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Jan-Paul Koudstaal: “I cannot imagine a world without websites”

Rotterdam, September 17, 2015

Mangrove is a digital agency with a strong focus on user experience.  Jan-Paul Koudstaal, a senior designer, has talked with TIA about his ways of getting inspiration, future perspectives and his preferences in web design and digital marketing.

What do you do for inspiration?

Most of the time I get inspired by stepping away from my screen. By riding my bike to work, going on a trip or even walking to the coffee machine I can think more clearly about the goals I’m trying to reach with a design. I also try to broaden my horizons by reading magazines like Offscreen or The Great Discontent. Another thing that helps me get inspired is talking to colleagues and asking for feedback. I think that’s essential to achieve the quality of work we do at Mangrove.

Jan-Paul-Koudstall-sitioLooking 5 years in to the future, how far can websites go?

I’m not sure how big the role of websites will be, but I cannot imagine a world without. I hope that designers and developers will continue to push the boundaries of what is possible. And from an aesthetic point-of-view I hope that websites will look and feel more original than they do now. The last few years a lot of work has been done to make the web accessible and that’s a really good development. Now is the time to make it awesome!

Which country excites you the most in terms of innovation?

If I would have to choose a country it would be the United States and that’s because most of the innovations I see or read about are built in the US. Or they start somewhere else in the world and when they’re successful they open an office in New York or Silicon Valley. But I think that today – in a lot of ways thanks to the internet – it doesn’t matter what country you’re in to be innovative. What I’m really excited about is the work of Daan Roosegaarde, from The Netherlands. His work is truly innovative and I love the way he combines technology with art and the environment.

Please list 3 of your favourite sites.

I really like a lot of stuff Google has been doing lately like the website for Inbox by Gmail or Google Photos. The work Google does is almost making me consider an Android-phone. Almost. I check Designspiration nearly every day, because it’s full of lovely images. I check out Medium for a lot of articles and I think their design and CMS is top notch.

What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?

The very first site I designed and built was the one for my basketball club. It think I was using Microsoft Frontpage for it and it had spiffy 3d animated @ gifs, obviously. I’m very glad it is no longer online.