34 minutes | Jul 16, 2020

Episode 133 – Anyssa Ferreira

Introducing Anyssa Ferreira Anyssa Ferreira is a designer and front-end developer from São Paulo, Brazil. She is co-founder of Haste, an agency focused on delivering great user experience with WordPress. Anyssa is also part of the WordCamp São Paulo organizing team. Show Notes Twitter | @anyssaferreira Website | Haste Design Preferred Pronouns | She/Her Episode Transcript Tara: This is Hallway Chats, where we meet people who use WordPress. Liam: We ask questions and our guests share their stories, ideas, and perspectives. Tara: And now the conversation begins. This is Episode 133. Tara: Welcome to Hallway Chats. I’m Tara Claeys. Liam: And I’m Liam Dempsey. Liam: And I’m Liam Dempsey. Today we are joined by Anyssa Ferreira. Anyssa is a designer and front-end developer from São Paulo, Brazil. She is co-founder of Haste, an agency focused on delivering great user experience with WordPress. Anyssa is also part of the WordCamp São Paulo organizing team. Welcome! Tara: Welcome to Hallway Chats. I’m Tara Claeys. Liam: And I’m Liam Dempsey. Today we’re joined by Anyssa Ferreira. Anyssa is a designer and front end developer from São Paulo, Brazil. She is the co-founder of Haste, an agency focused on delivering great user experience with WordPress. Anyssa is also part of the WordCamp São Paulo organizing team. Hello, Anyssa. Welcome. Anyssa: Hello. Thank you for having me here today. Tara: So glad to have you. Glad to have someone from the other side of the world in a vertical sense. Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself? Anyssa: Yes, sure. As Liam said, I am a designer and front end developer. I started playing with FrontPage in my teenage. I ended up here today with you with WordPress. Now I have my own agency where I work with a variety of clients, developing everything from corporate websites and e-commerce and plugins and everything that WordPress can do. Tara: I used FrontPage a long time ago as well. How did you discover WordPress? Anyssa: Well, after I played with FrontPage, I realized that I had to learn something different if I wanted to really create professional websites. So when I was looking for a platform to build my portfolio, I guess I was in college at the time. I went to a graphic designer college. So I was looking for a platform to just build a simple portfolio and put some images. I found WordPress, and I didn’t really like it at first. I kind of build a portfolio, didn’t like it and I left. I went to BlogSpot and I built my portfolio there. When I had to build a more robust website, I went back to WordPress, and I thought, “Well, this will be more appropriate for this kind of website this time.” Liam: That’s super interesting around going with FrontPage and then…I didn’t start with FrontPage. I was Dreamweaver and just coding in text editors and the like. But definitely more of a marketing and designer than a developer. But now you have described yourself as a front end developer. Talk about your transition or introduction or at least willingness to dive into code to the point where you publicly declare that you code, which is something I always reluctantly share. I never describe myself as a developer. And it’s not a bridge that ultimately I wanted to cross. I’d be interested in hearing your story. Anyssa: Well, that was exactly it. I was reluctant too because I always saw myself as a designer. “I am a designer. I’m not a coder. I’m not a developer.” As I was trying to boot my portfolio in with BlogSpot, I realized that they had these themes or templates and that I could customize to some extent. So I had to learn a little CSS to do this and a little HTML. So I started learning, and soon enough it was, oh, I really wanted to change this little part that I cannot change in this platform. So I started to build my own websites with pure HTML and CSS, and some JavaScript. I got a freelance job that I had to build the layout of a website. My client asked me if I could build it, and I said, “Okay, I can.” And then I built it. Then the client really liked it. She said, “Oh, let’s work together. You maintain the website, and I’ll pay you to do this.” And I was like, “Oh, I can really work with this.” So I really started working as a developer than a designer. It was my first job, and I really was surprised because someone saw that I could develop something and I really didn’t believe that I could. At this point, I was like, “Okay, maybe I should really start to take this seriously.” Because at the college, I didn’t have any coding classes—just a really basic one—I had to learn by myself. So I started studying and really put effort on the coding side of my skills. Tara: That’s really interesting. What is the community like where you live? The WordPress community. Anyssa: Well do