Meet the Guest

Josh Jacobs

Josh Jacobs

Senior UX designer at MURAL

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I'll pack a bag

[00:00:00] Jonathan: Hey, welcome to the Web flowers podcast this week. I'm talking with Josh Jacobs a senior UX designer at Mural. Mural is in the remote work facilitation space. Josh works on their websites during the day and makes fun cloneables by night.

[00:00:23] Jonathan: Hey, Josh and welcome to Webflowers.

[00:00:26] Josh: Hey, nice to be here. And thanks for.

[00:00:28] Jonathan: Absolute pleasure. Absolute pleasure. What's your favorite flower?

[00:00:32] Josh: Well, this is a, a really good question. You know, I'd have to say the blue orchid, my favorite flower for no other reason than the the white Stripe song, you know? You know that's how that song goes.

[00:00:45] Jonathan: well, hang on, hang on. Cause a blue orchid. A blue orchid seems like a very nice, delicate, beautiful thing. And I thought, well, you are a nice, delicate, beautiful thing.

[00:00:54] Josh: Oh,

[00:00:56] Jonathan: I just hang on a minute. Cause the white stripes that, that, that doesn't sound too. I don't know. The White Stripes that, well I don't know the blue orchid song, but it doesn't sound like White Stripes are going to be doing a beautiful, delicate version of a song ever.

[00:01:10] Jonathan: So yeah. What, what w any idea what the song was about? I know that's sometimes a

[00:01:15] Josh: I haven't thought too deeply about it. You know, it they're, they're all rather their music is a little bit more, I don't know, grungy ish.

[00:01:27] Jonathan: about the feeling.

[00:01:27] Josh: Something about, I mean, if you think about the lyrics, you you got a reaction didn't you, you got a white orchid. Turned it blue. I think maybe it's more something about, oh, you had something pristine and you've, you've changed it or you know, made it your own.

[00:01:43] Josh: I'll go ahead and say that I chose my flower, like on purpose for that very reason. But it's just a difficult question. You know, so many flowers, too many options.

[00:01:54] Jonathan: I well, let's, let's get, let's get onto, onto something a little bit easier then. Mural, what, what, what's your job there? What do you do? And what's he got to do with.

[00:02:03] Josh: Yeah. So I think you mentioned earlier, I'm a senior UX designer. I work on the web team at Mural. And I am part I'm one cog in the machine of the web flow of organization. So I'm specifically working on the marketing sites. Getting the word out, speaking to the product its features you know, getting new users, helping existing users to learn more about the platform.

[00:02:31] Josh: And so junior UX designer does a pretty, some typical UX things and some typ atypical UX things. You know, there's a lot of research design

[00:02:43] Jonathan: Okay. So, I mean, a lot, a lot of weapons. Sort of work, but by themselves on their own do their own thing. So the idea of working in a team and even the word UX, what does UX mean?

[00:02:56] Josh: Yeah. So, you know, UX stands for user experience, specifically user experience design and user experience. Design encompasses a number of classic activities. Traditionally a very research-based obviously there's a visual piece to it as well, but it's very purposeful. It's very considerate. We do testing and defining a lot of problems before approaching solutions to those problems.

[00:03:27] Josh: Yeah. Does that answer your.

[00:03:28] Jonathan: Okay. Yeah. Okay. So, I mean, so how do you find your problem?

[00:03:35] Josh: sure. Well, fortunately I'm not the only person on the team. We have a tremendous organization in our marketing org and there are a lot of things. The stakeholders whose role it is, is to identify holes in our marketing opportunities. You know, places where we can improve from both a visual perspective, a content perspective, as well as a, you know, a performance perspective, you know, speaking to the actual website itself.

[00:04:05] Josh: So we work in tandem with those stakeholders to identify. Where the opportunities are. And then we use the traditional UX methods of research and define to explore how we'll solve for them.

[00:04:17] Jonathan: Okay. So where, what mural using Webflow before you arrived? Or was that something that you brought.

