rmurphey Adventures in JavaScript

Seeking a web designer

14 Jul 2008 edit

When I wrote about a 37signals post about the pitfalls of using Photoshop for web design, I didn't know that just a couple of weeks later I'd be helping DailyStrength write a job posting for a senior web designer a few weeks later. I thought a lot about what they'd written, and the skills I'd want the person who would be working so closely with me to have.

We are a health-based social networking site, with users who are largely social networking novices; we are seeking a designer who can help us develop a consistent visual language for the site that will be easy for these users to understand, while at the same time not limiting our power users. This job entails helping us envision and develop new features, as well as refining the current site.

We have a framework that allows rapid prototyping of new features, letting developers develop and designers design. That means it’s imperative that you be comfortable working with HTML and CSS, so you can take a rough-but-working prototype and give it the polish it needs. You’ll need to be at least as comfortable in Firebug as you are in Photoshop, and be able to communicate clearly about technical aspects of your designs. You won’t need to write any Javascript, but you should be very capable of understanding how and when it fits into an application. In all of my jobs, from bartending to desktop publishing to my current role as a front-end engineer, I've always valued it when the person giving me direction has had some understanding of my job. I didn't care for bar owners who overlooked lousy tippers, and I didn't care for the art director I worked for who thought one font worked as well as the next when it came to web sites. So when I found out we were hiring, I jotted down some notes about what I was looking for -- specifically, a designer who knew Firebug and Photoshop, and who could take my lightly-skinned markup and polish it to perfection rather than giving me a picture of how to polish it to perfection for them.

We've spent the past several weeks developing a framework for our site that will truly separate content and business logic from our presentation, leaving me largely free from mucking around in PHP sprinkled with HTML. Further, we've spent a lot of time thinking about the core pieces that make up our site, and figuring out how to, say, filter, search and present lists of elements -- any elements -- using largely the same base code, markup and CSS. I'm excited to soon be working with a designer who can embrace that framework and work on further standardizing the site -- a task that, til now, has been made difficult by how intertwined our markup was with our code.

If you're interested, pop over to the 37signals job board and check out the rest of the posting.