Let's get to know you first. Tell us about yourself.

My name is Xenia Tay, and I study Computer Science and minor in Fine Arts at the University of Waterloo.

I was born and grew up in Singapore, halfway across the globe from my current location. In 2010, I moved to Canada and haven't stopped moving since. My love for exploring cities has led me to co-op terms in Toronto, Austin (Texas), Vancouver and next up: California. I've had a variety of co-op jobs, all related to design and front-end development, and absolutely adored my jobs. I can safely say that working is my favourite part of school!

Cool, so what's the story behind your website and its design?

My website has always been a bit of a struggle: I revamp it every 6 months with a grand vision in mind, and it never quite hits the bar.

With the latest design however, I finally feel on the right track. In previous iterations, I always planned for fancy navigation, a portfolio gallery and even a blog for my potential words of wisdom. That never panned out because content shapes design, but I didn't have the foundation of strong content to hold up my grand design.

With that lesson in mind, I trimmed down my content, cut away the fluff, and focused only on what I can present about myself. Thus, this design was born: inspired by the latest trends in flat design, minimalism and of course, the Facebook timeline.

What part of your website is your favourite, and why?

My favourite part is that the site is responsive. Responsive development was something I really drilled into during my last co-op at Indochino and it was nice to bring that skill back and apply it to my own site. I even prefer the compact look of the mobile view to the widescreen view - small is cute!

Is there anything you wish you knew when you first started building your website?

Jekyll. Back when I first set up my site in 2011, it was a bunch of .html pages that weren't fun to deal with. I've come a long way since then, but migrating the site to use Jekyll is on the top of my to-do list.

Technologies, languages, frameworks, or libraries?

LESS, CSS3, Photoshop (mockup), Illustrator (icons), Google Web Fonts.

I hoard design assets like icons and stock photos from Creative Market or use resources like NounProject. Having a wealth of design assets to pick from when starting a project is a huge time-saver - especially since I'm not a particularly good photographer. I also usually work with jQuery but this site didn't require any fancy Javascript.

Any upcoming changes we should look out for?

A new design! I've been working on my current baby (http://2014.cusec.net) and it's been fairly inspiring. Once I've wrapped up with that, I'll be coming back and working in some of the new tricks I learnt. Keep an eye out :)

Interview date: 20 Jan 2014Permalink