The Face Behind the Tech

Working with a web designer is like a meeting of creative minds. They listen to your ideas and then construct a beautiful site from your musings. There are numerous questions you would need to ask your potential designer ahead of giving them the project, but wouldn’t it be nice to dig a little deeper and find the human being behind the technical flair?

I’m delighted to take this opportunity to ask web designer and WordPress/SEO expert, Tracey Rickard a few questions about her passion for design, how she got into this industry, and what if feels like to work with her clients.

How did you get into web design?

My previous career was in Sales and Marketing with Vodafone Corporate. I began as a credit controller in 1988. After a successful six months where we cleared a lot of debt, my department was centralised, and I was to be made redundant. A suggestion followed that I could move into sales on a three month trial period. I wasn’t sure if I could do it, but the company car was certainly an incentive!

My role was to cold call, and tramp around industrial estates in the snow to generate sales (I generated sales of one/two phones, but my target was only 6 per month then). We were selling great big bricks with barely any network coverage for around £1000 a unit. Hard graft was what it took, and I won my first big contract with Warwickshire Police in 1989, they purchased 20 phones. Referrals then started to come from other police forces and councils. I won a holiday to Jamaica, and life was great! Over the years I worked my way up in Vodafone Corporate and went on a few more holidays. Seventeen years later I was working in the City of London, where I led a team to manage relationships with our biggest clients including Shell, Deloitte and KPMG. In 2005 I won ‘Deal of the Year’ for the mobile data project I did with Deloitte (worth £2.5m). This commercial experience, along with a lot of marketing experience is invaluable when planning and designing websites today.

I realised I was very interested in web design and the code behind websites when I worked on a joint intranet website project between Vodafone and Deloitte. The website would enable Deloitte employees to order equipment, raise tickets for issues and get answers to questions online. From there I went on an HTML course and never looked back!

What sites and blogs do you enjoy reading regularly?

I have to read a large amount of technical data and web industry magazines to keep up to date with what’s going on in my industry, so when it comes to reading for pleasure, I tend to prefer visual blogs such as photography sites. I’m drawn to ‘nice things’ and clean designs. I get a lot of inspiration from flowers and interior design sites such as Flower Designer, Jo Flowers, and interior designers Jessica Brook Designs and Carolyn Parker.

Tell us about a favourite project you’ve worked on.

I worked on a site many years ago that unfortunately is no longer active called Jumping Bunny. It was a ladies nightwear business, and the two lovely owners gave me free license to design the site as I wanted. The images were beautiful, and it was an absolute joy to work on the project.

Jumping Bunny Online Shop, WordPress eCommerce

Do you have a design heroine/hero? Who is it and why do you admire them?

David and Elizabeth Emanuel have created some fabulous pieces, and I also love Max Mara. I do hate Armani or anything like it, although I love Kurt Geiger shoes; even had a couple of pairs once!

My preference is for anything clean and beautiful. I guess if there were one brand that represented everything I love it would be The White Company.

There are a couple of web designers I admire such as Immersive-G in Paris and Cody Small in the US.

If you had a magic wand and could conjure the perfect job what would it be?

I would love to work on a restaurant or food site. That would be the ultimate project. Even better if it was for Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsey!

How do you tease the information you need out of your clients?

I use a detailed questionnaire to get the primary information from my clients. It makes my life easier to work with a structure. Using this process, I’m also able to read between the lines and discover what the client wants without them realising they want it. I’m like the Spice Girls’ ‘tell me what you want, what you really really want!’

What does it feel like to see such a positive reaction from your design clients when you reveal their site/project?

There’s nothing quite like it in the world! Seeing my clients’ reaction is the reason I do what I do. You can’t put a value on that.

How can we contact you for more information?

Website – Tracey Rickard Web Design
Blog – You’ll find a rich source of technical/blogging articles on Tracey’s blog.
Contact form – complete Tracey’s mini questionnaire to start discussing your project.

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