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Bruce Sigrist, The Handyman Behind Phase Three Goods Web Design
I describe my business, Phase Three Goods, as web carpentry: the willing glue between traders, designers and online jargon. My onus is on websites, around which I provide other work in a way that is both tidy and comfortable for the clients.
These past few months, I have overseen a range of ventures, giving them an online hand as I learn the ropes to running my own business. I now design and develop full-time, mostly for those who feel a little out of their depth with industry trends.
It is they, I find, who are most appreciative of the work.
My own story is this: I built my first website, at age fourteen, from the hefty book ‘Learn HTML in 24 Hours’. Like many of my chums, I wanted to show off skateboard videos which, with any luck, will never again see the light of day. It seemed a fun and trivial thing to do; the mindset behind coding was very much like that of playing video games (another of my teenage pursuits). You hacked, you slashed and you tapped until, once executed correctly, a reward popped up and you proceeded to the next stage. Websites, video editing, blogging, graphic design, animation – the learning grew arms and legs, and seemed especially addictive in my formative years.
Back then of course, web design was undergoing its own state of puberty; fonts were shy to reveal themselves, CSS didn’t know where to sit and animated GIFs were far flashier, peacocking visitors with their sparkles and infuriating frame rates. If I recall, my own website boasted a pre-loaded ska soundtrack, rotating chrome skulls and the ubiquitous ‘Chiller’ font – see every village hall at Halloween for reference.
Suffice to say things have improved since then.
2004 was also the golden age for the one-size-fits-all, desktop layout. A decade later, I still find myself explaining the value of the not-so-new ‘responsive’ phenomenon to clients. It is one of the many things we designers take for granted, and must encourage on those unfamiliar with modern trends.
So here we are, ten years on, both myself and the industry marginally older. Having graduated from UEA and committed to a happy life in Norwich, I have formed my skills into a cohesive whole; the go-to-guy to those starting their online image. What’s especially important – and what I hope to focus on in these articles – is making these kinds of services approachable. The resources exist for businesses to manage their online presence, and yet many feel that getting a website is something to ‘tick off the list’, hand over to a designer and then forget about, thinking that all is well and visitors will flock to them.
I hope to remedy this with my work, and through small acts of encouragement, slightly blur the gap between the client and the web-savvy.