We have a very diverse pool of talent at the Valley, and we like to introduce them to you through a series of digital coffees. Next up: Maarten van het Reve, Front-end designer.
Maarten is with us at the Valley for precisely one year now. Before, he was working as a full-stack developer and business owner. After taking some time off and studying the latest industry developments, he decided to re-shift his focus to front-end development. And that is how he landed at the Valley! Why? Because the multidisciplinary team structure felt very appealing. Even as the type of clients & projects the Valley works for.
Here are five burning questions for Maarten.
To kick things off, what are the priorities for you as a front-ender?
We, as front-end developers, bring the designer's vision to life and perhaps make it even better! In the end, we want to deliver an incredible web experience for the websites, apps and other applications we build, whether it's on a big iMac or small smartphone screen. We make sure everything you click, drag or drop is working in the best possible way, for instance. What I also find very important is that a website is also easy to use when users have a disability.
And talking about accessibility: making sure your website is built correctly for search engines is a base requirement that is important to incorporate.
What motivates your work, and how does that come back in the final product?
I like that the result of my work is evident. Even the most minor adjustments can make a tremendous difference. The visual feedback after an interaction is crucial for making sure everything works properly, for instance. Or creating a swipe-able carousel instead of tiny buttons for control.
Also, working together with colleagues from different disciplines such as back-end, visual design, and UX is fascinating. And finally, we're aiming to set the bar higher and experiment with new techniques and follow developments. More specifically, new techniques do not necessarily help raise the bar but to reach the bar. You take elements from each project that you want to do even better next time. It pushes you to raise standards for better accessibility, faster development, engaging effects etc.
Who are some companies already performing at that bar?
After all these years, I still really admire the tools from Google, such as Gmail, Drive, Docs and Sheets. Not that they are overly beautiful, but their simplicity, while being so robust and intuitive. Working (together) in those tools is so simple that you don't realize how complex it is.
On a completely different level, I love the messaging app Signal (https://www.signal.org/) because they are very concerned with privacy, security and encryption. Things I find very important.
What projects are you currently working on?
I work mainly for our client Zelus (Nike Team). We are constructing a range of online stores where clients can customize Nike training gear for themselves and their team. To get a 3D view on how the outfit will look, we have built an online tool that previews the product with your specific colours, logo, name, sponsor, etc. This online configurator we jointly have created is a complex but fulfilling project for us as (front-end) developers.
What makes this project specifically complex?
What makes it complex are the connections with multiple external services. The visitor can quickly adjust several things simultaneously or one after another. The final experience must work rapidly, efficiently and reliably!
Want to join our ongoing conversations on front-end contact Maarten here.