Meet Steve Castro, Director of Digital Development at EGC Group
In his 20-year career in the digital landscape, Steve Castro has seen it all, and has firsthand knowledge of everything from why a website works or why it might not, and other technicalities of the internet. Check out what Steve has to say on these topics – especially the importance of why businesses must be aware of the legal regulations and laws of compliance that must be followed when creating their websites.
Having a website is “Business 101” now, but it wasn’t always that way. How have website designs changed since you started your career? What do you see as a new trend this year?
I’ve been in this industry for 20 years, and a lot has changed since the “Wild West” early days of the internet. I’ve lived through basic HTML sites, Flash animated sites, and then the dawn of smartphones and mobile responsive sites. This is probably one of the more unstable industries you can work in. It’s a moving target because code standards, devices, screen resolutions, accessibility, and privacy laws are constantly evolving. These days, the average website has a lifespan of two-to-three years before it becomes outdated.
In regards to trends, my advice is to not put too much stock in them. Do what is best for you, your business, and your target audience. That being said, I think we will continue to see the line blur between website and app, both visually and in functionality. Audience attention span is dwindling, so extreme design styles (e.g. “minimal” or “loud”) will keep the user engaged and get the point across quickly. You should anticipate that the average visitor is not going to read your long copy—especially mobile users. Keep it simple, folks.
Privacy on digital platforms continues to be a focus in the new year. What advice do you have for clients as regulations continuously change?
My advice is to listen to your developers and legal team. The cost to fix things on your own terms is much less than having to settle a lawsuit if you get caught. Laws for HIPAA, ADA, CCPA, and GDPR are all poorly defined, and constantly changing. Your website requires upkeep to stay ahead of the curve. This means periodic scanning and remediation of issues. Anyone on your staff that edits content or handles data should also be trained in compliance. Hiring or designating a compliance officer for your company is also recommended.
If you’re in NY, CA, or FL, please know that you’re a prime target for legal action. Ditto for the retail, hospitality, healthcare, and education industries. If you need advice in this area, please reach out to us!
You have an artistic side that is very useful for website development. How do you maintain those creative juices?
I have a BFA in Illustration, and I also worked as a graphic designer before moving into web development. My skills and interests are a bit all over the place. For things that would be considered “traditionally” creative, I’ve done a few logos and label illustrations for craft beer companies over the years. The most fun I have is participating in the annual #Drawlloween challenge on Instagram, which has kick-started my artistic side after having been dormant for about 10 years. Apologies to my followers for over-posting every October. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
For developers, a lot of what we do is behind-the-scenes, and the majority of this job is problem solving. The creativity comes from finding unique solutions, and executing them in the most efficient way. I think my multidiscipline background makes me resourceful, and it’s a trait I value when I hire for my own team. Anticipating user behavior is all psychology and creative thinking. The more you learn to think like them, the better your results will be.