1. How long have you been a Hedgehog?
I’ve been a Hedgehog for two years now.
2. How long have you been designing?
I’ve been designing professionally for roughly 10 years. Before that, I spent several years learning photoshop and other programs to make web graphics for fun.
3. Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration can come from anywhere and everywhere. Sometimes, I will browse website design awards and other gallery sites like Dribbble and Behance to get inspired by current trends in the industry. I will take in the art and advertising around me while running errands or exploring the city. Inspiration can even be found in the natural world, and from other completely unrelated industries.
4. Hedgehog just won the W3 Gold award for the Website Redesign of Catholic Health Services of Long Island (CHSLI). What role did you play in the redesign?
I served as the lead designer and helped strategize the design in a way that it would function as reusable and reorderable components. This method allowed the various facilities to easily create their own experience while still being consistent with the CHSLI brand.
5. What was your initial reaction when you heard the CHSLI website won the W3 Gold Award for Best Website in the Healthcare and Services categories?
It was exciting. The websites all looked great, and the redesign helped the client reach their business objectives. To see it won an award was nice validation.
6. What was the biggest design challenge you had to overcome while working on the CHSLI project?
Creating a design that can be manipulated by content editors presents some challenges. The design has to look good no matter what content the editor wants to use. The design also has to look good if the components have been moved around and reordered. Hundreds of different elements have to be coordinated, so they all work in unison and function as a significant system instead of as individual assets. We also had to design in a way that each facility could have their own website. We had to consider places where the design needs to consistent and where there can be some leniency to display their individual personality.
7. What was your biggest takeaway from the CHSLI project?
My biggest takeaway was learning how to work as a team on a large-scale design. This project was big enough to warrant multiple designers working at the same time. Also, the software we were using was not designed to be used by multiple designers at the same time. We had to create methods and processes internally to account for that. We also had to come up with internal naming conventions and strategies to manage the hundreds of different reusable elements and components that appeared throughout the whole design system.
8. Since winning the W3 Gold Award for Best Website, do you feel it has changed your approach to new projects?
Yes and no. I always try to approach projects based on past experiences How can we improve the process and the result which requires knowing what went well and what didn’t.
9. Do you have any words of wisdom for inspiring Website Designers?
The best way to become a better designer is by doing two things. First, take in the world around you. Design is everywhere from the chairs you sit on, the books you read to the advertisements on tv and more. Studying what works and where the world is at and has been helps you to understand how problems have been solved in the past and some techniques that work and don’t work. Second, you have to design. You can read and study, but you have to do design work and make design decisions. The more you design, the better you’ll get.
10. What about UX/Web design excites you?
I really love design in general, but I like the constraints the web provides and how it’s always changing. It’s a unique challenge to try to make something beautiful, captivating, and innovative when technology is not always compliant. Nowadays there isn’t much you can’t do, and website design is starting to get closer to the techniques we use in print. As far as UX is concerned, it’s incredible that we can now study designs and provide quantitative data about the effectiveness of a design. It helps to inform the process and create a stronger result.
Melissa works out of Hedgehog’s Holbrook, New York office. You can connect with Melissa on LinkedIn or Twitter, or learn more about our UX and Design Services.