administrator for a manufacturing firm—doing the usual fixing PC and printer problems, but soon became tried of the monotony of it. I was doing a day-release Foundation Degree course in Computing & Internet Technology at the time, and so I offered to redesign the companies’ site for them. I was always a creative person and had made personal websites in my spare time before, but when it launched, that’s when I knew I wanted to design and build sites as a job.
A few months later I noticed a job advertisement in a local paper which was looking for a Web Designer/Developer. I applied and had a phone call on the Friday to come to an interview on the Saturday. I was offered the position straight after! I stayed with that company for just over a year, working on in-house ASP sites in SQL Server and some client work before moving to my current job in June 2008, where I now work predominantly with HTML, PHP and MySQL.
I really admire the work of Tim Van Damme, Jina Bolton, Vitor Lourenço and Greg Wood.
I will get up at about 8, catch up on Twitter and head for work just before 9am. You will usually find me with the headphones on, listening to Daft Punk or The Prodigy working on the latest piece of client work in either Dreamweaver or Photoshop.
After work I tend to play around with new bits of HTML5 or CSS3, catch up on RSS feeds or play on the XBox.
I really enjoy the creativity of graphic design, so front end dev is the thing I enjoy most; but the best thing about my job is the fact I work in both, and love switching between them. If I had to choose though, it would be front-end, every time.
In terms of a personal project, it would have to be the H1 Debate (http://h1debate.com). It was such a simple concept, but from the comments it has had, it really caused people to think about how they use the H1 tag, and about coding their sites in general. It also gained a lot of exposure, which I really didn’t expect.
I am always pleased with the work I produce at my job, but never showcase my employers’ work.
I have also recently begun creating monthly wallpapers. I really like the design challenges it creates, as it keeps me trying to find new inspiration, but I missed last months’ due to me working on my personal site relaunch.
I have always worked on a PC and currently use Vista on a daily basis. This is simply because the places I have worked for have been PC-based. My laptop is also a PC, running XP, but I will switch to a Mac when it needs replacing as I need to see what all the fuss is about!
I’d love to focus on just designing more, but continuing to work in a small team. I really enjoy the involvement you can have in a project—seeing it from start to finish.
I haven’t got any planned at the moment, but I always try to catch up on the speakers’ slide-shows, or watch the talks online.
Paul Randall – www.paulrandall.com
I recently had the chance to interview Prisca Schmarsow about work, teaching, web dev/design and everyday life. Thanks Prisca for taking part!
Prisca Schmarsow, 39
Amaretti & Capuccino
Book:: “Designing for the Web” (Mark Boulton)
Well, I was one of those people …. I used to think I am not cut out for working with computers. I started with hand-drawn visuals, doing pub blackboards and drawings/illlustration for adverts and did not think I would get my head around being creative on a ‘machine’. Quite funny now to think of it….
Gently pushed by my partner – I eventually did venture into the digital arena by doing a graphic design course – and it all started there. Painter was, and in many ways still is, my favourite app at the time. Doing graphic design work – I was soon drawn to the internet and its design possibilities. Though I was by then quite happy to work digitally – I was still a bit of a techno-phobe, thinking my head would not be able to cope with the technical complexities. So when I did start with webdesign – I took the then easier road of flash design. It gave me complete control over my designs. I absolutely loved creating flash websites though I of course soon realised its drawbacks and its place within webdesign overall.
And then there was “designing with web standards” by Jeffrey Zeldman, introducing me to webstandards and a better web After finding Eric Meyer and his site – I went onto to learn handcoding and CSS from online resources — and here I am
There are many, too many to list really. I love the web for its online community spirit — I feel I owe my knowledge and understanding to all the helpful and lovely geeks out there. I could tell you lots of stories on how various people have helped me through various stages of learning webdesign – this would fill a book
Suffice to say that Eric Meyer is my all time guru – I feel I owe him and Jeffrey Zeldman my current career. Had it not been for their writing, sharing of knowledge and inspiration on so many levels – I don’t think I’d be doing what I am doing now and loving it. And of course now there are many more inspiring people, too many to mention.
Teaching is not something I ever envisaged myself doing, to be honest. I’d been working with graphic and flash design for about 2 years when the training place where I had done my first course had a vacancy for a graphic design and multimedia tutor. I would not have dreamed to apply but work was slow and my former tutor encouraged me to go for it. So I did – and to my surprise got the job despite my complete lack of experience. And though it was incredibly nerve-wracking initially – I loved it. Now I run the ‘design for the web‘ (as well as the ‘digital animation‘) course at TowerHamlets College and can teach what I consider good working practices to my students, hoping to send them into our industry with good skills – aware of what matters: good user-friendly design, web standards, accessibility and so on. And the ones who make it – make me proud
Always start with a cup of coffee I usually work on several projects at the same time, splitting my day’s time between them. Depending on whether the academic year is in flow or whether I can focus entirely on design – I divide my time up between my 2 jobs, taking care of my clients as well as my students. I usually take care of formalities in the morning and do a lot of the creative work towards the end of the day or evening. Love the holidays from teaching for being able to keep my own hours so I can do some late sessions if the mood takes me.
The eyedea team is currently undergoing a change – we’re working on our new site at the moment as we are shifting our focus now primarily onto webdesign. It all started as a freelance collective, combining multiple skills and working together as a team. Two heads are always better than one and we love collaborating on various projects and learning from each other.
