Fraser

What do you do at blacK-9?
As a graphic designer, my job is to make websites look aesthetically pleasing, while retaining functionality. The design and visual flow of a website is vital to its success. Most importantly, my job is to make sure blacK-9 clients are happy with the work we do for them.

How did you get into web design?
I’ve always been inclined towards technology and creativity, so it was only natural that I would find my way into web design. I love the idea of sharing a thought or a concept with the world, and the internet has made this idea a reality.

What is the most important tool when designing a website?
Hands-down, the most important tools when designing a website are a pad of paper and a pencil. It may seem like an unlikely answer, but it’s very important to sketch out design concepts before I put time into building them.

What was your biggest mistake when learning website design?
My biggest mistake when learning web design was believing that I always knew what looked best. While I do have a knack for design and my own "visual style", I've learned that it's important to have other people look at my designs and give me honest feedback. It allows me to tackle a concept from a different angle.

Why do you enjoy developing websites?
Websites are critical to the success of any business. Moreover, websites have become increasingly accessible and affordable, so anyone - whether they own a small local business or a huge international company - can benefit from having a website that cultivates a global presence. This has given the opportunity for small- and medium-sized businesses to compete with larger competitors. I enjoy helping businesses capitalize on that opportunity.

If you were stuck on a desert island, what book, movie and album would you choose to bring with you?
Book: Slaughter House Five, Movie: Gladiator, and Album: What’s the Story (Morning Glory).

What do you like better - tea or coffee?
Coffee (with milk). It’s hard to get anything done without at least one cup in the morning.

Steve

What do you do at blacK-9?
I am responsible for back-end web development (request handlers, data modeling, queries, and indexing). In other words, I make sure the right files are being delivered to the right place at the right time. I also actively engage with clients, to document business requirements and understand their needs.

How did you get into computer science?
I studied psychology in university. In my third year, I had two incredible professors who taught Advanced Statistics and Cognition. Those courses changed the way I saw the world and influenced me to learn as much as I could about computer science. After I graduated, I had the opportunity to study computer science at the University of Toronto. This was an exhilarating and challenging experience, and it cemented my love of programming.

What is the most important tool when designing a website?
From a programming perspective, it comes down to testing, documenting and planning. But if I had to pick one, it would have to be testing. Basically, you have to know whether the code you are writing works properly. Testing also helps with debugging - this allows a website to run smoothly, properly, and error-free.

What was your biggest mistake when learning to program?
When I first learned to program, I should have been trying to "play" with the language instead of trying to "master" it. Mastery takes a long time. Playing takes the edge off and you really pick things up a lot faster.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy juggling. I'm still trying to learn how to juggle five balls, and my club skills need a lot of practice. I also really like playing Starcraft and listening to music (Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Fleet Foxes, and The White Stripes).

Why do you enjoy developing websites?
I always carry a notebook with me. No matter how hard I try, the notebook always becomes disorganized - pages fall out, ink smudges, paper rips. What appeals to me about web technology is its ability to capture and organize information in a long-lasting, meaningful way.

If you were stuck on a desert island, what book, movie and album would you choose to bring with you?
Book: John Steinback's East of Eden, Movie: Pulp Fiction, and Album: The Bootleg Series Vol. 1-3 (Bob Dylan)

What do you like better - tea or coffee?
Black dark roasted coffee in the morning, and tea with honey at night.