28 Aug 2014
Designer Spotlight - Jack Ewing and Seb Petravic
” First off we want everything we do to look good. But I guess the main purpose of the page is to visually explain what Glassjar does in a simple and effective way. “
Jack Ewing and Seb Petravic are the front-end-dev/design combo powering group finance startup Glassjar.
They’re using CloudCannon to pump out landing pages that delight customers and allow the whole team to contribute.
Continuing our look at designers doing cool work on CloudCannon, we caught up with Jack Ewing and Sebastian Petravic, the front end dev & designer combo from group finance startup Glassjar.
Seb Petravic (left) and Jack Ewing of Glassjar
Jack & Seb, last time we caught up Lightning Lab accelerator programme was wrapping up and you were both coming on board Glassjar fulltime. You were just starting to work on some landing page strategy. What’s the latest?
JE: Yea we’ve been working on a series of landing pages for some upcoming campaigns. The latest release is up now at Glassjar.co
What was the goal with this page? What sort of messaging is bringing people to this landing page?
JE: First off we want everything we do to look good. But I guess the main purpose of the page itself is to visually explain what Glassjar does in a simple and effective way.
SP: We try to target people that are having trouble with their apartment’s finances. So messaging like “let Glassjar sort out your apartment finances”, or “stay mates with your roommates” is directing people to the site.
And then want people to press the big blue ‘sign up’ button of course.
That coin loop is pretty striking. What’s going on there?
JE: It’s a cool wee web video. We decided to use HTML5 video rather than a GIF which allowed us to get the video mp4 down to less than 150kb. 69kb for the webM version. It’s so much smaller than a GIF for that critical page load speed. No point doing cool stuff if your site visitor won’t stick around to see it.
Did I see you guys working on a similar design with an infinitely pouring beer can at one point?
JE: Yeah we were. That was our first attempt at this sort of ‘small part of an image moving’ setup. The image wasn’t ours though so obviously there were a few attribution issues. We want to do one like that in the future.
Back to the landing page, who was responsible for the design?
JE: In the team we collaborate a lot, but we each have our own tasks. Seb’s mostly doing the design and layout. I’m responsible for implementing front end. Matt our CTO is flat out working on the backend of the App itself.
What was your favourite part of the build?
JE: Parallax scrolling and the simple looping background video. It seems simple but we worked pretty hard on it - the parallax is all homebrew as well as the video. We had to build it custom in order to make the site load as quickly as possible.
SP: Yea, definitely the parallax scrolling.
What was the most frustrating aspect of the build?
JE: Planning and executing the media queries for different devices and screen sizes. We chose not to use a framework here like bootstrap or foundation so that was definitely the most time consuming part of the site for sure. We’re quite glad how it turned out though.
SP: There are just so many possibilities when it comes to making a landing page. So I’d say narrowing down on what we think will work best; making people understand why this product is awesome. The new landing page is a large shift in terms of aesthetic, so we really hope it’s even more effective than the last landing page we had.
You’re working for a startup so there has to be some design consistency to company feel. How would you describe your own style?
JE: I’m not sure if I have a complete enough body of work to be able to say I have a definitive personal style. Given the restrictions of the medium and the intended audience the style kind of builds itself. A lot of work is quite homogenous across the web too, particularly with modern web sites so I don’t feel like I’m straying too far from current design trends. I guess my background in film influences me to play with video whenever possible though.
SP: Again I don’t have a large body of work either but I feel my main style currently is; modern, minimalist, flat colours, large images, thin lines and keeping variety of colour minimal, but awesome. I’m trying where I can to have something a little bit unique.
Where are you guys finding your influences?
JE: I studied Art History and film at university so I guess that may have some bearing on what I’m doing now but my biggest influence has to be the web. Working for a digital company we are cruising the internet every day. You gradually accumulate a stylistic vocabulary without even trying to.
SP: I studied Media Design at Victoria University which introduced me to a bunch of different kinds of digital design. I also got to experiment with my style and learn some basics of design there. When I think of inspiration sources day to day though I think get really inspired by a lot of designers on websites that show case websites such as Behance and Dribble.
JE: Strangely enough there is also a lot of gold to be found on reddit as well. I’m on there every day.
How long have you considered yourselves designers now?
JE: A year, although I should say 4. But I feel like I’ve only really been doing it solid for one.
SP: 4 years.
And how did you get into Web Design itself?
JE: I just gravitated toward the internet. I studied for a year at a digital academy in Wellington after Uni though a lot of what I know has been self taught. There’s just so much information of the internet.
SP: I’ve always been in to art and visual design. I went to Uni not knowing what area of design I wanted to work in but I knew that design was a passion of mine. At uni I did a couple of papers on designing and making apps and websites and got in to it at that point.
Awesome. How did you both come to be on team Glassjar then?
JE: Heard about the opportunity to intern with the team through school. Decided to give it a go since I didn’t have a lot else on at the time.
SP: I didn’t know anyone on the team to begin with. University grapevine hooked me up. But It’s worked out extremely well. I get paid to do what I love now! And the culture fit is awesome.
Where do you work from currently?
JE: Currently based at Biz Dojo Wellington. I like it. There’s a bunch of other cool people working on wicked stuff. Can’t go past free coffee.
What do your upcoming projects look like?
JE: All Glassjar. We’ve got a lot of content, landing pages and some interface work for the foreseeable future. We are heading into a huge marketing push.
SP: We’re all pretty focused on how our product will change for the U.S market. So figuring out exactly what we want to do with that, making different landing pages for the U.S to see how people respond to our idea. But yeah, I’ll be doing a lot of UI/UX design for our new product.
How are you using CloudCannon at the moment?
JE: I have all the site files saved locally on my laptop in my CloudCannon Dropbox folder. With the constant sync between Dropbox and the live site any saves turn up nearly instantly. It’s really handy just sharing a link without having to faff around with a server or any traditional hosting.
SP: We are using CloudCannon to get prototypes out really quickly. Our CEO can also play with copy really easily using the online visual editor since he doesn’t have to get into the backend. That ability saves us a lot of back and forth.