Q: How did you get into web design?
A: Web design is not the strongest skill I have, but I started out learning to code HTML (the language web pages are built on) by hand about 15 years ago. It’s a painstaking process to learn and then use all of the codes but I liked it better than other programming languages because it made more sense. Currently there are so many easier and better ways to design websites, from Modular systems like WordPress to programs such as Dreamweaver. It’s become easier to make web pages, but harder to make great ones due to the glut of designs on the market.
Q: What makes your company unique?
A: Unfortunately, the fact that it’s run and owned by a woman makes it one of not-very-many (although that is changing) but my blend of skill sets and abilities is what makes J Babylon Consulting unique. I style myself a “Jes of all trades” and I really mean it – if I don’t have the skill to get your project done, I am not afraid to go to one of my many resources and ask for help or even outsource the project in order to get satisfaction for my clients. I can be very flexible in the matter of what service I can provide, so often one project will morph into five others by the time the first project is underway.
Q: What was your most challenging project?
A: I think managing a project with a Costa Rican web designer and a Harvard alumnus elderly gentleman, trying to describe what one wanted, and other was able to do. We pulled it off, but barely, and with quite a bit of communication innovation.
Q: What is the biggest change you have seen in web design in your career?
A: Part of the reason I don’t focus on web design is that there ARE so many changes happening so rapidly. I enjoy designing, so I will often work with a client on design specs and then outsource to a friend who does programming. She keeps up with all of that, and I think it’s a really smart way to go, dividing it up into pieces like that.
Q: . What is the most common mistake people make in designing there own web page?
A: I think a lot of design appeal depends on what you’re trying to convey. Too many bells and whistles can be a design no-no, but most people designing websites on their own probably don’t have a basic design principle in mind. I’d say that folks underestimate the level of skill and learning it takes to make a great website look like it’s easily made, and there are plenty of SNAFUs to run into when going it alone. Take it from me, since I taught myself how to code (which is probably why I prefer to outsource it).
Q: Why should my readers hire a professional web content writer instead of hiring an expert in the field that the website is about?
A: A web content writer can use SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and keywords to draw attention to your page. Obviously if you have something that requires legal knowledge or could be construed as expert advice, you’ll want to fact-check, like any reputable reporter. A web content writer of good quality should know when and how to research appropriately to make your content (text) not only dazzle, but also provide correct and relevant information.
Q: What I do you like about running a business in Boston?
A: Boston is so full of entrepreneurs just brimming with great ideas, and offers so many resources to make those ideas come to fruition, I find it hard not to get excited when networking with other ‘treps and business startups about their own ideas. I especially enjoy being part of that community and having been in the vanguard of locals-done-good such as Task Rabbit.
Q: what don’t you like about it?
A: It can be grueling. There’s no sick pay, no vacation or holiday pay. If you go down, everything stops unless you have a great cushion and smart planning. So the flexibility and creative opportunity is nice, but the times when the economy tanks and no one is able to hire my skill sets are a little intimidating. But just like Boston, I bounce back!
Q: Where can we see some of your work?
A: A fair amount of it is in backend stuff. For instance with Task Rabbit I helped design their hiring and training programs, and authored the training manual, which regular folks wouldn’t ever get to see. I’ve done some real estate advertising and of course, I designed and created my own website however, my focus is less on web design and more on graphic design, organization, efficiency, and life coaching or mentoring. So in that sense, you will rarely see results of my work unless you know some of my clients personally but of course, I would never reveal those sorts of details.
Q: How can I become the world’s most famous and beloved blogger?
A: The best advice is to write what you know about. What you enjoy, what you want to share with the world. Blogging shouldn’t be a job, it should be a joy. That will get transmitted, much like you can tell if someone is smiling on the phone with you, it infuses their whole conversation, the same can be said of the words you type (or speak, if you’re doing a video blog). It doesn’t really matter what you write about, as long as you genuinely care and can give it a true voice.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)