Interview With Matt Lassiter, New Digital Experience Director
October 15, 2015
There is a new addition to the Spectruss team, Matt Lassiter, the Digital Experience Director! Today we take a moment to interview Matt and find out more about him and his plans at Spectruss. Matt Lassiter is a long time-resident of Chattanooga, TN and comes to Spectuss as their new Director of Digital Experience.
Q: What got you interested in Digital Experience?
A: What a great question to start with. It is more difficult to answer than I think one would expect! So, I largely taught myself web design. I always had an interest in getting involved in technology as a career, but that is such a broad scope that it took me some time to narrow it down. I did find that I really loved developing websites, I just had a lot of fun doing it, so I went to school to receive a more well-rounded education in the topic.
At this point, though, I had been teaching myself for quite a while. When I got into school, I found myself way ahead of the pack, having undertaken a few freelance projects prior to starting school. While in school, I realized that they were very keen on teaching the technical side of web design/development, but something that was largely being ignored was the user experience. I had come to understand that all the technical skill in the world does not help if the experience a user has is no good, so I branched off and really delved into that. About halfway through my schooling I got interviewed, and ultimately hired, by a company to do user experience work. This is all before Spectruss, of course.
Q: Are there any particular goals/plans you have for Spectruss?
A: So, Spectruss has a catalog of work behind them that is really high end. They have some of the cleanest design work I have seen. Their director of design is just incredible when it comes to designing websites that can deliver on a brand’s needs. With Spectruss wanting to expand and create a service where they create custom themes that are to be used by a widespread audience, it becomes very important that Spectruss take into consideration the experience one will have when using these themes. Their president was well aware of this, and I feel fortunate that they reached out to me to be in charge of that aspect. So my goals are very straightforward: The design and development of high-end website themes that deliver an excellent experience and provide the tools needed to make their clientele the happiest they can be. Now, within that goal, there are a lot of variables and considerations, which is where a lot of my work will be accomplished.
Q: Spectruss has a very “fresh” style of web design. What in particular about this team’s way of building gets you energized and creative?
A: Okay, so the work done by Spectruss on their custom-client side has always been really cool. When I first became aware of them, roughly a year or so ago, I took in their portfolio of work and was blown away. You described it really well, “fresh.” That is a great description. They were being very bold, not just with layouts, but with topography, animations, film, photography, and so on. They were doing such great work in those individual mediums, and then the way it comes together on a website is always this perfect blend. Furthermore, they managed to maintain compatibility for older browsers well. The responsiveness of their websites didn’t make the experience suffer. Everything is so planned out. This is very inspiring to someone like myself where I can look at the work and always be a bit enlightened by it. It is very motivating as a result.
Q: What parts of web design and user experience do you enjoy creating the most?
A: The whole process is a blast. I will say there is something very rewarding about forming a hypothesis and then creating a test to see if it pans out. The result, whether what you expect or otherwise, is always thrilling, so I love that. However, the entire creative process is exciting. With user experience, I really need to be involved at each level of design and development, so any given moment is very thought provoking.
Q: Would you say that time and practice is the best method for gaining your type of skills? Is it a lot of schooling, or is there a particular method you use that might be helpful for people interested in your field?
A: This is a great question. There are a number of different paths to becoming proficient in user experience. What I would suggest is start understanding HTML, CSS, and how websites are put together. Having that knowledge is really valuable as a tool to yourself. It gives you confidence that your ideas make sense. School can be a great way to learn many things. I always encourage furthering your education. And if school is what you choose, then really go for it. However, I will say that school gave me very little in terms of understanding user experience design. What was more rewarding was reading case studies, building websites, and looking at what data you get, paying close attention to what people you admire in your desired field do and then really getting involved whenever you can. Experience pays off in this field. And while building early experience, I recommend paying attention and listening to people who are more knowledgeable than you on a subject. More listening, less talking.
Q: I hear you also work with Japanese fashion brands and Japanese musicians as well. Can you tell us a little about that?
A: Oh! Oh, wow, yeah. So ever since I was really young, I enjoyed Japanese anime! I grew up with it, so it is not all that surprising. But anyway, I got well-acquainted with the community that helps put together some of these conventions for that subject! Eventually, I had a few opportunities to do some work with Japanese fashion designers. While this seems irrelevant, that actually helped quite a bit with the user experience work. It certainly helped me conceptualize a different kind of market. So actually as a side venture, I, alongside my partner, design clothing. I direct fashion shows all around the country for the clothing lines we make. This happens on different weekends throughout the year. I love design. Like, I loooove design of all types. This is just another version of it.
I really appreciate all the questions! I am pumped to do my part to work with Spectruss, and I look forward to interacting with new customers and clients!