We’re delighted to welcome Anthony Olsen from JoomlaBamboo.com to the interview hot seat.
Although it may not look like it, Joomla is a only one of the strings to Anthony’s bow, as he told us last week….
1) Could you tell us a little about yourself? How did you come to Joomla? What’s your background?
I have a fairly mixed background actually – with a few different areas of interest. My main focus (read day job – although web design is fast becoming my other day job!) is in alternative medicine specifically Chinese Medicine and Feng Shui (Ive been an Acupuncturist for three years and Feng Shui practitioner for ten). But the creative side of my life has always been in making music and soundtracks for theatre and some tv.
Its only recently that I’ve switched from my ears to my eyes to do my creative work. My music has always been pretty minimal and I guess that Ive tried to recreate that aesthetic in my web design. A few years ago I started making the web sites for the theatre productions I was involved with – at that stage using Photoshop, Quark Xpress and Fireworks and getting a bit of a buzz out of it so I kept going. The sites were pretty reliant on images and mostly used slicing and dicing and sticking them in tables – pretty ugly as a process really.
It wasn’t until I joined a server which had fantastico and Joomla installed that came I across the concept of CMS. I’d heard of it but had no real idea about its benefit or simplicity. I tried a few of the scripts on the server and decided I like the way Joomla felt and especially liked the number of extensions available – its pretty mind blowing. So my first few sites were based on the project I had already had going. As I mentioned, I have a focus on alternative medicine and as a sideline I have a range of audio CDs and software for students that focus on learning technical information.
The product range is called Creative Memory Tools and Joomla really gave me a fresh more professional outlook for the site – streaming audio, download section, online shop etc. I was really blown away by how easy it was to control my content and so I started to adopt Joomla for a few other previously non-web based products. The culmination of this I guess is the Chinese Herbal Desktop Reference; a Chinese herbal formula keyword search. Its pretty simple really but it can really help when your dispensing herbs and trying to cross reference about 100 different formulas.
2) You have a very minimalist design aesthetic. Could you describe your thinking about web design in general? Why do you concentrate so much on uncluttered designs?
Im really inspired by the concept of web 2.0. I think as an aesthetic it just really makes sense – considering the internet can be an overstimulating medium at times. As soon as you visit a site that has some good design elements it changes the way that you read the text and therefore interact with the site. There’s nothing worse than squinting at the screen and trying to find a particular part of text that you’ve searched for, or if you look away from the screen finding it impossible to see where you had just been reading a moment ago. So the Joomla Bamboo range are really trying to nut out providing depth to a site but maintaining its simplicity. I think there is a constant challenge to make something feature rich but still accessible.
3) Do you have any new projects or plans in 2007 we should be looking out for?
This year Joomla Bamboo will continue to expand and add templates to the catalogue, but we also hope to add some more modules and little tweaks to help with the micro aspect of site design and maintenance. This includes our first module hack called "Thin Log in". Its a really simple mod of the core Joomla log in module that reduces it to two boxes and one submit button. The login shouldn’t really take up too much space and so I created this module that has a very small footprint.
There are also plans to:
- stock the download section with lots of SIFR (font replacement) files for download to use with the SIFR bot.
- Add to the Web Elements library with some buttons and textures.
- Continue creating packages for Bamboo Loaded – pre-configured packages for Joomla that just take 5 minutes (or less) to install.
- Build on the tutorial section with some screen casts and tutorials for new users.