Cody Landefeld Interview
Cody Landefeld is a user experience designer whose love of drawing led him into designing for the screen. He counts the Phoenix Suns Basketball Team’s site among his favorite projects. He gives back to the WordPress community by sharing his knowledge at WordCamps.
Tell us the story of how you fell in love with the web.
I’ve always been an artist. From age six I used to draw like crazy and did so through high school. I rediscovered my passion for art when I started going to school for IT in 2000. While waiting for classes to begin I would dabble in Photoshop and began making my first website. It was an indie rock blog that featured a lot of cool bands and in turn some of those bands would come around asking for websites and design. So that site landed me some of my first website projects. I was able to parlay that into a part-time web gig for some other record labels.
I began to fall in love about three years later when I started to delve deeper into user experience design. I started building more interactive things for the web for clients. It allowed me to figure out what I was best at and I began learning all I could to make better websites and interactive projects.
How did you get started working in WordPress?
I started codyL in 2004. I added to my resources and worked on more projects. WordPress became a necessity, because at the time, we were building custom CMSs and scaling them to each website. It was super tedious and our client budgets were very low at the time. We initially began using WordPress as a blogging platform in 2005. When we saw we could use it as a full-fledged CMS, we quickly made the switch and haven’t looked back!
Tell us a bit about your areas of WordPress expertise: what are you best at? What do you enjoy most?
I’m a user experience designer. I function best in that role whether I’m actually in the design chair or consulting on UX for companies. Our shop does WordPress custom theme development very well. We also really like to build platforms using WordPress. We’ve found it extremely refreshing to focus on WordPress exclusively because it’s helped us maintain a level of expertise and quality that some other shops who are software agnostic can’t provide.
You’ve spoken at several WordCamps on theming and design. Public speaking is a daunting thought for some. What advice can you offer to up and coming speakers?
I would say that it’s important for the community that you share your knowledge. Everyone comes to a WordCamp to learn more about their craft and be inspired to grow. No one truly has everything figured out. So perhaps you may share some things other folks are already familiar with, though there is a great chance of you adding value to other folks in the community and that’s part of what makes WordCamps so great.
Tell me about a favorite project? What about the project made it a favorite and what did you learn from working on it?
My favorite project was more of a passion project. We recently did the WordPress site for the Phoenix Suns. Being a lifelong fan this was like a dream come true. It’s like, choose your fantasy client and BOOM there it is!
We learned a lot from going through the process: mainly things that would help us serve other large organizations. Setting the expectations for all project phases, configuring the proper staging server, and making specific recommendations for website hosting.
There was an assumption these things were well in practice for them but we found that we were able to bring these practices in as a benefit to their company.