Our 1893 Team is full of talented people from all areas of interactive media. Today, I sat down with Langston Taylor, one of our web designers at the Studio to learn more about him and his approach to web design.
Taylor is a senior from Silver Spring, Maryland, majoring in interactive multimedia at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School Of Media and Journalism. He started working for the Studio in the Fall semester of 2016.
Q: How did you get into web design?
Langston Taylor: Wow. I feel like probably first — I have no idea — I was probably in middle school. We had a computer science class so we did some of that. From there, I had to do an assignment when I worked on my high school’s online newspaper — which had their own sort of weird website that we had to figure out how to work. Then part of my major here is to work on front end web design, and building web apps especially for news sites.
How has working at the Brand Studio helped you develop your skills?
LT: It’s good practice with real world clients who have real world demands. The biggest project I’ve done so far was building a blog for a client who already had their own WordPress blog, but they wanted a more professional looking online type of publication. So, it was an example of high stakes because it wasn’t for class and you have a real-life, paying client. You need to have a website up by a deadline. You have to figure out how to both get the technical stuff done as well as communicate with the client to figure out exactly what they want. You have to translate the client, who’s not necessarily a web designer, and their desires into something that you can do and works well for them. It’s a great opportunity to work on that in the real world. It’s not something that a lot of classes offer.
What are the first things you think about when designing a website? What are your priorities?
LT: First thing I think about is probably all of the features it has to have. What pages, what types of media it has to show, what are the sort of objectives of the website. Does it have to have a shop? Is it selling merchandise? So it has to have various things. And that plays into what the process is for how to set it up. So if you have a web shop you have to have a secure domain. So people know that it’s safe, you get the little green lock at the top of your screen. So once you know what everything has to do, you can go about making that happen.
You built the 1893 website. Were there any initial challenges you had to face when building the site?
LT: There were a couple, nothing really big. It was kind of a time sensitive thing. There was an issue of doing it quickly while still making it look okay. One of the issues was that we were both creating the website and the content at the same time. So it’s not like you have a bunch of content you can build into a website. Since it was a new start up we were starting from basically zero — well not zero we had some previous written examples — but we didn’t have a lot of stuff that could populate the website. So I was developing that at the same time. You know, working with an organization, you have the challenge of building a website that anyone can edit anything in. So you want to make everything clear enough so that people with no web design experience can edit and change things, so that can be a challenge sometimes, but that’s important.
What are your favorite things about designing websites?
LT: It’s just really creative! There’s a lot of things that can be done that a lot of people haven’t discovered yet. There’s new things happening every few months it seems like. I love the idea of figuring out a new way to do an old thing, or doing something that makes intuitive sense, that doesn’t need to be explained. So, it’s a fun challenge.
Audrey Wells: Psst! He’s really good at it!!