Interview with User Interface Designer Jarques Pretorius

Jarques Pretorius is a User Interface Designer based in San Francisco, CA. Currently the Lead Front-End Designer/Developer at a startup called which helps academics answer the question ‘Who’s researching what?’. A recent graduate of The Art Institute of California – San Francisco where he received a Bachelors of Science in Web Design and Interactive Media. During his course of study he perfected his skills as a web designer and programmer. Jarques has a passion for creating User Interface’s that won’t require an instruction manual, creating an interface where every little detail adds to the experience.

 Jarques Pretorius - User Interface Developer


1). Where did you grow up? Where do you live now?

I grew up in South Africa in a small place called Randburg. Right now, I live in (sometimes sunny) San Francisco, California.

2). What site do you visit most often, why?

I visit vine (which is my own site) almost every day, since it covers many different topics. I also read TechCrunch and visit Digg every now and then.

3). What languages do you enjoy programming in?

My favorite is JavaScript, has been for a long time now. I also enjoy PHP at times, though I’ve recently started with Ruby on Rails when it comes to back-end stuff.

4). How did you end up on the team? What’s something special about the company?

I applied as their part-time front-end designer back in April 2008. When I graduated in March ’09, I signed a full time contract as Lead Front-End Designer/Developer. The site has a lot of potential, every day we strive to put out only the best for academics to use and connect with other academics and researchers within their field. As a small team though, we rock at what we do!

5). Is there anybody you look up to in the developer community? Why?

There are many many brilliant developers out there doing some amazing work. It’s difficult to pick only one, but the 37signals and Carsonified teams are great.

6). 1 common mistake you should always avoid when developing?

Don’t compromise if something isn’t working, there’s always a way for something to work. Also, forgetting ending semi-colons are always a pain.

7). What’s your favoriate podcast/show, why?

The few that I do listen to at times, would be GDGT Weekly, Boagworld and The 404. I’m not a big podcast listener, but when the mood strikes me I’ll turn on any of those three.

8). How do you get new music and share it?

iTunes is my main source for getting music, it’s fast and easy. As for sharing, I usually find a link on Grooveshark and share it via Twitter.

9). Do you have any pets? What makes him/her special.

I have a 5 pound 5 year old cat named Anna (short for Annabelle), I adopted her as my own. Her complete randomness makes me laugh even on the worst of moods.

10). 1 thing you couldn’t live without, why?

Oxygen, pretty tough to go without it. Friends and family, they’re invaluable.

11). How can we find you?

All links to my Flickr, Twitter and Facebook can be found on my "quick url" at