SASHA ENDOH CODE & DESIGN
MONTREAL, QC, CANADA
I built my first website when I was 14, some 20+ years ago. I’d love to say that this is when I fell in love with the craft and never looked back but what I actually did is get a degree in Microbiology first, thinking that I could make the world a better place by fighting contagious diseases. Eventually, I came back around to my passion for design and web-building and dove headfirst and elbows deep into every aspect of not only web-building but also every possible design avenue.
After first focusing on design, then development, I’m now happy to run my own digital agency that specializes in helping nonprofits have a great impact. I apply my science research skills to doing UX work while leading digital projects, mentoring new developers, and consulting with design teams (with a bit of dev work thrown in the mix from time to time). I’ve had my work featured in the Web Designer magazine as well as number of curated online showcases and have had the privilege of speaking at conferences around the world on topics ranging from using WordPress to build nonprofit websites to UX design, accessibility, flexible storytelling using WordPress, social responsibility in graphic design, and Gutenberg (the new WordPress editing experience).
I also regularly give back to the community by teaching coding workshops for women and girls and helping local nonprofits have a greater impact through organizing do_action_mtl, a WordPress hackathon for nonprofits.
HOW AND WHY DID YOU COME TO USE DESIGN TO ADVANCE SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE AND/OR SUSTAINABLE PROJECTS, CLIENTS AND CAUSES?
When I was a little girl I wanted to be a doctor, to help people live better lives. Well, a doctor or a visual artist. I feel like I get to do a bit of both now. Alas, when I realized just how long it would take to go through med school (and how much debt that would accumulate) the dream had to be put on pause. When I started doing design work, I quickly realized that I wasn’t interested in simply helping companies to make a buck. I also didn’t want to spend my days (and let’s face it, sometimes nights) working on projects that contributed nothing of value to society at large.
This is when I realized that the job of designers is actually to be gatekeepers (to borrow the term from Victor Papanek) and when my dream of helping people live better lives came off the backburner. The websites we build, branding we craft, and collaterals we create are all made with a purpose in mind. That purpose is generally to increase engagement, build authority, and allow our clients to do whatever it is they do better. This is the power of design and it comes with the responsibility to use it for good.
ARE THERE ANY SPECIAL CHALLENGES, OPPORTUNITIES, URGENCIES, OBSTACLES IN 2019?
I’ve been very pleased to see more conversations about the environmental footprint of digital work as part of the larger question of creating sustainable design. For our nonprofit clients, the challenge of ethical and secure data collection and storage has certainly come more to the forefront. Seeing initiatives like the GDPR in Europe gives me hope that our industry is getting much-needed regulation, even if it makes the technical work a bit more complex. I think that in the era where you can really build anything, it’s become ever more important to practice restraint and focus on ethics.