Hi Anya, Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with us.
- How many years have you been working in web design?
Proud maker of the Internet since1999! When I was starting out, Wired Magazine was really excited about the fact that HTML lists could now display bullets. It’s amazing how the technology has evolved. Now there are people walking around who don’t remember a world without the Internet
- What currently are your main areas of specialization?
In addition to web design, I’ve branched out into UX/UI. For the past year, I’ve been working on OS customization and apps for Android. User experience is a broad area of design that can be applied to a variety of platforms and technologies. Our culture inhabits a digital world that has expanded tremendously – it’s not just the web anymore, and it’s going to get even more varied and accessible.
- What are some of the significant changes you have seen in technology over the past few years – are there any that stands out for you?
The trend has been towards multiplicity – we interact with the digital space more, and through more diverse modes and platforms. Internet used to mean desktop or laptop. Now, it’s not even desktop + laptop + smartphone + tablet + eReader + using your iPhone to regulate your thermostat remotely while you are on a different continent from where your house is. It’s all those things and more. Our devices talk to each other, they get smaller and more varied, and digital space is intertwining with physical space to a greater and greater degree. I predict that it will be like this, only more so. The line between digital and meatspace is blurring and it will continue to blur.
- You recently took time out to study in Los Angeles – what program were you studying?
Classical painting and drawing! Raise your hand if you saw that coming.
- How would you say your current profession and current path of study intertwines or contributes to one another? By this I mean do you find that one benefits your perception of another?
They definitely feed each other. In my art practice, I end up having broader vision and contemplate using materials in a way I wouldn’t have thought of without exposure to other media. As a designer, I draw on my art practice as a way to go deeper into what I am making – it teaches me to understand that design is about what goes on in people’s heads and hearts, not about just making pretty things.
- You have quite the diverse skill set – do you classify yourself as a web designer, an interactive designer, a creative director or art director. And do you find this difficult when looking for a career move or your “dream job”.
Yes, actually, it does become an issue. I find that people don’t tolerate ambiguity very well and if you don’t have an easy-to-peg identity, you’ll get assigned one anyway, and it may not be the one you want. On the other hand, my field of opportunities is bigger and I can tailor my presentation to a specific position, by emphasizing one aspect of my experience over another.
- With your many years of work experience within a technology based field – have you ever felt that challenges do exist there for women working in technology or business? Have you ever encountered such challenges and if so how?
Absolutely. The power players and decision-makers in this industry tend to be men, by a huge majority. These people will not necessarily mind using women’s skills and labour, but they are not as willing to share the driving seat. I have seen women groomed and promoted to positions of power, but it’s not a given the way it is with talented male workers, and the higher you climb, the fewer women you will see.
My own personal strategy has been to support my women colleagues as much as I can, whether it’s in the form of encouragement, sharing my networking connections and leads, or help with a technical problem. Banding together is a very powerful tool.
Thanks again Anya, enjoy your time in LA and let us know when we can welcome you back in Toronto.