Tell me about yourself and how you got into development.
I’m a web designer, speaker, consultant, and musician based in beautiful Pittsburgh, PA.
I started my college career as a music major to learn about recording, live sound, and management. I ended up playing in a band that taught me those things and more. One of those “and more” things was to make and manage the band’s website. Eventually, I switched out of music and into a program called Media Arts and Design, where I took a Photoshop/Illustrator class, Dreamweaver class, and a Flash class.
After graduating university I got a job designing and developing websites for real estate and mortgage companies in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately this was right when the real estate bubble burst, so I moved to New York City to be with my fiancee (now wife!). I worked at several agency jobs where I got into the weeds with web development.
Tell me about “Atomic Design”. How did you get the idea for it? Why did you write it?
In the natural world, atomic elements combine together to form molecules. These molecules can combine further to form relatively complex organisms. All matter in the known universe can be broken down to a finite set of atomic elements.
When I was thinking about UI design, I loved the idea of component-driven design, but it seemed to lack nuance. Surely there was something more than just components and pages. That’s what led to atomic design, which consists of 5 distinct stages: atoms, molecules, organisms, templates, and pages. This mental model helps teams design thoughtful, robust, design systems.
What are some of your favorite projects that you’ve worked on in the past?
I’ve had the good fortune of working with my pals Josh Clark and Dan Mall (as well as a whole bunch of other talented folks) on some great projects over the last four and a half years. I’ve also had the opportunity to collaborate with some amazing people to create tools and resources for web designers, including Pattern Lab, Styleguides.io, This Is Responsive, Death to Bullshit, & more.
What is your favorite thing that you do currently?
I like making things and helping people. What that entails on a daily basis changes all the time, but I hope I’m able to keep making things and helping people.
Is there anything fun or exciting that you’re working on?
Always. But right now my wife is making a baby, so I’m working on gearing up to be a dad. Super excited!
What do you like most/least about what you do?
I love the ability to introduce ideas into the world, then have people take those ideas and do amazing things. That’s far more fulfilling than doing stuff myself.
What technology do you currently find exciting?
I like all the new CSS layout technology, and find myself diving into Grid a lot more lately.