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Gene Crawford, president and co-founder of Period Three, has created art his entire life, but it wasn't until he went to college and discovered his roommate's PowerMac -- and a program called Photoshop -- that he turned to Web design.

08.01.07

Exploring User Experience -- One Article at A Time

What site do you look at every day?  I have a few favorites but one site I check out almost every day is UX Magazine.

What's the subject/topic of it? It's all about user experience. As a designer I tend to worry about users' perceptions of the company behind the site. I know that delves into the murky waters of branding, but I can't help it.

What's so great about it? They are able to stay on topic. User experience is far-reaching, and most people think it's only about usability testing but it is linked to branding. It can kill your brand if a customer has a poor experience with your site or product.

What makes it compelling? I really dig the layout and they have spent time on the details. These guys have obviously made this site a labor of love and it shows.

How would you improve it? Or would you? The only way it could be improved is if they included more articles -- specifically more in-depth articles.

What's your job? I'm president and co-founder of Period Three, a Web design and development company in Columbia, South Carolina. We’re a small firm so we all do just about everything at any given time.

If you have a degree in what field is it? I have a BA in studio art from the University of South Carolina.

How did you get involved in this industry? I've created art my entire life, but it wasn't until I went to college that I discovered my roommate's PowerMac and a program called Photoshop. I also got involved with the student newspaper and learned how to produce a publication from start to finish. At the time I also had a good friend who designed sites for real estate agents who recruited me to come work where he did. That was almost ten years ago and I've never looked back... OK, I look back from time to time.

What's your biggest Web (design) turn-off? Poor craftsmanship. I can't stand it when something is just thrown together. It takes a fair amount of skill to produce a quality design with the proper attention paid to the craft of creating a site. People will know a great design when they see it and will respond to it overwhelmingly.

Who, in this industry (or not), has been your biggest inspiration? When I was first starting to get into graphic design I discovered David Carson. I was captivated by his intuition and approach. Then as I became a professional in the design industry I started studying the masters like Paul Rand and also got into the Swiss school of design. Vastly different styles, but they all lead to this basic understanding of learning to trust your instincts and applying that within a system or process for creating work.

What's the weirdest thing you've bought online? It would have to be the stolen subway advertisement for the Teen Titans movie on eBay, I'm a huge Glen Murakami fan.

What do you do in your spare time? I have two little boys (ages four and one) so I'm not really sure I remember what spare time really is.

What music are you listening to right now?
Sun Volt, The Weakerthans and Tom Petty's Highway Companion are all making the rounds in the party shuffle these days.

What product/gadget can you not live without? Unfortunately Its my Blackberry; I'm definitely in some sort of denial about thinking I can just turn it off.

What's your dream computer set-up?
A 17" 2.4GHZ MacBook Pro (so I can go anywhere and do anything I need to do) along with a nice 30-inch Cinema HD Display for when I'm in the office.