Tom Germeau

How I got into UI Design

Until a few years ago I thought everyone learned to code for the same reason.

That is not the case. There’s a lot of people who know programming that love the act of coding on its own. As long as there’s a technical challenge. Preferably something that can’t be done.

It dawned on me that coding for the sake of coding has never been my goal. The reason I picked up a programming book in the first place was to make my Commodore 64 beep the Star Wars tune so it could assist my guitar.

Probably the first real project I spent a lot of time on was inspired by my childhood friend who had a brand new Power Mac 5000. I still had my C64, so I was blown away by its grace in the same way a caveman would feel if he skipped evolution and got introduced to a Porsche.

Months later my family bought a Windows95 PC and I was instantly disappointed by the feel of it. This triggered something in me to start creating a menu bar that looked and behaved the same way it did in Mac OS 8. So I started coding in some early version of Visual Basic, and hooked into the Windows API so all the menu bars would sit on the top of the screen instead of in the app itself. Less clutter, more Porsche, and a little silly.

Nothing like 3D rendering, cosinus mapping, or query optimizing ever made me feel like I could improve the world. There are people who are way better at this than me.

For me programming has always been a means to an end, a tool to design an experience for people that makes their lives better.

TweetFollow @tomg