As time went on we continued to work mainly on webdesign projects so we’ve decided to refocus. We’ve all still got our own areas and specialities, from photography over illustration to writing – but our main field remains the web. So I’m really enjoying designing our new site and looking forward getting it out there.
Design all the way… I do enjoy the challenge of coding and certain aspects of front end development – but if I had to chose one over the other, nothing can beat design. I’m a big fan of the Bauhaus and its principles which are my motivation. Design is for people—has purpose—aims to be used and enjoyed though it might go unnoticed through its successfully designed and implemented functions.
It’s the balance between the two that I like. Though teaching can be very hard work at times (mainly due to the bureaucratic mountain of paperwork it involves) it also keep you on your toes. I enjoy the challenges it brings and the learning environment, I remain a student myself.
And I do love design work, from start to finish – love the entire process and couldn’t do without it. And I do consider myself a designer who teaches and not the other way around so I suppose design would have to be my final choice.
The open and sharing spirit of the web. Without the many many friendly and sharing people online I would not be doing or loving what I do. In my early days of flash design – I learnt everything from online resources. I had had 1 day of flash introduction and went from there. Learning from online tutorials, forums, even personal support from individuals. My first ever site went online with someone in the Netherlands holding my hand – taking me through every single step via online chat. Overwhelmed by the technical aspects – it would have taken me ages by myself so this was a major moment for me – and I could not believe how supportive the online community could be.
Fast forward to “designing with web standards” – had it not been for Jeffrey’s book – and then Eric’s site…. I would not be handcoding now, or even have a clue about good webdesign. And then there are people like … actually too many to mention, I’d only forget some vital names. Sites like ‘A List Apart’, blogs by inspiring designers as well as developers who explain in plain English complex techniques and so on keep me learning all the time. (This is why I don’t really agree with the term ‘self taught’. Though I did the learning by myself in a physical sense – I would not say I am self taught – but rather have been taught by so many lovely geeks online)
So the short answer simply is: the biggest contributing factor are is the open and sharing spirit online.
Mac – though I think I was just lucky to learn on a mac. Saying that – I have to admit I am always in favour of gorgeous visuals which is why I’m happily sticking with Apple
Hopefully continuing to try to make the web a better place alongside everyone else.
Would love to – depending on time and money. At times some of the best conferences clash with my teaching — or are simply too pricey for a freelancer… But I do love the talks and the slides seem to be getting more creative now as well.
Andrew, thanks ever so much for taking part in this interview so close to Christmas.
Andrew Disley, 23.
Biscuit: Chocolate Shortbread. Drink: Latte with extra shots.
Last book: Double Cross by James Patterson. Last movie: The Dark Knight.
My passion for the web began during my early high school years, I remember first being introduced to Google a few months after it launched by one of our teachers and I even remember the excitement I got while waiting for music to download using the original Napster which just amazed me, I was hooked. I spend all my hard earned paper-round money on our Dial-Up connection and it wasn’t long before I began to play online games like Counter-Strike. I joined gaming clans which inevitably got me into designing and building sites for these clans. I started out in Frontpage but soon found myself hand-coding the HTML because I didn’t like the “ugly” markup that Frontpage produced and much preferred to know what was going on under the hood. Professionally my career started when I was offered a job a local firm JJB Sports Plc looking after their websites.
Lots of people, many of the people I’ve worked with in the past and many of the well-know names along with local folks I know through GeekUp and the likes. There are way too many people to list here.
It would have to be the time at Code, learning form the people there and working on high-profile accounts. I’ve also a real passion for what I do and the try to achieve the best possible outcome for whatever it maybe I’m working on.
Development, from an early age I loved taking things apart to find out how they worked and rebuilding them.
Scary and quite intimidating at first, I’d never been around so many amazingly talented people before who had such love for the industry. Fantastically awesome people, and some great projects but there were some tough deadlines.
I’ve worked on some really big accounts and projects over the years at Code, but I think the biggest and most testing had to be the rebuild of HMV.com in July/August 2007.
The biggest problem I find myself facing is taking on too much, not just on the web work front. I’ve got that balance right, I think. I do still find myself pulling all nighters to meet deadlines. It’s the other projects I get involved with that stretch my schedule.
Dedication and support from my family and fiancee, Kerry.
Primarily online via the blogs and showcase sites, looking at what people are doing and how they’re pushing things technology wise.
I’ve many more than 3 favourite apps but if I had to list only 3 it would have to be: TextMate, Quicksilver and YoJimbo as they are the most used apps on my machines.
The flexibility, I found there just wasn’t enough hours in day to do my full-time job at Code and all the extracurricular projects that I take on. There were times when I could really do with taking a day of at short notice which you can’t really do when you work for “the man”. In all honesty there still isn’t enough time, but I can at short notice shuffle things around.
It’s tough and I think I’m doing a decent job of it, although if you ask my fiancee I’m sure she’ll tell you otherwise. When I do figure it out, I’ll let you know the secret.
I want to grow my freelance portfolio and I’m also in the process of teaming up with a few other awesome minds and in the not so distant future we’re hoping to launch a couple of things.
Hopefully, I’d love to make it to Reboot this year, along with a few BarCamps and there are talks of a local live streaming of TED via the TED Associate Membership.
I’ve recently got engaged and it would be absolutely fantastic if in 3 years time we’ve tied the knot and bought our first home together. That’s more than one but I put them both under the heading “building the family”.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, there a lots of offline and online communities around that have members who are very happy to offer advice and support.