Please introduce yourself and where you work.
Matt Oxley is the Co-Founder and Director of the award-winning User Experience (UX) and digital agency DotLabel, based in Basingstoke Hampshire. Matt comes from a creative design background with a passion for user-centered digital experiences. In his career, Matt has held the role of Creative Director at agencies Intercea and NetSitePro providing expert advice to household brand names such as GlaxoSmithKline, Kelloggs, and McVities.
Celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2017, DotLabel’s prestigious client list includes Hendrick’s Gin, The Balvenie, Airbus, Anthony Nolan, Inmarsat, and SDL.
DotLabel is proud to have won industry awards from Wirehive, The Drum, and BIMA and has recently been recognized as one of the Top UX agencies and Top Digital Design agencies in the UK by Clutch, a B2B research, ratings, and reviews firm.
Which web services do you provide to your customers?
We provide User Experience research and design, Creative web design and web development services.
Our approach is to apply user experience principles and practices to inform decisions when creating digital experiences, rather than making assumptions or just starting with a ‘nice’ design.
We design and develop responsive websites, mobile apps, progressive web apps and bespoke web applications including portals and intranets.
How do you see the evolution of web development in the last 5 years?
We are finding that more clients are prioritizing mobile first design. Whilst as an industry we have been talking about it for years, we are now starting to see more and more businesses realizing that designing for mobile devices can’t be an afterthought.
Also, increasingly more marketers and business owners are seeing the tangible results achieved by investing in user experience research and insights. Keeping up with customers’ constantly evolving expectation is what will drive future success in web development.
Looking forward to the next 5 years, as new tech gets more sophisticated it will become more widely accepted by the masses. AR and VR, AI and machine learning offer some exciting opportunities in web development. The main challenge is how this tech can provide relevant, useful and enjoyable experiences. When, as designers and developers we achieve this, we’ll see tech becoming even more integral to our everyday lives.
Why do you think Wordpress dominates the market as of now?
As a free, simple to use and the flexible platform it is easy to see why it has been adopted as the platform of choice for many simple websites. However, the risk of security breaches and unsupported plug-ins means that it shouldn’t automatically be considered the right fit for every business.
Wordpress websites need to be supported to ensure they are secure. There are a number of different open source content management systems to choose from, and a business should look at the features and abilities of a platform before selecting one. For straightforward websites developments, we tend to use SilverStripe.
What is your take on the adoption of Drupal, considering it is a preferred choice for most enterprise industries?
Drupal is a solid CMS platform. It uses the open source PHP Symfony2 Framework which is our framework of choice for developing bespoke websites, intranets, portals and web applications. Flexibility is really important with a CMS and being open source, with no license fees and a large development community, is an obvious advantage.
What is your advice to people who are looking to take web development as a career?
Don’t limit yourself. Learn a wide variety of programming languages as well as the additional skills like version control systems and unit testing. You should be prepared to be continually learning and updating your skills.
Contribute to open source projects and create a portfolio of work. If you can do some freelance projects to build up your portfolio, this will help demonstrate your skills when job seeking.
Invest time in understanding different project management methodologies such as Agile and Kanban. Also, spend time getting involved in developer communities both online and offline, this can help you make connections and discover new opportunities.