• 200704 Feb

    The future of webdesign part II

    In part two of the interview series we’ve dubbed “the future of webdesign”, we have an interview with Veerle Pieters, one of the best webdesigners on this planet, and a lovely lady as well!

    Check it out:

    Could you introduce yourself a little to our public? Most will probably know who you are, but then again, some may not.

    I’m a web/print designer based in Belgium and have been working for the web since 1996. My background is in print design because the web didn’t exist in my school days. Even Photoshop and Illustrator didn’t exist back then. After being frustrated by not finding a job after school I started my own business called Duoh!. Somewhere around September 1996 I started focusing on the web because I was fascinated by its possibilities. After being a one-man-business for years, Duoh! became a “naamloze vennootschap” in 2000.

    In 2004 I discovered that tables are not the best way to build a website and fell in love with CSS. Since then we never looked back and we only serve standards-based design to our clients. March 2006 was a turning point in my life because of the relaunch of my blog. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect all the attention. The first site that showed me what CSS could do was the CSS Zen Garden and the funny thing is that I will do a presentation now with Dave Shea at Web Directions North in Vancouver. I really can’t believe how fortunate I am to get the chance to speak in Europe, the US and Canada.

    You already told me you didn’t know much about CSS3, could you tell me what you expect from it?

    I expect that CSS3 will bring us much more flexibility creative wise. I’m hoping that we don’t have to wait very long to bring it into practice and that we’re not having to deal with dilemmas whether to use a feature or not. I’m referring to browser compatibility. I really hope it will limit the usual issues we’re dealing with today, to convert a nice layout and to make sure it looks good in all modern browsers and on top of that keep it as flexible as possible. You can do some pretty nifty things with CSS3 so I can only imagine it’ll improve our job. The question is of course “when” will we all be able to use it. I’m just not expecting it’ll be very soon.

    What do you think of the pace of development of the different CSS3 modules? Is it to fast, to slow, or on the right track? Can you of a module or multiple modules which need another pace of development?

    It’s slow, even CSS2 isn’t fully supported by all the browsers or rendered differently because of the browsers interpretation of the CSS. So I’m focusing on what we can do today because the way I see it, CSS3 full support without having to resort to hacks is a long way off. Some browsers have limited support now but it’s very little and not nearly enough to start building reliable sites that work across all browsers.

    Could you name your favorite CSS3 element? And why is it your favourite?

    The multiple background images is something that I am really looking forward to because it could have had its purpose in almost all designs that I created now. This should have been out ages ago. Being able to define images to borders is nice too and brings more creative possibilities without having to resort to less desirable methods to achieve the same effect.

    Which element do you hate the most, if any, and why?

    Wouldn’t know to be honest.

    Suppose you will be using CSS3 in X years, what do you think you will be using it with? With HTML5, or with XHTML2? Which would you prefer?

    It’s all the same for me, either way a strict model because I like things clean :)

    Could you name the three most important things happening right now which in your opinion might impact the future of webdesign?

    1. The combination of CSS and DOM scripting (still reading Jeremy’s book)
    2. That Microsoft keeps its word in paying more attention to standards in the future and that we don’t have to wait another 5 years :)
    3. Apollo

    What are your personal goals in webdesign? What would you like to accomplish?

    I’m hoping that my work sparks people to being creative and think about the techniques they use. Even if I only convince one web designer to upgrade his code skills to more meaningful markup and CSS, I’ll be a happy girl. Regarding my work I like to challenge myself and push my creative work beyond my own limitations that I now have. I love what I’m doing now and I hope I can keep on doing it for the future to come.

    As you know, we had Andy Clarke as the first interviewee, he has recently published a new book called Transcending CSS, do you have any plans on writing a book about webdesign?

    I don’t have any plans to write a book. There have been offers to write one but like Andy said this is something that takes a lot of time and that’s something I don’t have right now. I can’t afford to stop working just to write a book. The reason being, it isn’t financially a good idea. I would have to earn just as much as working before even considering, otherwise it isn’t a smart business move in my humble opinion. I have a house to pay for now :)

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