When Rob Haskin and Tom Keekley decided to form Olive & Company, the first item on their to-do list was to bring someone on board whose interactive development expertise could support and build upon their creative vision. Fortunately, they already knew exactly who they wanted – long-time collaborator, Peter Robelia – and it wasn’t long before Peter joined them in the original Olive HQ in Northeast Minneapolis.
Ten years later, much has changed in the world of interactive projects, but Peter’s love of a well-made website has never wavered. As Interactive Director, Peter manages the development of all interactive projects that pass through Olive & Company. This includes everything from initial planning, through advising on how design will interact with and affect development, to the coding of a site, down to hosting setup and transitioning a site into a live environment. Occasionally, he may even flex his creative muscles with concept brainstorming or copy writing.
We spoke with Peter about Olive’s early days, the changing interactive project landscape, and spacer GIFs.
I worked for various marketing and design firms as a hybrid designer/developer. I even spent a few years working for the Haskin Design Group — a not-so-distant ancestor of Olive & Company.
Having known Rob and Tom for quite a few years, and having worked for Rob previously, I spent all of 3 seconds deciding to accept the offer. I knew that the company would have a passion for design, a commitment to doing great work, and promote a work environment that was as fun and unusual as it was talented and productive. Plus, they let me have the desk by the window, so I was sold.
I was working on the B.T. McElrath Chocolatier website and shopping cart before I even walked through the door. They were my first client and are still one of my favorites. If you haven’t tried it yet, the Salty Dog chocolate bar is not to be missed!
I was pretty sure that we had the potential to grow, but I figured if we couldn’t fill the space there was just more room for Galaxian video games and air hockey tables. Sadly, we grew too fast for any arcade dreams to come true.
I think the proliferation of mobile devices, and the responsive design revolution that followed, has had the greatest impact on the way I view websites and interactive projects. It’s was like adding a 3rd dimension to web design. That, coupled with the fading of Flash and the loosening of the IE6 death grip over the last few years, has really altered the entire field. I welcome these changes with open arms! I’ve never been more excited about web design, and its potential, than I am right now.
I think my biggest challenge comes with anticipating the unforeseen parts of a project. There are always unexpected challenges that can pop up, adding complexity to what appeared to be a straightforward project. Luckily, with time, I’ve come to anticipate a lot of these challenges and can plan for them from the start, instead of dealing with them mid-project. I like to think of it as ESPP — Extra Sensory Project Perception.
Bootstrap, but only because of its native IE8 support. With 10% market share, IE8 is still alive and kicking, so we can’t quite abandon it yet.
I can’t pick one, but the other day I heard myself saying, “I’m base-64 encoding those SVGs and using a Sass mixin during preprocessing to ensure PNG fallback,” and I thought it sounded pretty cool. Others may argue how appropriate it is to associate the word “cool” with sentences like that.
I love spacer GIFs and will always keep one in my back pocket just in case of a web apocalypse.
I’d have to recommended WordPress for 99% of the U.N. — just don’t let them turn on the commenting functionality or your dreams of world peace are shot.
No, I feel bad for the people who have to use it.
Hmmmm…tough one. I’ve probably gotten the most real world mileage out of The Shipping News by Annie Proulx, but if I was going into space I’d probably want something I haven’t read. How about Moby Dick…I’ve never been able to get through it on earth, so maybe space is the place.