community here is a very dedicated one. But also we are going through a rough period. We need to understand what is happening right now in our community to bring more people, to engage more people. Because three or four years ago, we had this huge community, and all of a sudden, it really shrunk a bit. Now we don’t have many WordCamps. We have like two in a year for contrast because Brazil is not much. So we really need to give some attention to the base work and talk to people and engage them. Because WordPress is really huge here, but the community is not really representing the size of the engagement we have here. Liam: You might not have the answer, so I’m not trying to put you on the spot. The decline of the activity of the Brazilian WordPress community, is that likely to be related to COVID-19? Or do you think there’s another factor there? Anyssa: Well, COVID certainly had an impact. But it was even before that all the pandemic and quarantine. I think that WordPress is really to…we have different tools here that have a bigger marketing approach. I don’t know how to express this. The other tools I think make more effort to make…Sorry. Liam: No, you’re doing fine. Your English is fantastic compared to my Brazilian, my Portuguese. So carry on. I’m definitely following you. It’s a different approach, but just take your time and share it as you’d like. We’re definitely understanding. Anyssa: Okay. The other tools like Wix or other e-commerce platforms, they are really investing in marketing and people are migrating to these other tools. Sometimes people still see WordPress as the armature tools. Liam: Yeah, armature tools. Sure. Anyssa: Like something that is not an enterprise or something that is for you to build just a simple blog, is not really a professional tool. So we really have this work of educating the market here. That’s why I said that our community is super…because everyone works day and night telling people, “No, WordPress does not have security problems.” It has some security problems as any other software would have. So we have to keep educating people in the very basic stuff. That’s most of the difficulty of the community we have here is about this. Liam: That’s a real challenge to educate folks about the realities of WordPress because, of course, it has its security flaws and risks. But every content management system does. And to say that WordPress is more vulnerable than others is…I mean, it’s difficult as a small agency to have any kind of scientific data that says, actually, it’s no more so. I mean, anecdotally and professionally we can say it’s not but there’s just…At least I’m aware of. Tara, do you know of anywhere you could point to a study or a blog post that says these are the topmost insecure content management system? Because WordPress might be hacked the most, but it’s also the most widely used. So inevitably, it’s going to be the most hacked. That makes sense. Yeah, that’s a challenge. Tara: Yeah, for sure. I’m also curious when we talk about challenges if you would talk to us a little bit about being the co-founder of an agency and what challenges you found doing that, being your own boss and running an agency and working with clients. Talk to us a little bit about your experience there and what the challenges are. Anyssa: Well, it certainly was a challenge. It still is. But I feel like the first challenge is that we were very young at the time we founded. I was 19. Tara: Wow, that’s impressive. Anyssa: I said that working with website development was my first job. It also was my only job. So I just had this one job. Then I went, “Oh, you know what, let’s start our own thing.” This was the first challenge. We didn’t have much experience and network and anything. We just knew that we wanted to do something different than we were experienced in our jobs. Then we started studying and learning everything we could. The WordPress community really helped us at a key moment in our company because we started doing everything we could about design. Like, “Do you need some print or logo?” Anything you could think of we would do. So when we started seeing that building websites with WordPress were a possibility, we went to the community and we asked a lot of help. First to build our own website, and then what we learned, we started doing for clients. This was one of the biggest challenges is to learn how to adapt really fast because we didn’t have so much previous experience. I think those were the main challenges. Now is like, how can we keep a sustainable business and think about growing and bringing more business? And also the pandemic, right, it’s a big challenge for everyone. Tara: Yeah, for sure. So you started this with a friend. How has that worked out? Anyssa: Yeah, I started t
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