Portfolios and Job Searching: Interview with a game interface designer

Conducted January 2, 2007, with
Karisma Williams
User Interface Producer
High Voltage Software

Rowe: The list of job-search “dos” and “don’ts” you gave were very good and covered a lot of important areas. I would like to get more specific about some of your ideas for on-line portfolios

Karisma: Awesome!

Rowe: Judging from your own web sites, you seem to feel that having the work presented right from the start with out a lot of fuss is a good idea.

Karisma: Yes. people are busy—very busy—so they just want to see your work. I recently picked up a contract with EA Games from my web site, and its not even done. But it served its purpose.

Rowe: You seem to prefer working in flash, which gives a richly interactive experience, I guess that works well for your target audience. Did they give you any feedback as to what on your site they responded to?

Karisma: Well the current new site, is all Javascript. no flash. it just moves like Flash. I’m pretty anti flash when it comes to portfolios at this stage. Before…it was great for getting work. Sony just liked my sense of design. My Flash use was interesting but not overly intrusive. As time went on I was using flash, but everything was very much done using external files. (http://www.matimeo.com/indexv5.php ) This got me 2nd place at Sony Online…I was so close to that job but happy I didn’t get it.

Rowe: Nice music on that site, but I did get tired of hearing it after a while. I guess, back to your advice about not letting the branding overpower the content

Karisma: Sony loved it. Always know your audience. Lots of little stuff going on in that one, but too much really, IMO more of experimentation. Nintendo liked this one –
This was never finished…I was working on it before I got laid off, but then I just sent it to companies anyway. I got a lot of interest from it.

Rowe: All the links from that site are your work as well?

Karisma: Yup! I’m prolific…an art director once told me. At the moment, I’m (working full time), in school, and working on a photographer’s website.

Rowe: “Prolific” is how I remember you being as a student. That is why we never hassled you too much. I really can’t understand students who think doing just one of something qualifies them as an expert.

So do feel you can do just about everything with Javascript that you can with Flash, and it is a better (more accessible) platform?

Karisma: Pretty close, javascript and css. I once saw a site that animated like in Flash and it was all done with css and javascript. I think it’s more accessible and quicker. I think Flash is easy to misuse. You can have flash portfolio pieces…but I don’t think your main portfolio needs to be flash unless you want to say that’s all you do. People forget about HR (the Human Resources department) HR doesn’t have Flash 9 on their system.

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