[00:04:24] Josh: yeah, they're they were using Webflow before we are, or I arrived. And as actually the team has grown exponentially this last year. But prior to you know, me joining the team, there were two people working in Webflow. But that had only been a recent development. It's really, there was one, you know, one main guy pablo was the, the, the web flow guy. And you know he was doing all the work on this, you know, 70 plus static page web flow site. And so now we've got something like six designers, six different people working directly in web flow, which is maybe it's five. I lose count these days.

[00:05:04] Jonathan: Yeah, yeah, yeah. When you, when you say working directly in web. Do you mean that they, they sort of take the ideas and just jump into it to Webflow? Or are they going from, from pre designs or

[00:05:17] Josh: so there are,

[00:05:18] Jonathan: of.

[00:05:19] Josh: it's a mix of both. And in fact, The better answer to your question is specific to the roles that each of these people have. So got designers, of course, like myself. We've also got some QA people who might work right in Buffalo to fix content type mistakes. But we've also got, you know, You know, dev developer resources and then working on more of the custom solutions, Tookie policies and tracking type of, you know, that deeply coding specific work.

[00:05:54] Jonathan: right? Yeah. Yeah. Tracking is something that I, I really have no idea how all of that works. But except as a, as a European, I know I should be allowed to just press the reject all button and I rarely can.

[00:06:08] Josh: Yeah, it's not

[00:06:09] Jonathan: But yeah, no, it's, it's not you, you people make it hard for us.

[00:06:14] Josh: Thank

[00:06:14] Jonathan: yeah. That's all right. That's all right. Okay. So Why do you know what the history of, why did they pick Webflow in the first place? Because it, if it was before your time, how long have you been there?

[00:06:26] Josh: since since April, less than a year, you know?

[00:06:29] Jonathan: Oh, really? I thought, I thought you picked that for awhile. Okay.

[00:06:33] Josh: it feels like a while, but in a good way, of course,

[00:06:36] Jonathan: bet. Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

[00:06:38] Josh: to answer your question, I think they selected Webflow for the same reasons. A lot of different organizations, enterprise, or otherwise select Webflow, which is that there's that speed to market ability that web flow gives you where you can press a button and make change which might not be so simple for other organizations.

[00:06:57] Josh: And, you know, to be fair up until a year or two ago, Mural was really in startup mode smaller company scrappy, but it's gotten, it's gotten much bigger. Yeah. Year or two, obviously the pandemic has created a lot of demand for remote work facilitation, which has been great for

[00:07:15] Jonathan: Yeah. So you said, you said earlier that that 70 pages is that, is that what you've still got or have you gone over the, the magic 100 that my

[00:07:24] Josh: Well, you know, I think in the main project, we've definitely gotten more than that. That was just a, you know, a spitball estimate. Obviously we have thousands of collection pages as well. And we're actively working on. A a, a proxy solution to simplify our workflow. And I don't want to get too deep into that because it's very technical and I don't know a lot about it, but essentially we're going to have more than a hundred pages.

[00:07:53] Josh: We need to have the ability to have multiple people working at the same time. And so you know, just got to.

[00:08:00] Jonathan: and that's sort of come, but, but not really.

[00:08:04] Josh: Yep.

[00:08:05] Jonathan: yeah, no, not working at the same time. Yeah. You can

[00:08:08] Josh: You know,

[00:08:08] Jonathan: you can have more than one person, but they can, they have this polite handover now don't they?

[00:08:13] Josh: The collaboration beta. Yes. It's. It was very interesting. We got some early access to that and I know that there's been maybe. Not pushed back, but some negative reactions from the community in general about how it's handled. But I really think that, you know, what they've done is they've built a foundation for collaboration.

[00:08:35] Josh: I mean, think about it this way. You know, Figma wasn't built over night, but now. You know, it's the collaborative way to do design, right? That's just how collaborative design is done. So web was building the foundations for a similar platform, and it's not a simple thing to do, you know, you're manipulating classes that affect hundreds of pages.

[00:08:56] Josh: Right. And you could have someone on another page manipulating the same classes. I can't, I don't know how that would even work. So it's a small step in the right track.

