## What do you do at The Designlab?
I am involved in a project right from the beginning. I take the time to really understand a client's needs and form that into a fully considered SOW. I am involved in the planning and search phase right through to the management and delivery of the final product.
When interacting with clients, I usually discuss something technical about their website. Often this can be pretty complex, but I try to explain things in a way they will understand while not being condescending.
If I need to explain something, I try to keep what I am saying as short as possible while giving enough detail to make sure they fully understand the issue and its surrounding implications.
## What are your past experiences?
20 years ago, I graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a 2.1 BA Hons in Communication Design. My degree, though focused on traditional design practices, leaned toward screen-based media such as video editing, animation, and web development.
Though I started my career as a designer/illustrator, I moved ever closer to being a developer. Now I focus mainly on frontend development.
Because I took that approach, I find myself straddling both sides of the designer/coder fence, which makes me sensitive to both points of view. This helps me to deliver substance and style together.
## What do you enjoy about working that you do?
I come from an art & design background, but I have always had a keen interest in science. So the work I do allows me to stay connected to those two sides of my personality.
Coding is generally thought to lean into the sciences more than the arts, but as a frontend developer, I get to work in both fields simultaneously, all the time.
I can indulge my creative side, being trusted to make decisions about design while I code, but I also get to design the architecture of the applications I develop.
That approach helps me to stay relevant while at the same time offering more value to the process, allowing me to be the bridge between two worlds.
I have been at The Designlab for over 15 years and have felt supported in my professional development. It is strange because although I have been at Designlab for so long, I have moved through various roles, so I don’t feel like I have been in the same job all that time. The Designlab is also a good personality fit for me, as a former class clown, though my colleagues would perhaps disagree!
My opinion always seems to count and often gets sought out, which is flattering. I must know something if people keep asking for my advice and guidance!
I have turned my hand to various things whenever the studio needed it, including video editing, illustration, design, and artworking in the early days. Throughout, though, I have always used my skill as a coder. For the last 8 years, I have focused on frontend development. It is an exciting time to be a frontend developer, especially now with all the doors that JamStack development opens. More time spent having fun and less time spent worrying about dev ops for servers and PHP-based projects.
## What is your background?
Are you sure you want me to open this particular can of worms? My life story coming up...
I am the son of an Iranian father and an English mother, and have spent time in both worlds. However, culturally I am British and was born here. My early childhood was spent between Iran and England before settling here as a family when I was 7. That was quite a shock going from running off into the desert and not appearing until dusk to being confined to the back garden or the strip of pavement outside our house in Portsmouth. I still have vivid memories of my life there, and on occasion, I still hanker for the bleak beauty of the desert that was the setting for many an adventure.
School was a challenge early on when I had so much catching up to do despite my parent's brilliant efforts to homeschool me in Iran. Fortunately, I had some exceptional teachers and teaching assistants along the way.
Before I worked at The Designlab I set up a design studio with a few of my friends after graduating. Great times, but I quickly realised that as enthusiastic as I might have been, running my own studio wasn’t for me.
From there, I was fortunate enough to work at the Paul Martin Design Company, which had links to Pentagram when I worked there. After that, I came to Designlab and the rest is history.
## What are the values that drive you?
In the end, I think my guiding principles are fairness and honesty. I have found that nothing good comes from half-truths and lies. Unfortunately, that can lead to clashes, but I believe it is better to tell a person what they need to hear and not what they want to hear. Whatever the initial pain that causes, this approach usually ends in a successful outcome.
One of the things I try to champion in my industry is accessibility and good UX. I believe that good UX practices automatically lead to good accessibility standards.
## Your top 3 favourite podcasts/books?
Podcast: The Infinite Monkey Cage
Books: Consider Phlebas (Iain M. Banks) & The Jungle Book (Joseph Rudyard Kipling)
## What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
Road cycling. Sampling the finest offerings from the many drinking establishments around the UK. Hiking. Rock pooling.