24/01/2010 - Blogger.Iconshock

Iconshock interview: Css mastermind and sushi addict Jina Bolton

Jina is a must reference for all of you working in web design  & development. Her opinions on CSS are one of the most respected in the designer community, being a frequent speaker in the web developer’s conference circuit and being a consultant for the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative. That is big stuff for a lady so cute my friends! The W3C as you might know, is nothing more than the World Wide Web consortium, the international organization that develops all web standards. So if this girl has something to say you better listen!
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Besides being the nicest genius around, Jina Bolton is a bachelor of Fine Arts in Computer Arts and Graphic Design from Memphis College of Art, a member of AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) and has published two co-authored books; “The Art & Science of CSS” and “Fancy Form Design” She currently works for Crush+Lovely, and previously worked for Apple as a visual interaction designer and front end web developer. You can check her out on her blog Sushi & Robots, to us, one of the best websites of 2009.  So here it is, sushi addict, robot sympathetic, and CSS fashionista Jina Bolton.

1. Who is Jina Bolton... or may I say, Miss Boltron :)?

Just a short, silly sushi-eating, robot-loving designer and social-networking junkie living in San Francisco.

2. As a child, who did you want to be when you grew up? Do you think you are getting close to that?

I don't really know that I had a particular role model when I was a child that I wanted to be. I did want to be an artist. So yeah, I suppose you could say I'm close to that, because web design to me is a form of art. And in undergrad college, I used to want to be like Zeldman. I don't think I'm close to that at all yet. :)

3. Three things you should include or change in CSS3

I don't know that I'd change anything that already exists, except that I find some of the pseudo selectors a little confusing to understand (syntactically), but I would love to add stuff. I wish there were ways to get detailed with typography without having to resort to spans in my markup (like designing ampersands, quotes to go outside of margins, kerning letter pairs, or substituting certain letter pairs with ligatures). But that's getting really nit-picky. :)

4. Top 3 improvements in CSS3

My favorites right now are: - Selectors - Backgrounds - Color

5. Is your personal site, "Sushi and Robots" self sustainable? Where does its revenue come from?

I never thought about that before, but I guess in a way it is. My hosting is generously sponsored by my favorite hosting company, (mt) Media Temple (I love those guys) and I get sponsorship from Fusion Ads (which I use to pay for the domain name registration and any other website-related costs that come up). This question just made me realize this, and I feel very blessed and grateful.
Jina Bolton speaking about CSS and what it should be. Besides being a frequent speaker in web developing conferences, she has wrote articles for sites like A List Apart, .net Magazine, SitePoint, and Vitamin.

6. In your opinion, which are the first three steps a web entrepreneur has to do to spread the word?

Hrm, that's kind of vague. Okay, here goes: Twitter twitter twitter. Oh, that doesn't count as three? Okay, I suppose two more would be to have a blog and/or a Facebook page. And the cheap-trick-but-it-works technique is to offer something free. Even if it's just a digital download (a free PDF?) or a beta testing preview account of some sort. Something that gets people to use your stuff (whatever that may be).

7. I understand you worked for Apple. What makes them different?

Um. They're Apple. ;) No, the thing I like best about Apple is the people that work there. I worked with some of the most talented, creative, and smartest people I had ever encountered when I was there. I learned so much from them. I don't necessarily mean that this makes them different from all other companies, but certainly amongst the companies I've worked with in the past. (And the people I work with now are really rad, too). ;)

8. You are a recognized speaker in the web developing conference circuit, and you travel quite a lot because of this. Do you have any special anecdote to share?

Well, I have to be honest, I'm not an expert on these things still. It's all still very new to me. I enjoy it, because I do like traveling, and I love to share things I've learned with other people. But I'm still learning myself along the way. I suppose if I had anything to share it would be to attend as many talks as possible. I pick up a lot from other talented speakers (not only in their content they are sharing but also in the way they are presenting). And practice as much as you can.

9. How useful can illustrations and icons be in web design? Can we do without them?

I think illustrations and icons are a fantastic way to make web design more interesting. We *could* do without them, but the web would be a really boring place.

10. Was it difficult to find a publisher for your first book? How can your books improve the day to day of a web designer?

Well, I got lucky. For my first book (The Art & Science of CSS), I was a coauthor of a book that had 4 other writers. And the book outline and everything had already been done by the publisher. They just needed a 5th coauthor, and I was asked to be that person. And since I already had that relationship established with them after that book, I was able to write for my second book (Fancy Form Design) — which was coauthored by Derek Featherstone and Tim Connell — with the same publisher. I think the books I helped write are a little different in that they aren't the type of books that try to explain every aspect of the subject from a beginner level — they're more "learn by example" style books. The Art & Science of CSS is sort of a cookbook in that it is filled with various examples and the "recipe" to create it (or code examples). Fancy Form Design takes you on a step-by-step process from start to finish of a form design process (planning, designing, structuring, styling, enhancing).
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11. Who took that photo of you featured in your profile at "An event apart"? You really look like a fashion model!  Sorry I had to ask...:)

That was taken in 2006 by my friend, Arick Elion. He's a fellow alum from Memphis College of Art, where I attended school. He was looking for some more models for his fashion photography portfolio, and I was lucky to have him make me look good. ;) Don’t forget to follow Jina on Twitter!

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4 Responses to “Iconshock interview: Css mastermind and sushi addict Jina Bolton”

  1. Does she have a boyfriend?

  2. SherwoodNo Gravatar
    January 27th

    LOL Matt, applying for the job huh? She is cute though, Sounds like a down to earth kinda girl. I wish her the best. :)

  3. Blogger.IconshockNo Gravatar
    January 27th

    @Matt I don’t know Matt. Sure bet she does.

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