[00:09:05] Jonathan: yeah. I mean, it's all magic to me. So I have, I have no idea. Yeah. But so, so I, I watched. Ask you one sort of last question. What is it about enterprise that is different to your normal sort of business plan? Why would people go with that? Because it's a lot of money.

[00:09:23] Josh: You mean with regards to web flow specific?

[00:09:26] Jonathan: Yeah.

[00:09:27] Josh: Yeah. There are a number of benefits. You have dedicated resources from the Webflow team. We have a dedicated there's a staff member who is there to answer all of our questions. We get information on potential future releases and the lease plans.

[00:09:43] Josh: There are integrations which are crucial to our operation, which are only available at the enterprise plan. For example, Marquetto is a tool that we use to collect information and there is a Marketo integration that's only for. I believe at the enterprise tier. There are a bunch of other things, but those are sort of the big ones.

[00:10:04] Jonathan: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, no, I think, I think it's interesting to sort of understand from, from our perspective as, as little people how, how the big, the big organizations work with my flow and I certainly think, yeah, as, as a career move, it's something that, that a lot more people are going to be doing is working full time for a big organization.

[00:10:25] Jonathan: Like, like moral. Yeah.

[00:10:27] Josh: I agree a hundred percent and I think, you know, web flow, that's one of their biggest priorities right now, just from the outside. Looking in, as I can see a push towards support for enterprise, you know, with the addition of the collaboration, beta and these new integrations. You know, web flow can do so much at an enterprise level for that business.

[00:10:50] Josh: Right. I've worked at enterprise companies that, you know, had whole, you know, swath, you know, SWAT teams of devs just to, you know, push out updates. And, you know, it took a long time and a lot, a lot of money. And then. I, you know, by contrast, working in Webflow is fast, it's affordable, it's efficient, and you can turn on a dime, which is priceless.

[00:11:18] Jonathan: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Brilliant. Okay. We'll stop there for the first half. And afterwards, we'll come back and talk a little bit more about you and your website and some of the fun things that you're getting up to.

[00:11:31] Jonathan: Thanks to That's octopus dot. D O. Octopus helps everyone in web development achieve their goals faster with swift clear and organized site maps.

[00:11:48] Jonathan: Well, welcome back to the Webflowers' podcast. This week, I'm chatting to Josh Jacobs from Mural. Josh, your website, It's it's a proper Webflow website.

[00:12:00] Josh: You could say that. Yeah, it's a little different, little, a unique, alright.

[00:12:05] Jonathan: I mean, you know, what's the point of Webflow. If you can't do whatever you want,

[00:12:10] Josh: true that, yeah. And I don't know, man, this is. Third and fourth iteration of this website. And you know, the first one was just like me, like, oh, I can make a website. That's, you know, mine that was version one. And version two was like, oh, I need to, I need to make this cooler. It's not cool enough. But it was very, eh, that, that version of the website was like, like it was a black background only, and there was.

[00:12:37] Josh: Be a gun illegible text. And it was just very, you know, it was cool. It was super cool, but I think it was

[00:12:46] Jonathan: But cool in a designer to kind of way,

[00:12:49] Josh: Yeah. I'm not that cool. I'm not like a black background website guy, you know?

[00:12:54] Jonathan: You're not Steve.

[00:12:55] Josh: know I'm not Steve jobs. I'm not Jony ive. I'm, you know, something. Sophisticated.

[00:13:05] Jonathan: And yet at the same time, something so much more.

[00:13:09] Josh: I, you know, there's a lot of inspiration that went into it, you know? I worked with a guy, Bobby Rowe on a Webflow project, which was up on the showcase. A year ago. And that project had a lot of influence and sway on me. It was colorful, it used content to convey tone of voice. And it was just simple.

[00:13:29] Josh: And I love that, you know and I really wanted to channel that with the three dot O this version of my portfolio. So it's very colorful. It uses a content to convey tone of voice. And it's just simple. And it's me right.

[00:13:44] Jonathan: web 3.0, so are you, are you selling NFTs on there?

