spiderman shooting the web

WYSIJA – Say what?

Today with talk with Kim Gjerstad or WSIJA – what’s that stand for? Read on, and be amazed….

1) If you don’t mind sharing, what is your real name as many people only know your screen name, and where do you live?

We’re a team of 6 guys: Jonathan, Adrien, Ben, Ami, Marco and myself, Kim. We’re spread in France, Vietnam, Poland and Spain.


2) How did you get started in developing themes?

Two years ago, we decided that WordPress needed a new solution for newsletters. We were tired of third party solutions and wanted to offer a simple approach to designing and sending your newsletters.

4) How did you get starting with programming in general?

In this project, we have 3 developers and 1 support staff. As for myself, I pretty much do everything else: design upcoming features, project management, marketing, etc.

7) Do you focus mostly on theme sales or do you have other business interests you would like to mention?

Right now, we’re solely focused on developing Wysija. We’re also looking at the services we can offer around the plugin.

8) What sort of challenges have you faced when designing themes “for anyone” versus a specific client?

That’s a key question. We got tons of feature requests which is pretty awesome. But you have to decide which ones will benefit the common users, and which ones will be able to sell more. Too many features is our fear. We’re always careful in adding some new.

9) In your opinion what is the difference between a premium/paid theme and a “free theme”?

Support. Free plugins and themes are awesome, but with such a large community of users, authors can’t possibly support everybody effectively.


10) What have been the biggest surprises to you developing themes? Or what have you enjoyed the most about designing great themes?

The great feedback from our users. WordPress has an awesome community which respects those who are a part of it. Any startup has to reach out to its users and listen. It’s a privilege to do so within WordPress.

11) When creating a new theme what are your priorities, or do those come after “creating something cool and new”?

Our priorities when releasing new features is to make sure that any bugs or unexpected issues is quickly resolved. This is why we release fairly often.

12) What is your normal process for creating a theme (feature)? Do you start with a pencil, PhotoShop, or dive right into coding?

We quickly wireframe a new feature in Balsamiq. We write some tech specifications. We review them together to make sure that the feature is easy to understand and use. During the coding phase, we might realize that we forgot a scenario and reassess.

13) What are some of your favorite new technologies that you use or are experimenting?

Our pet project has been a spam score tool: http://mail-tester.com/ It’s not only practical, it’s actually quite fun to use.

Otherwise, Jonathan is always on the lookout for any Javascript libraries that might be useful to integrate in our visual editor.

15) Where do you seek inspiration for your work? Any particular designers, artists, or sites that you use?

There’s inspiration anywhere there’s interactivity. We’re primarily focused on offering an great user experience and we try to find examples on our apps, sites, plugins. In many regards, the UI team of WordPress itself is quite inspiring: http://make.wordpress.org/ui/

16) If you have any superhero power what would it be and why?

Spiderman. He doesn’t shoot bullets. He shoots the web.

spiderman shooting the web