Hi Jason, please introduce yourself.
Most people call me Mayo and I’m Co-Founder and Developer at Shape. A keen cyclist, loves beats (especially on vinyl) and has a shameful obsession with millionaire shortbread.
Has your job role at Shape changed over the years?
When Shape first started and the team was smaller, we all had to juggle multiple roles. I studied Graphic Design so naturally my role was Designer / Developer. Over the years I broke away from my design role (even though I still do a few design projects) and took the lead on the developers we employed.
You teach Web Development at Salford University, tell us more…
A few years after graduating, I got asked to help out on the web module at Salford University. It was a good challenge yet nerve racking because I had never taught in front of a large group of people before. The students are on a graphic design course, so teaching coding is quite difficult but its great trying to help them solve problems with their websites whether this is usability or code. As well as seeing them build websites from scratch, when most of them believe they can’t.
What’s the best thing about Shape?
We’re Northern & the studio is relaxed but productive. Our clients compliment how approachable we are when they started their projects, or if they need to update parts of their project.
What activities do you do outside of the studio?
I believe it’s important to keep your mind fresh, or you will slowly burn yourself out. So I love stepping away from the computer and going for long, hilly cycle rides in the country and try to do this 3 times a week. When I’m not in the saddle, I’m usually reading or working on fun personal projects.
What’s your favourite project?
Hands down... Blackberry - A Calendar of Tales. This was a project to promote the new BlackBerry Z10 handset and was a collaboration between BlackBerry and Neil Gaiman. It pushed the boundaries using parallax movement, HTML5 video / audio and canvas animations. Even though the projects put me through hell, working 16 hour days for weeks on end. It was by far the most enjoyable and rewarding project.
Why should potential clients choose to go with Shape?
We can do everything! (Well, nearly everything – we’re all pretty terrible at putting together Ikea DIY furniture). We really do like a challenge, it pushes us to learn more and produce amazing work. We rarely turn down any projects because they seem complicated or it’s something we’ve not done before. For us, these are the best kinds of jobs and why most people have successful websites from us.
What ONE useful tip would you give to start up businesses?
Don’t rush – don’t try to include all your features or ideas at once – do it in stages. Focus on the main elements of project and work to finesse them. This not only generates interest as the project grows and you add more and more features, but it also means you can go live sooner.
What project would you like to work on in the next 12 months?
We all try to add a bit of animation to our projects because we love experimenting. But having a solo project that relies heavily on animation would be awesome. Combining this with a main service such as an eCommerce platform, and ensuring the website looks great, but is still user friendly, would be a great challenge.