Meet Vincent Wolfard. A webmaster from Groningen whose playground is the internet.
Can you please describe to us the nature of your work?
My daily work consists of making websites or, more precisely, making sure others make websites for customers. Our team of web/interaction designers, programmers and editors are the technical specialists. I talk to customers about their business and their ideas and advise them about what kind of website they need. A website is no goal by itself. It’s just a marketing tool. For most businesses it’s an important part of their marketing instruments, but there are also businesses that don’t need a website.
What I do varies from advising, making documents, planning, online marketing/SEO, quality control and developing new ideas for websites we exploit by ourselves.
How would you describe a web designer’s job in one sentence?
Translating idea’s into businesses with Internet as the playground.
Where are your offices based and do you travel a lot?
Our offices are based in Leeuwarden in the Netherlands and in Bandung, Indonesia. At the moment I don’t travel that much. Twice a year I go back to the Netherlands and sometimes we take a detour with a short stopover.
Do you find any frustrations working with technology in Indonesia?
Not really. We have learnt to deal with it I guess. The internet is quite fast here. We use one fixed internet connection and have back-up mobile internet. When there is a power cut, our generator starts spinning. The stabiliser makes sure the electricity is stable, so the computers don’t break down. We have servers in Indonesia, the USA and the Netherlands and an online project management system with all project data and issue tracking.
Of course, we learned how to deal with it the hard way. That reminds me, I do have one frustration:
Why do electricity extension cords always have sockets that don’t fit plugs? There always is at least one socket that refused to take the plug!
What mobile phone do you have and do you ever feel like throwing it against a wall?
I just ordered a Blackberry after meeting another client who asked for my PIN, I decided it is impossible not to have a BB in Indonesia. At the moment I use a very simple LG phone that can call and SMS and has a battery life of a week.
Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to have a website in Indonesia?
Think about why you want to have a website. What is the goal? What should the website do for you? Who are your customers? What do your customers expect from your website? Equip your website with functionality that fulfils your customers’ needs. Keep it simple. Don’t build the most complex website you can think of, but start small. It’s always possible to expand in the future. Think about usability and conversion and always think from the user’s point of view. Nobody cares about your vision and mission statement!
If you could invent anything at all to make work life easier in Indonesia, what would it be?
I would develop a new travel service. A weekend filled with trail bike riding, fishing, cutting trees, barbeques and drinking beer in the jungle. The thing every man needs after sitting behind a computer for too long.
And if you could invent anything at all for fun, what would it be?
In Bandung the streets are filled with Angkot, minivans used for public transport. People step in and when they want to stop, they say, “Kiri, kiri.” Triggered by the Kiri Kiri sound, the Angkot stops and moves to the left side of the road, blocking everything else on the road. Being a motor driver, I hate these Angkot so for fun, I would invent little devices that can be placed on motorcycles that say, “Kiri, Kiri,” when you press a button. Press the button while driving on the right side of the Angkot and the Angkot will stop, leaving a confused driver without a clue who said, “Kiri, kiri.”
Mischievous! Which do you think is better – the iPad2 or the Toshiba Tablet?
Ipad. Unbeatable usability.
And finally, what’s your favourite app at the moment?
Skype. Nothing beats calling friends and family on the other side of the world for almost nothing.
Thanks Vincent. To get in touch, email him at [email protected]