Ken Hawkins, Web Designer
The modern Web stack from server to front end is my friend, but my real love is in using that toolset to create contextually appropriate web presences for all manner of devices, be they experience-exposing event sites, product-driven e-commerce sites, or taxonomy-minded publications."Ken Hawkins, EMBL-EBI Web Designer
Q&A with Ken Hawkins
Q: How long have you been working here?
A: Just more than a year. 14 months, actually.
Q: What does your job entail?
A: Design. But not in the “make it pretty” sense. Rather, I help content creators, developers, and scientists understand what their information is trying to do and then work with them to understand the role of the information. An architected design emerges as an end product.
Q: What was your background before you arrived at EMBL-EBI?
A: Information graphics for newspapers and publishing with a meta-data driven content lifecycle.
Q: What attracted you to the job?
A: I hoped that an organisation driven by biological data would also be receptive to driving their design approaches with data and testing hypothesis. So far, so good.
Q: What do you like about working here?
A: There’s a lot of opportunity to design for the need of content and users, and to use web tools to understand how users engage with content. Mobile devices, headless Drupal, analytics, offline caching, adaptive content: there are a lot of opportunities to make things better.
Q: What challenges do you face in your work?
A: As ever, understanding content, its goals, and the business processes is complex. Luckily, EMBL-EBI sees the worth of harnessing the problem.
Q: What advice would you give someone who was applying for a similar job?
A: Focus on not how things are, but understanding why things are being done. A half correct answer is worth more than a great answer to the wrong question.