[00:13:47] Josh: Oh man, listen. Yeah, NFT. I, I know what that stands for and what that means and how that system works. No, I am not. I do not, I don't know anything about an NFTs. I'll be

[00:13:59] Jonathan: they're, they're there. Yeah. I mean this my, my My timeline on Twitter is just full of it at the moment. Public Stanley and, and all the rest of it. And I just, I don't understand it at all,

[00:14:09] Josh: I know it, it stands for non fungible token, which is, I think NFTs NFT sounds a lot better than something that involves something being fungible.

[00:14:20] Jonathan: No, none, no, no, it's not fungible. The whole point is that it's not fungible.

[00:14:26] Josh: Right. That's as much as I

[00:14:29] Jonathan: hear you've got, you've got some cats and a dog

[00:14:32] Josh: Oh yeah, it's raining. It's raining cats and dogs in this house. And in fact, you know, before my wife and I had our son earlier this year we were talking about getting a second dog. We've got three cats and one dog and, you know I thought to myself, well, gee, that's just not enough. Thankfully we didn't do that because for some reason, you know, adding a baby to the. Really just complicated things with our

[00:14:58] Jonathan: I mean, we've had, we've had one dog for a couple of years and and then we found another one just abandoned. So we we've got that one as well. Best thing ever having two dogs is fantastic. We also have three cats asked me how many alpacas with.

[00:15:12] Josh: Oh, how many alpacas do you have?

[00:15:15] Jonathan: Just the three.

[00:15:16] Josh: Oh, just the three. Yup. You guys are living the dream three cats, two dogs, three alpacas

[00:15:21] Jonathan: tell you I, and four chickens. I am living the dream in some ways, and in other ways it is a bit of a nightmare. My, my partner has has a little hotel here in the north of Spain. So that's been interesting shall we say over the pandemic, but we're, we've come out, coming out the other side and we're doing all right.

[00:15:39] Josh: If I ever make it out that way, I'll pack a bag and a. That's the joke. I'll pack a bag because of alpaca.

[00:15:47] Jonathan: tell you I'll packa bag.. Oh, I missed it for goodness sake. I'm hopeless. I'll pack a bag.

[00:15:53] Josh: I felt a cringe come from somewhere

[00:15:56] Jonathan: I mean, that's, at least we got a title for this episode now, so

[00:16:00] Josh: There you

[00:16:00] Jonathan: go

[00:16:00] Jonathan: I'll pack a bag.

[00:16:01] Jonathan: back.

[00:16:02] Josh: These things don't write themselves.

[00:16:04] Jonathan: If they don't we tend to use the wall for, for making hats and things. You seem to like putting things on your own.

[00:16:11] Josh: sure. Yeah. I wouldn't, I don't have any alpaca accessories, but I do have a wizard's hat that says Webflow wizard on it. And that's one of my prize possessions.

[00:16:24] Jonathan: who gave you that? Where did that?

[00:16:26] Josh: I made it for myself now that no, no, no, no, no, no, no. That was a gift from my previous previous employer. Yeah. It's literally just a dollar store. Magician's hat with the words, Webflow, wizard taped onto it, but I don't know. It makes me happy.

[00:16:42] Jonathan: Nah, I think that's, I think that's probably probably cool. And looking at at is probably accurate as well. There's definitely some stuff on there that that, that makes me go. Wow. I, I, you know, People might pick up eventually from, from, from these podcasts that are kind of quite interested in accessibility and web standards and stuff.

[00:17:03] Jonathan: And I'm not, not completely convinced that your website would pass all the standards, but.

[00:17:09] Josh: Yeah. Oh man. I am a huge proponent of accessibility and websites, and it's such a tough line to walk because you want everything to be like cutting edge and cool. But at the same time, contrast ratios are really difficult to, to, you know, be like, unless you're doing black on white or,

[00:17:36] Jonathan: I going to ask you to say it's easy black and white mate. That's it. Should've gotten stuck with version two.

