Ryan is a busy designer, writer, producer and Dad but he takes the time to pack his interview with some real gems of advice and experiences.
Name: Ryan Taylor
Company: Havoc Inspired
Job Title: Generalist with a special interest in Visual Design & Front-End Development
Web Designer Interview
How long have you been a web designer?
I’ve been designing and developing websites since 2005. I had a career change into the web industry after previously working in IT since leaving school.
About how many sites have you made?
I’d say about 20. I’ve designed quite a few internal systems for companies but unfortunately they’re not viewable to the general public.
What made you want to be a web designer?
I’ve always had a creative side that was never satisfied while working in the IT industry, I often say “a creative itch that never got scratched”. I’d tried various creative outlets but designing for the web caught my interest and I’ve been hooked every since.
What was the first web site you made?
I used to play a PC game called Guild Wars (back when I had more time on my hands) and I was in a guild called War Masters, there were about a hundred of us, and I built a website with a bespoke blog and forum so we could chat to each other outside the game.
What would be the ideal web project for you?
For me it’s imperative that I’m working with people who are enthusiastic about the project and who actually care about what they are trying to achieve. You’d think this would be a no brainer but it amazes me the number of people who come up to me and say they need a website but it doesn’t matter what it looks like and they haven’t thought about how the website could benefit them, they seem to just feel that they “should” have a website because “everyone else” does.
I also really enjoy working with other creative people, it can be very exhilarating working on a project with someone who is as passionate about doing a good job as I am.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’ve just finished a portfolio site for a photographer based in Sweden that will be going live soon and I’m working on a site for a client who provides copywriting and marketing services.
What is best part of being a web designer?
The endless possibilities, the freedom, the variety and the Starbucks lifestyle (you can build websites from anywhere!).
Tell us about your best experience as a web designer?
Definitely getting involved with the web community. I’ve been the producer of the Boagworld (boagworld.com) podcast since 2008, I’ve learnt a great deal from Paul Boag and Marcus Lillington and I’ve had the opportunity to attend loads of conferences, interviewing the speakers for the show and meeting other attendees a majority of which I keep in touch with through email, IM and Twitter.
Also writing a tutorial for .net magazine was a great personal achievement, I’ve read the magazine for years and I’m very humbled to appear amongst it’s pages.
Tell us about your worst experience as a web designer?
I think probably working for a company, as an in-house employee, that didn’t care about the same things I cared about when it came to working in the web industry. It’s impossible to be enthusiastic about projects that if given the choice you would not take on.
The lessons learn’t from that are if you’re going to work in-house for a company make sure the company shares your values, you’ll be happier with them and they’ll be happier with you.
What are the most important things to learn to be a good web designer?
Good communication skills for a start, you need to be able to convey ideas and different approaches to your clients who aren’t necessarily technically minded.
Additionally focus on a specific area that you really enjoy and develop your skills in that area but don’t forget about everything else. It’s important to have at least a broad understanding of as many disciplines as you can, this will arm you with the right tools to get the job done, even if you need to sub-contract the work to someone else, you at least know what needs to be done.
What advice would you give to our Web Courses Bangkok students?
My advice would be stay flexible. Freelancing or working for small companies/agency is an ideal way to do this. You need to constantly keep learning and challenging yourself, don’t get stuck in a rut.
Finally get involved with the community, read blogs, blog yourself, join forums, listen to podcasts and contribute. You cannot put a price on the experiences and support of the web community so take advantage of it.
Thank You Ryan
If you want to get in touch with Ryan you can find him here, here and here: