Adam Roberts – Multidisciplinary Designer & Developer in Sheffield, UK Adam Roberts – Multidisciplinary Designer & Developer in Sheffield, UK
Interactive Designer & Developer
Born 22.04.1988 Zone Music: Vocal Trance

Short Story

How it all began

When this 11 year old boy discovered his Father and friend enjoying Microsoft Front-page when building their own Fishing related website, he questioned them both. "What are you doing?", "How did you make that fish move?", "Can you teach me?!"

The boy never ended being taught by his Father, but did shortly after get his own computer. Although some of those after-school evenings were spent playing games, he did manage to connect with people that created similar products like his Dad's fishing website. Becoming more intrigued, the boy learnt the wonders of Google and discovered all the information he could – and practiced, every evening for next few years.

Becoming a Man

At 15 years of age, he realised how much he'd learnt and discovered and what was a pass-time was soon to become his career. He started freelancing and serviced people from many different areas of the world.

Years later after he'd gained some recognition, he decided to build a product / service that would help fellow designers and companies. That service was called QualityXHTML, a service that helped people take their designs and convert them into code. The stunning floral design received some traction amongst the design community and he ran the business for 2 years before receiving an offer to sell.

Adam had tried and tested a few other ideas too, such a Rock Climbing social network, a design blog, a rock climbing blog but were later dissolved due to personal constraints at the time.

After school, Adam went to college. Studied further Art & Design, Photography and a Diploma in Digital Applications. Whilst studying, he was a bike mechanic, a bartender and a freelancer. Once he finished with College, he landed his first gig at a development company, where he started learning PHP / MySQL and putting into practice in the real world. However, Adam kept on as a bike mechanic, bartender, and freelancer. Where he found the time to do Martial Arts and attend the Air Training Corps (Royal Airforce Cadets) as well, is a mystery.

What is also worth the mention, Adam went through RAF training as he wanted to comit to serving the country. But it was only at the last few days of choosing a path in RAF when he decided to back out – the reasons being he felt he couldn't give up on the love for design and technology. But approximately 1 year later, he landed a new gig. This time at a well established web consultancy firm that wasn't so local, so he got himself a motorbike to travel. This time, that's all he did – and the ocassional freelance project.

And he shall grow

The web consultancy that he joined was a franchise of around 250+ in the UK. The main branch was WSI, and this consultancy was based in Doncaster. He spent 5 and half years there working with a small team of about 6. Adam headed up everything design, front-end development and even back-end development. During this time he learnt the ins and outs of Adobe Business Catalyst, WordPress and also managed to get to grips with Magento. However, the odd time he was also able to utilise PHP in some bespoke development projects.

He worked with many small businesses and some big, such as; Cooplands bakery, Sony - Gran Turismo, Tickler Cheese and their biggest client at the time, EMS (Powerstar).

Whilst working at WSI, Adam also freelanced and this became a regular occurance for him. He was constantly keeping up to date with industry movements and always working on something. Whilst he wasn't, he was either doing Martial Arts, Rock Climbing or some other andreneline fueled activity.

It was in the last year or so at WSI when Adam had grown in terms of skillset... he spent majority of his time teaching himself new crafts or languages and putting them into practice when ever possible. This was about the time when media queries and responsive frameworks came out, which made Adam feel overwelmed in a way because he knew he had so much more to learn. So he did.

From Then Til Now

Adam was hunted by many a agency, one which landed him an offer that he couldn't refuse. To join the largest Insulation company in the UK called SIG to work in their in-house digital marketing department. Adam joined the team of around 7 people, joined with a development team of approximately 12.

SIG had grown over the years by acquisition and all these companies had poorly made (old) websites or none at all. So he began servicing them with new websites, custom designs and developed as WordPress themes. There were approximately 60-80 websites to do, so he knew that he'd be there for at least a few years to come.

However, Adam came from a fast-paced agency... so his work-speed was asthonishing to the people at SIG and was proved when he designed and built 4 of the websites in his first month – but that's probably because of the excitement he had with a new job and wanted to impress. But impressed they were not, Adam infact received a telling-off by his manager, for working too fast.

"Too fast??" – according to them, if Adam had continued at that speed, they'd quickly run out of work. So he stepped down a few notches and continued on, baring in mind that the quality of the work he produced kept getting better. Approximately 8 months later, he only had 12 websites left to complete before he joined another team to help with a large eCommerce project, which he did do whilst waiting on clients.

But then a time came when he was contacted again and this time he went back to the fast-paced digital agency. He joined Whitespace in late 2014 and currently still works there. He's worked with large brands such as Autoglym, Pearsons, Civica, Moorepay, Channel 4 - The box tv, Crestwood, Northgate and more. Some of the work you'll be able to see here.

As well as working full time, you'll have gathered that Adam also freelances. He's been doing it since such a young age and has over 16 years industry experience in many different areas. Although this website in particular is a sort of history / biography about him and shows more work that he's done over the years, in his spare time he runs his own studio called Grilled Pixels. He's been running it for a long time but recently put together a team of remote workers who work tirelessly just like him, to build great products and experiences that make a positive impact on business goals.

Adam continues to improve and refine his skills, managing a team, coordinating the creative and technical projects but most of all tries to keep up to date as much as he can with whats current in the industry. His words are "If you can't be on the ball with what's new, now and tomorrow, then how will you ever be unstuck, be able to innovate, create and better your own service offering? I myself, hope to one day inspire those around me and dream to leave my mark. That's what drives me to be better."

THE END

Portfolio of Adam Roberts