[00:17:42] Josh: You know, you're right. I'll just I'll just revert back to it. Yeah. You know, you're right. It's I don't know. I try to cater a little bit somewhat to the crowd. I, I, I, I put in a little pause button if, if the marquees are too much and there are a lot of moving parts.

[00:17:59] Jonathan: There are a lot of market moving parts. Yeah. I feel it's something that workflow needs to have a look at with a sense of urgency is how, how do we put prefers, reduced motion into into workflow sites?

[00:18:11] Josh: Actually there was a tweet, a series of tweets that came out after the no-code conference and the NOCODE conference websites specifically caters to prefers no motion. And I haven't added the code snippet to my own personal site yet, but I. Someone from the Webflow team shared, there's just one line of CSS and you can, Corey.

[00:18:31] Josh: Yep. So you've seen it. Excellent. Yeah. Literally one, one line of CSS and you can, you can do whatever you want, so,

[00:18:37] Jonathan: they, they kind of cheated. To be fair because the, their solution was, if they start cheating, it's a solution that it works. It was to have a still image underneath the, or hidden, and then have the animated images on top. So the line of code just hides the animations. If you have prefers, prefers, reduced emotion, I suppose we also say that that what this bit of what, this is a setting on your browser. Well all browsers have got this setting and you can set it so that if if you have a vision issues or the stipul stipulate, is that the right word?

[00:19:17] Josh: It sounds.

[00:19:19] Jonathan: It sounds right. Good then you know, you might, you might get motion sickness by looking at certain websites or with things not being and not being able to control motion.

[00:19:29] Jonathan: So It's part of the browser settings, you can set it. And then if, if the devs who have built the site have created it so that it listens to this, to this command it's on, off switch, then then you'll get reduced motion and that's, that's what they did for the, for no-code comp. And yeah, if you, if you go away and look for that setting in your, in your browser, you'll be able to have a look at the NOCODE conf

[00:19:54] Jonathan: and, and see that the animations are not there. So it, I mean, I know that they are working on these solutions, but you know, there's, there's lots of stuff they're working on and it's the power, it's the power of workflow, isn't it? That you can, you can do whatever you want.

[00:20:11] Josh: I think the only restriction to the platform is that they only have so many employees, you know they can only do as much as their workforce could put out at any given time. And there's a lot of stuff that they want.

[00:20:23] Jonathan: just imagine if they're spent some of that investment money that they've they've, they've just got a, and didn't give it all to Facebook advertising to me about how great Webflow is. That's the only advert

[00:20:35] Josh: I get those

[00:20:35] Jonathan: on, on Facebook.

[00:20:37] Josh: those ads too. It is kind of funny to me, but at the same time working for a large company, I understand like, you know, you gotta spend money to make money and it does seem counterintuitive to. Anyone who's interested in web flow, but I'm sure it generates leads. I'm sure it works for them.

[00:20:55] Josh: And that's how they keep the lights on.

[00:20:59] Jonathan: yeah. The only reason, the only reason I use Facebook these days is for the web flow.

[00:21:04] Josh: Hmm.

[00:21:05] Jonathan: There's a few of them on there. And just magical. Just so helpful if Y how, how is it that everybody who uses Webflow is such a nice person. This is another continual theme in the podcast.

[00:21:16] Jonathan: I just don't get it. They're they're just, everybody is wonderful.

[00:21:20] Josh: you know, it's, it's really it's so everyone is so helpful. Everyone is so interested. I dunno. It's just, I mean, even myself, like I find myself when I'm, you know, going for a walk. If I'm, if I happen to have the Facebook app open, I feel this draw to answer people's questions because I've been there, you know, we've all been there.

[00:21:40] Josh: We've all started somewhere. And, and, you know, if the solution is simple or if there's a better way you know, I think you may have mentioned

[00:21:47] Jonathan: that's what it is. Maybe, maybe it is that we all acknowledge. That workflow is not easy to start with.

[00:21:56] Josh: Hm. Yeah, it

[00:21:57] Jonathan: that's what it

[00:21:57] Josh: it can be channel.

