Today’s interview is with Lennart Schoors from Belgium, who is a freelance interface designer and front-end developer.
Hello Lennart Schoors,thank you for participating in this interview! Would you like to introduce yourself?
How and why did you become a front-end developer? Did you go to any college to learn design?
I never had any formal design studies, I studied communication sciences at the university here in Gent. Coding and designing websites was just another hobby I picked up, but I liked it and started to learn more and more about it. I really believe that the best place to learn about the web is the web itself. So when I graduated in 2003, It made sense to look for a job in that direction.
Could you tell me about your most unique projects that you have worked on before, and tell us why they are unique?
In 2006 I was hired by Netlog, a then reasonably sized, local social network. I worked there as lead designer for more than 5 years and saw the company growing, eventually reaching tens of millions of people all across the globe. Coding and designing such a large scale network requires a different mind and skill set compared to most other sites, and I learned a whole lot in that period.
Can you tell us about the projects you are working on right now?
As a freelancer, I’m currently working on a lot of smaller projects, ranging from designing blogs, prototyping web app interfaces, coding mobile web apps down to making application icons. Occasionally I post some previews on Dribbble [http://dribbble.com/lensco].
What do you enjoy the most of you job?
After 5 years of mostly working on one huge website, I love the variation and freedom in my current job. If a certain project isn’t all that exciting, it doesn’t take long for another, more interesting one to come along.
What kind of skills are the most important for your work?
Though I can say I’m pretty good one the technical side, I’m still learning and researching every day. The most important skill in my eyes is passion – a sort of hunger to always know more and do better. These days I’m also learning a lot on how to work together with clients.
What kind of networks do you use to get clients?
Personally, I get most of my work through good old fashioned word of mouth. Friends, former colleagues and previous clients.
Could you tell us what’s in your personal “toolbox”? Software, apps, hardware, books. Mac or Pc user?
Could you mention some of your favorite sources for inspiration whenever you’re in search of an idea to get you started on a project?
I have a personal collection of saved screenshots in LittleSnapper, covering both design and interface patterns. I like pttrns.com and mobile-patterns.com for all things mobile, and then there’s Dribbble for everything else.
If any of our trainees has an interest in getting involved with interface design, what sort of advice would you give them?
Search the internet before you ask a question. No seriously: Use every free hour to read and research, but most of all, try and experiment.