Web International Awards

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MAR 2007 0

Interview with Chris Bewick, owner of Stompfrog.co.uk

stompfrog.co.uk screenshot

Webia: Who are you and what do you do? Tell us something about yourself.
Chris: My name is Chris Bewick, I am a self-taught web designer based in Reading, England. As well as doing freelance work through Stompfrog.co.uk. I am currently a full time employee of Yell where I work on the team responsible for designing, building and maintaining Yell, Yell Direct and Yell Mobile.

Webia: What designs do you like the most and why? Describe your design style.
Chris: At the moment I am really excited about bold blocks of color and vector-based graphics. Initially I spent a lot more time learning to code than I did thinking about design. It is only In the last 6 months or so that I have really gotten into the design side of things. I am not sure how I would describe my style as I think it is something that I am still developing.

Webia: Of your favorite hobbies, which one has a chance of eclipsing your web design career and why?
Chris: When I am not behind the computer I am working on my other hobby, music! I currently play bass in two bands with which I have gigged all over the country and had national radio air play. International rock-stardom, however unlikely that is, is probably the only thing that could jeopardize my design career.

Webia: What is your specialization (Flash / XHTML / PHP / Graphic Design etc)? Why have you chosen this particular domain.
Chris: I would love to develop my skills in all these areas but in reality it is necessary to focus on specific areas. Everything I do is based around well-formed XHTML, CSS and attractive imagery. It is this solid grasp of the basics that I feel is my main strength. Recently I have been rapidly expanding my understanding of javaScript in order to add dynamic elements to my work. This is something that I am really enjoying and intend to expand on further.

Webia: What is more crucial in design - professional look or usability?
Chris: I think the answer here is both. It is quite ridiculous to think that a design cannot have usable/accessible functionality whilst also having an exciting, professional presentation.

Webia: What are the three things any web designer (freelancer) should know?

  • 1. W3 Schools - an excellent learning resource for XHTML, CSS, javaScript and more.
  • 2. Firefox plugins are life savers: Firebug, all-in-one gesture, Colorzilla, web developer and IE tab are crucial for me.
  • 3. When they are getting paid!

Webia: What sort of attention has your online portfolio brought you? Would you say it's profitable to have one if you're a web designer?
Chris: I only launched my current portfolio website a few weeks ago and have been delighted by the response. It has been featured on CSSVault, CSSClip, Screenalicious, Most Inspired, CSSWalk and numerous social bookmarking sites. The response from these has been amazing with hits spiking up to 700 in a day. I am lucky to have a stable web design job on top of my freelance so am not to concerned about the profitability of Stompfrog but to get such positive feedback from the design community was a wonderful thing.

Webia: What is your favorite software? What would be the ideal web graphic design software? What software couldn't you live without?
Chris: I find that the best software for trying out layout ideas and color schemes is Fireworks. Fireworks is always my starting point for any project. It handles shapes and objects much more intuitively than photoshop and I can achieve better results in a shorter time.

Webia: Where do you see the development of your business? Any future projects in mind?
Chris: At the moment I most enjoying designing sites for small businesses and creative individuals e.g. musicians, authors and composers. These projects tend to be of a small scale which suits the part-time nature of Stompfrog. This also means that you get to work with exciting and passionate individuals rather than a board room of suits. Who knows what the future holds?

Webia: What do you think about web 2.0?
Chris: I think web 2.0 is a difficult thing to define. Everyone I speak to has a different idea of what it means. In my mind a large element of web 2.0 is the social book-marking and user generated content revolution. I think this is a very exciting area of the web and can't wait to see how it develops further.

Webia: What is the first graphic software you ever used?
Chris: My first experience of computer graphics was MS PowerPoint on my dad's work laptop when I was a kid. Whether you can really call that a graphics package I don't know!

Webia: How did your very first project look like?
Chris: Very basic. Two frames; a plain, un-styled list on the left for navigation and the content on the right. The whole site was black text on a white background with purple and pink headings. This was site I made for my band in 2002.

Webia: Do you have any information or career advice to offer to our reading audience?
Chris: Read as much as you can about usability, design and software. You will never stop learning and your work will always be improving.

This was Chris Bewick, owner of stompfrog.co.uk. Thank you for your time, Chris!

Published on Thursday, March 15th, 2007 at 10:13 am in 2007.

About Bogdan Pop

Bogdan Pop is a young Romanian entrepreneur who runs WebRaptor. He is a web developer with awesome design skills, who enjoys writing about everyday's work and usability. He relaxes by taking photos every once in a while and by mixing french electronic music. Connect with him via Twitter.

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