Interview with Digiscope Media’s web designer and developer: trends and new norms in the eyes of a web designer
Quarantines and lockdowns have turned business and their startegies upside down. Now more than ever are proper websites and e-shops determining factors of business’ success. How to stand out and adapt to the new normal, speaks up the web designer and developer of Digiscope Media – Kevin Lehtla.
Who are you and what is your role in Digiscope Media?
I am a 25-year-old man from Laagri. My role as well my job title in Digiscope Media is web designer as well as a front-end developer. The role of a web Designer has grown a lot over the last few years from a person doing only a design to making codes alongside it, which is why one must be relatively well aware of how to manage a website and how to build it. Web designers are generally no longer only designers. Often, our professional knowledge also becomes involved with UX/UI design and development. My job in Digiscope is similar to that – designing and developing websites.
Tell your story – what is your previous work experience and how did you end up at Digiscope Media
After I graduated from Tallinn Polytechnic School I became a freelancer. It was quite a challenge because at first I didn’t know the importance of the details in contracts and also of course I didn’t know everything about web design so in the beginning it was lots and lots of learning. After a year of constant learning and self development, I found a job in a company called Winter Media Group, which was lead by Tanel Talve. Then I decided to move on to SHG Estonia, which is not really related to marketing or IT, but rather construction. I was there for about two years and created different concepts, business sources, e-shops and tried to find partners with whom we could cooperate. Very versatile work, I had the opportunity to do a little bit of everything. My tasks were now related to design and development, but I had no opportunity there to cooperate with a team in that field, there was more independent work. At one point I was contacted by FCR Media regarding recruitment. SHG’s owner was very supportive of me, he saw that SHG was a stepping stone for me and that I had a lot of unused potential. He said that if you feel that you want to develop your skills and do something more, then by all means, do that. To this day we remain good friends and I thank him for that. So I made the decision to go to FCR Media and there I officially got the role of a web designer. For the first time I was part of a large team. Before joining Digiscope Media I had 6-7 years worth of experience.
I joined Digiscope Media in April of 2020. Rainis Vares, our awesome leader, used to be my colleague so we communicated on a daily basis. I knew he had big plans for the future, but I didn’t know the details. When he had been a manager at Vurr for some time, we happened to talk about plans for the future and then he told me that he is starting his own company and plans to join Creative Union, and that’s where the story actually started. Rainis had been working on Digiscope Media’s brand and concept for a month and then I joined him. It can be said that team started with Rainis and I.
Describe your typical day at work
Well my typical work day consists of a lot of Coca-Cola. Sugar is a very important part of my day. All jokes aside, my tasks are quite similar to those of a freelancer. Generally, I still have the role of a web designer, but today I am moving towards being a lead designer. Being the lead designer means I have to think about concepts parallel to developing them, of course I design and develop websites based on WordPress. I also make logos, flaiers, social media visual content when needed.
Describe a moment you felt proud of Digiscope Media
I feel proud of Digiscope in the sense that I believe every day in our people. We are confident and trustworthy partners to our clients. Our aim is that the client would get exactly what they wanted and that our clients are happy. First and foremost satisfied with the services we have offered and happy with the process.
“Digiscope Media is colourful, youthful and confident.”
What is the true value of Digiscope Media in your eyes?
For me, the value we have is that we have a youthful team. This is one of our fundamental values in my eyes, because we take people in and put them to test, to help them push themselves even further. We are not like many big companies that are closing doors on canditates for the lack of experience. The reason for that kind of discouragment is because people think the bigger the experience the bigger the person’s value. On the contrary, if you have some perspecitve and have the desire to do something or have something to offer to a client, then you also have the ability to learn all of this within yourself. That is what I like most about Digiscope Media. We may seem young bold fools for someone, but we dare to take risks. In my eyes, people who do not dare to take risks are not going too far in life. For the client our value is that we are very opened. We will not restrict our services if a client wants something, instead, if we cannot offer the service needed by the client ourselves, we will help them find a solution and direct them in the right direction. In other words, we are an information line for our client. If there are any concerns, speak with us courageously, we will certainly find a solution for you. We are a place where anything can be asked and we will find a solution.
What has been the biggest challenge during your time in Digiscope Media?
The greatest challenge is that, as we are a small business, we will find it difficult to depend on someone else. We need to be the post that will never fall down. This sometimes requires more hours of work. Every day we educate and develop ourselves.
What has been the biggest surprise for you?
Free coffee is always a great advantage. The more time pass, the more I see that Digiscope Media is a perfect place in Creative Union to get started as a client. We will help the client map out their problems and needs and then offer solutions for them, whether it’s in Digiscope Media or another Creative Union’s company. Clients often turn to a company with one specific problem, but they do not know that there could be another 10 concerns parallel to that. It is therefore up to us think out of the box for the client instead of only solving one problem the client had given us.
