Mark Bult Design: San Francisco, CA, Established 1988

Web design and development for small and large business, e-commerce, b2b, b2c, SAAS, and community websites. User experience design and usability testing.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

New job

Last week I officially started my new job as Senior Designer for CNET Networks' Community Group, which consists of Webshots.com and Consumating.com, plus some as-yet unannounced future properties still in development.

It's called the Community Group because the sites fall in the social media business space, which relies heavily on the engagement of its users. Webshots, where people share photos with friends and strangers alike, and Consumating.com, where people rate each other and flirt in the Interweb's relative anonymity, are prime examples of user-centered social networking sites. While newcomer Consumating (CNET bought it only last December and it's staff is a whopping two people!) sports the latest accouterments like tags, Webshots is notably losing ground to the scores of up-and-comers like Flickr, both in terms of its technology and its look and feel. They'd decided a while ago that they need to, among other things, redesign the site.

Which is why they hired a designer who follows the latest web technology trends, practices user-centered web design, and specializes in UI and redesigning websites.

I'm a little sad to leave Download.com, mostly because I worked with some really great people over the last year and-a-half. But with the onset of a recent internal reorganization that moved me out of Download.com and under CNET.com, I decided that the new situation just wasn't going to work for me. Too many meetings, a 30–40% productivity hit, and diametrically opposed work and management styles spelled disaster from the very start.

Luckily, I happened to pass Webshots boss-man Martin Green in the hall (Webshots and Download are both on the 6th floor of CNET Networks' headquarters) and he greeted me with "How are you?" to which I offhandedly replied, "To tell you the truth, I'm kinda pulling my hair out," and then I went merrily on my way to yet another futile meeting.

Apparently he took that to heart and asked my old boss what was up, and it turned out that the Webshots team had been looking for a designer like me to redesign the site. Actually, they'd been wishing they could get me to redesign the site, but company policy usually frowns on poaching employees from other business units.

I'll miss the folks at Download.com, and I'll miss being "a Downloader." There is a sort of prestige in being able to say you work for the world's biggest shareware site. I mean, almost everyone who's used a computer for any length of time has heard of Download.com or CNET. But lots of people have never heard of Webshots, even though it's probably the oldest photo sharing site, and is in fact the world's largest. Yup, way bigger than Flickr, although they have all the buzz-factor. Way bigger than Yahoo! Photos, way bigger than Shutterfly or any of those other print-your-photos companies. Webshots has been around for over ten years, and it pulls something like 22+ million unique users.

When I redesigned Download.com it was a little awe-inspiring to think that about 1.3 million people were going to see my work every single day. That's about how many unique visitors Download.com averages on a given day. But after a while I just kinda got used to it.

'Course, now I gotta do the same for Webshots.

It'll be fun.

PS> They gave me a promotion and another raise :D

3 Comments

Blogger mamakohl said...

Hooray! You are no dead shark, for certain.

Celebrate - have chocolate! Be sure to give cute redhead the lion's share of it, though. Bad juju to have more chocolate than a woman.

3/10/2006 06:05:00 AM

 
Anonymous Ben Brown said...

I can't wait for you to help us out on Consumating! Congrats!

3/14/2006 09:13:00 AM

 
Anonymous Stellah said...

Mark,

I'm so very happy to hear that. So utterly deserved, you do such beautiful work.

3/16/2006 01:58:00 AM

 

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