Justin S. is the first team member to have a go at answering questions, so be nice to him.
Tell us a bit about yourself
Hi, I’m Justin, and I live in Central Ohio, USA. I’ve been on the MyBB team since April 2006, back in the days of MyBB 1.1. I’m currently a junior in high school. In my free time, I run a roller coaster simulator fansite called RCTgo, and also do some web design through my portfolio, Belloman Design. I obviously love roller coasters, and I play the alto saxophone in my school’s jazz, concert, and marching bands.
How did you discover MyBB?
My experience with forums all began through the RollerCoaster Tycoon community, so it’s fitting that I found MyBB through one of those forums. I already had a bit of experience administrating forums when I discovered MyBB, as I had already created a forum of my own with InvisionFree. Anyway, at some point I had found a forum of Sebar’s (a notable member of the RCT community), which was running MyBB. I knew a bit about forum softwares at that point – notably vB, IPB, and phpBB – but had never heard of MyBB.
Eventually, I decided to check out the website, downloaded a copy of MyBB and installed it on my web hosting account. I fell in love instantly – even at PR2, it had just about everything I wanted, and was enough of an incentive to completely start over my forum with it. It’s been nearly four years since I discovered MyBB and I’m still in love with it.
Describe some of the roles you have taken on in the MyBB team
When I first became a member of the MyBB team, I was added alongside Ryan Gordon as one of the official MyBB Wiki managers. We were tasked with maintaining the wiki, ensuring all of the articles were of a high quality, and that all of the appropriate articles were there.
At some point, I was asked to redesign the MyBB website. A redesign had already been in progress, but we (the team) felt that it could use a bit of a “refresh.” I guess you could say that is where I began my role as designer.
For MyBB 1.4, I created the layouts for countless pages in the new MyBB Admin CP. I’d say roughly two-thirds of the layouts were done by me in HTML mockups. At the same time, I also wrote almost all of the wiki documentation for the new features and changes in MyBB 1.4, most noticeably rewriting nearly all of the wiki articles for the Admin CP.
Today, my roles are MyBB Lead Designer and Wiki Lead. I’m responsible for almost every new layout that goes into MyBB, as well as (on the side) making sure the Wiki is up to date and being well maintained.
Which program/tool do you enjoy using the most while designing the new layout and graphics for MyBB?
Pencil and paper go a long way when initially mocking up layouts. With an eraser in hand, I can easily brainstorm how I want a page laid out, as it often takes a bit of time to get something that’s “just right.” Another great thing about paper mockups is that they’re obviously strictly layout, not theme, which I think is important in early stages.
Recently, though, I’ve been using a program called Balsamiq Mockups, which is a fantastic tool that tries to imitate pencil and paper mockups. It’s really easy to get things looking exactly how I want them, and I think I’m going to be using it quite a bit more in the future.
Here are some pencil mockups that Justin did for 1.4.
How much time do you spend designing MyBB? Describe the process of being a designer of MyBB.
When I’m designing a new layout for MyBB, I’ll often start with a paper sketch or a mockup in Balsamiq Mockups, experimenting and fine tuning the layout to exactly how I think it should be. At this point, I’ll usually show it to Ryan Gordon, and finally to the rest of the MyBB staff for input. Once a decent amount of input has been received, I’ll typically open up a text editor and begin creating an HTML mockup, which gives the developers a clear picture of how I envision the layout to look. I’ll then do the same: show it to Ryan Gordon and finally to the rest of the staff for review. Finally, a developer will eventually come in and commit the feature, based on the mockups I created.
I do not keep track of how much time I spend on any particular design or on designing MyBB in general. I do it whenever I have free time.
What feature did you want MyBB to have that was never included?
Soft delete. As someone who is paranoid about deleting things, I would love to have the option to “delete” posts without actually deleting them. A lot of people suggest to simply unapprove posts that you want to keep but not delete, but that doesn’t work too well: it clutters up the moderation queue, and isn’t really what I consider unapproved posts to be for.
Other than MyBB, what are some of your hobbies?
Roller coasters, web design, architecture, band, and reading.
What do you have for breakfast each day?
I typically eat some combination of bagels, muffins, waffles, pancakes, French toast, and yogurt. I hardly ever skip breakfast.
What was the meaning behind your former username, Belloman?
I’m afraid I’m not going to answer this question. I always like to keep a few secrets about myself.
What was your favorite nursery rhyme?
I’m not sure if this is the proper title or if it was my favorite, but “It’s raining, it’s pouring,” comes to mind.
What is your dream career?
Architecture. I have always been in love with buildings and maps, and I think something related to architecture or engineering is a perfect fit for my interests.
Anything else you would like to add?
Being on the MyBB team has truly been a life-changing experience, and I don’t think I will ever regret joining the team. I’m also really looking forward to seeing what the future holds for MyBB – whatever it is, I’m sure it’ll be great!