The Macromedia interview

Last August, I praised Macromedia for its release of Dreamweaver MX 2004 with its broad advances in support for CSS and accessibility. When I want to use a visual editor to crank out a quick HTML comp, sometimes I’ll use Dreamweaver. But for those of you who know me and my working style, you may know I usually prefer to hand-code over using visual editors. That’s just me, and my insane desire to type one character at a time. While I didn’t spend as much time in Dreamweaver during the Wired News redesign, you can bet that its powerful text-editing companion HomeSite saw hours and hours of use once I had a design finalized. (Since it only exists for Windows, HomeSite is the one and only thing I miss now that I’ve switched back to Mac.)

One of the major players in the Wired News redesign was Aaron Jones, the Senior Engineer with whom I collaborated to make the redesign a reality. A few weeks ago, Macromedia requested an interview with both of us to discuss the Wired News redesign and our highly publicized leap into the world of CSS. Knowing the strong efforts Macromedia has been making with Dreamweaver’s support for CSS, we graciously agreed. One Thursday afternoon, I met Aaron and the Macromedia team at the Wired office, where a crew set up lots of lights, cameras, and microphones, took over an hour of audio, condensed it down into a concise three-minute micro-interview, and laid down the audio track into a Flash file, matching it with video stills, screenshots, code snippets, and supporting imagery.

Video still of Douglas and Aaron captured during the interview

They posted the result as a special feature, CSS and, in the Dreamweaver section at This interview fits into a broader campaign promoting Dreamweaver and its CSS support. About half of the current page views of the Macromedia home page feature a prominent flash file promoting the special feature. In conjunction with the audio interview — and on the same page — Macromedia also published a set of tips I wrote for them related to design and CSS, and the relationship between the two.

As a side note, we had originally scheduled interview a week before it was actually conducted. I had come down with a bad cold, and felt miserable that day, so we postponed until the following week. I thought most of the cold was gone by the time the second scheduled date came around. But sure enough, within about 10 minutes of the interview, I lost my voice, and starting coughing like crazy. Since I was wired up with a mic, someone else ran to get water, tea, and any available cough and throat drops. Thanks to someone who found a bag of Ricola, I was able to scrape by for the rest of the interview. I’m glad Aaron was there to handle half of the discussion. It’s amazing Macromedia actually had enough material to use after stripping out all my raspy attempts at answering their questions, even for a three-minute audio file.