[00:21:58] Jonathan: there as you say,

[00:22:00] Josh: I mean,

[00:22:01] Jonathan: to start with.

[00:22:02] Josh: I've been working in the platform now for five years and, you know, you learn new things even still it, there it's a deep, well and sure at face value, you know, dragon drop you know, it all works and they they're constantly improving it, but there, there is a lot of, a lot of knowledge around the platform and around, you know, HTML and CSS that some people may not.

[00:22:26] Josh: Now maybe not be privy to, so

[00:22:29] Jonathan: yep.

[00:22:29] Josh: just,

[00:22:30] Jonathan: No, no, no, absolutely. Absolutely. So Josh, just to round us off, what's your top tips for, for Webflowers

[00:22:38] Josh: it's hard tips. You know, my, my number one tip, would it be. Don't just design and Webflow using Figma does not mean that you're delusional

[00:22:49] Jonathan: don't know what you're talking about.

[00:22:50] Josh: me either. No, it's, you know, Webflow is a wonderful platform that is super strong and capable. And if you're working on something super simple yeah, sure.

[00:23:00] Josh: Design in it, but be deliberate. You know, duly research. You know, get that content built correctly. Content design is a real, is a real you know, profession and it's important as just as important as design. But if you just get started, you know, hit the ground running without doing any of those steps, you, you're not gonna, you're not going to hit the mark.

[00:23:23] Josh: So that would be part one part. One is, you know, do the work. And then part two is You know, something I, I mentioned with my team sometimes and something that we're working on a mural all the time is just you know, how do you tell a story in, in the, in your experiences? What, what, what can you do to separate yourselves from the rest of the pack and, and, and speak to a narrative, as opposed to just you know, building a basic website

[00:23:50] Jonathan: Yeah.

[00:23:50] Josh: And how do you, how do you go from black and white to all one color?

[00:23:54] Josh: You know what I mean?

[00:23:55] Jonathan: absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, and that, and that's the thing, isn't it? That that workflow is not Squarespace. If you want Squarespace. You can build it very, very quickly in Webflow shore, but what's the point, you know? And it's certainly something you'll have heard about client first.

[00:24:13] Jonathan: But presumably you've got your own system of CSS at work already. But one of the things that Joe Krug said, just really struck home with me was, you know, we don't provide you with any, any Components Y frames, et cetera, because you're building your workflow. Why would you want that? Every section is going to be separate.

[00:24:35] Jonathan: Every section is going to be different. And and that just made me go. Yeah, that's for me, that's a, that's a key. It's just, what can something up in me to make me go? Yeah. I want to do something a little bit different. So the. We haven't, we haven't actually started building the red flowers podcast website yet.

[00:24:54] Jonathan: But by the time, at the time by the time this as we should have it up and running and it's, it's based on some art designs that I did in Barcelona back in 2014 it's going to be fun. It's going to be.

[00:25:07] Josh: I hope that it's says a unique and different as it sounds like.

[00:25:12] Jonathan: It's, it's definitely going to be yeah, it's going to be, it's not going to be quite as, quite as as Joshwork but

[00:25:20] Josh: stop it.

[00:25:21] Jonathan: get there one day, one day.

[00:25:23] Josh: Yeah. I look forward to seeing it.

[00:25:26] Jonathan: It's been an absolute pleasure talking to you. Thanks for giving me some insight into, into workflow, enterprise and what that looks like. And, and some of the opportunities that people are going to be finding over the years. And yeah, thanks for just, you know, being human and let, let us into your life a little bit.

[00:25:42] Jonathan: It's been, it's been great fun. And yeah Well, I'm sure we'll have you on the show in a, in a couple of years time when you've moved on to somewhere else or maybe not got that. Got another kid. Oh, knows life moves. And w we, we we'll see them. All right, Josh, it's been an absolute delight. See if I say cheers, bye-bye now.

[00:26:01] Jonathan: Isn't that, what's the point in, in being able to do anything and then not doing whatever the fuck you like, oh, I'm going to have to change that. Cause I'm determined not to swear on this podcast.

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