where the writers are
An Interview w/Whitney Childers, Glee Media

Readers:

Allow me to introduce Whitney Childers, the woman developing the Mice Don't Taste Like Chicken website and the one you'll all send fan mail to when you see how incredible the site is!  I asked Whitney to share her experiences with web development and she obliged.  Enjoy!

Tell us about Glee Media.

I started my own one-woman company this year after the demise of a magazine I worked for as an associate editor in Salt Lake City. I do everything from editing, writing, web design, photography, PR/communications work, writing coaching, etc. My goal is to specialize in working with nonprofits, artists, authors, small/local businesses and people like me who don’t have an infinite budget, but need to share their message.

How many years have you developed websites, and what inspired you to begin devoting yourself to the craft?

While working as an editor, part of my job over the years was to integrate the web with content generated by our newspaper. I started out updating web sites and then taught myself how to do them from the ground up — so doing this full time is relatively new. My strength is design and helping clients present a clear message in an accessible form. I wouldn’t ever term myself a “developer.” That stuff is for the real techno geniuses. I continue to learn new things every day and when I don’t know how to do something, I seek out the answer.

What is your process for developing a vision of what a website will look like?

Sitting down at the computer and staring! And, of course, the most important part of the vision is talking with the client, understanding what their vision is, and finding a way to meet those needs and make it look great. I constantly look at other sites, design, and art books to generate ideas. I tend to stay up late and the best ideas always come at about midnight.

What are some websites you admire and use as models?  Why?

I admire different sites for different reasons. I love the NY Times because I don’t have to pay for stories, for example. I also regularly visit coolhomepages.com. It’s a great resource to see what other designers are coming up with – from edgy to sweet.

Tell us about your favorite project you designed.

Of course it’s always the one I’m currently working on! I love working on my site – which is ironic because it isn’t live yet because I’m so busy with other work.

What are some highlights of working on the Mice Don’t Taste Like Chicken project?

The fact that animals, particularly reptiles, are so integrated in the story and design is what’s most interesting to me. I’ve spent hours looking at snake, gecko, turtle, and toad photos to find the right fit. Toads do creep me out a bit, but I’m coming around… Plus, it’s way more fun and fulfilling to work on a project that promotes good writing and creativity — especially for kids. 

When you’re not creating incredible websites, how do you spend your free time?

Incredible? I need to hire you as my publicist! Ok, well I have a spunky 2 year-old son, a great husband, and dedicated dog. We spend a lot of time in the mountains hiking, biking, camping, and skiing.

Any advice for readers interested in web development?

• Start simple.

• Prepare to always be learning — you never know everything.

• Listen to your clients.

• It always takes longer to do a project than you think it will.

If you have any questions, Whitney is happy to answer them.  Feel free to e mail her at wchildersmedia@gmail.com  Look for www.micedonttastelikechicken.com, going live in August/September 2009.

~Scott

"Live, Learn, Teach"

www.scotthbooks.com