Thanks to mentoring from Madis Laas, there has been enourmous cooperation on European Union level, on the topic of COVID and also hybrid events with Global Virtual Solutions. All of that happened at the beginning of the corona crisis, which is why it can be said that we took the bull by the horns. We have been growing very quickly and we have not become a year old as a company yet. It all has happened because we always give 100%. We do not overthink, we just do it.
“We always give 100%.”
What has been your favorite project?
Contactless office campaign created by Ninja Solutions. We had basically only a week to brainstorm the whole idea, the main message, how to reach people with it, what is the style and visuals. Then we created kontaktivabakontor.ee, campaigns and social media. It was very cool to do because I was part of the creative process from the beginning to the end.
How would you describe our team?
Our team is exactly coincident with our values – youthful, vibrant, versatile. All people have their own role and no one else overlaps with that role. During my time, the size of our team has doubled, which has greatly helped us.
How does it feel that Digiscope Media is soon turning one year old?
To be honest, I would have forgotten this because this corona crisis has taken a large part away from my sense of time. It has been a hard and laborious year, but I am very pleased with where are now.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
My life, to be honest. When I started to graduate from primary school, I had two choices: go to high school or become a cook. Surprise surprise, neither became true. My father was a great help to me in choosing my profession. Thanks to him, I found my passion, which I really like. He took me on the right path and today I am satisfied with my profession, life, my people and my workplace. This is the greatest happiness for me.
Who inspires you?
My biggest challenge has been my own creative development. I can see that I still have so much to learn. Every day I try to be a better designer and a better person than yesterday. This is not something that I promise myself as a New Year’s resolution, rather as a daily promise to myself that I will never stop self-development. Therefore, I am always up to date with the latest trends, because how else do you know what is going on around you.
“Every day I try to be a better designer.”
How would you define success?
If you are truly happy.
Who inspires you?
I have very few professionals to whom I look up to. Mostly I find my inspiration in the field of graphic design. One of them is Magdiel Lopez. He is a graphic designer whose poster style I really love. Secondly, there is a company named Baugasm. I follow more designs that have won awards rather than one person in particular.
Web design in the year 2021 and the do’s and don’ts
What is the situation in web design today and what new norms have developed in this industry?
The new norm is surely that people are finally realizing that they should focus more on their e-sales. People have been moving to internet for several years and are also buying more online now. This is an inevitable trend that is constantly growing. As a result, more and more people have started thinking about brands, webs and e-shops. In my opinion it’s about time.
3 recommendations for creating a successful website
Don’t be afraid of AI. Don’t think that AI will take over your work. The role of a man will never be taken away, because a computer does not think, it only does the job given to it. There’s this big misconception, that AI will make a design or page for you, for example Voog, Squarespace or templates. The reality is that you do not have to be in the ultimate role where you physically do things, but in the role where you think with the client, actually try to find a solutions the client wants. A computer won’t do that for you.
Open yourself more to news that are not one-sided. Be careful not to consume information that only one person or one outlet gives you. We live ina digital era where all information can be wrong, faked or only a fragment of information is true. The same principle applies from the client’s point of view. It is not worth relying on only on feedback, for example Grandma says the website is bad or uncomfortable to use. Such decisions are not done on the basis of only one feedback.
Experiment more. Dare to be more aggressive and take risks in terms of design. It is already very tiring to see that people take insipration from designs that are already 5 or 10 years old at international level today. Do not fear brutalism, aggressive design, trends that are extreme and new for you. Estonian Academy of Arts is a very good example of the fact that ugly design doesn not mean it’s a bad design when it comes to marketing.
3 common mistakes made in web design
Not being original. Don’t think that all things, that are done as a standard, are correct. Physics, chemistry and biology are evolving as a science every day. In reality, no fact is carved into stone so to say. It may be a fact today, but there is no guarantee that it will be a fact tomorrow. The same principle applies to web design. People take the same exact menu, same exact design and same exact web structure all the time because they are used to seeing it. But instead, you should think more about how to do it differently and how to create a unique and interesting design. This cannot happen if we constantly imitate each other.
Not letting yourself grow. People don’t want to let their ego go, both in client’s and executor’s perspective. After all, the web should be user-frienly and pleasent for our client’s customers.
Not thinking through the website. The aim of the website as well as the design is not to be anything beautiful, but the ultimate goal is to fulfil the goal that your business has – be it sales, promotion, sharing information etc. The most important part is to reach that goal, regardless of design. You can always improve conversions and sizes, perhaps make the design more beautiful, but the main goal must remain in focus.