Interview with Andrew Bossola
Andrew Bossola, founder and designer at Oasis Creative, is one of those rare “true” WordPress experts. And when we say expert we don’t mean someone who works with WP occasionally. We mean that Andrew has spent the last 13 years working all day, everyday within WordPress. From custom themes to plugin development, there’s nobody who does Wordpress better.
One of the secrets behind Oasis Creative is that Andrew’s clients get the one-point-of contact service that freelancers are known for with the service of a full-blown agency. We had the chance to pick Andrew’s brain about what makes the heart of Oasis Creative beat and where he thinks the future of design is headed next.
Q - How did you get into this industry?
Andrew - I first started to learn HTML about 17 years ago, while in College at VCU in Richmond VA. I picked up a job at a law firm doing phone support for a pre paid legal company. One day the owner said, “we need an intranet, who here can build websites?”. I was in school for Copywriting / Advertising so I had a few classes in design along the way, which, obviously made me a total professional web developer (sarcasm). So I raised my hand and he gave me 10 hours a week to sit on an old Mac in my own office. I learned how to use Adobe Dreamweaver, Adobe Fireworks and some other basic industry standard apps at the time.
Once I graduated VCU, I looked for a job and was hired by the Weinstein JCC in Richmond, VA. That’s where I really cut my teeth on print, web design and web development. I really wish we had access to something like CloudApp back in those days. So I learned a ton about the printing process and it’s why I am a print broker / consultant today. It’s not as dying as everyone thinks.
Q - What are the workflows at Oasis where you see teams using CloudApp?
Andrew - Most clients don’t want the hassle of using some kind of app like Asana or BaseCamp. Essentially, we spec out a project, agree on a price, sign a contract, plan, wireframe, design, build, host and then implement marketing strategies. Almost in every one of those steps, I use CloudApp. Whether I am talking to a developer I am working with, a client or a vendor, I use CloudApp anytime I can save a few words or make life easier for someone I am trying to explain something to. I simply could not live without it.
Q- Other tech used at Oasis?
Andrew - I’ve been using using and loving Asana for project management lately. I was using Trello for a while but Asana added support for “Boards” and that was it for me. Of course, I couldn’t live without CloudApp. I basically speak in clipboard pastes these days. From customer support, design and general communication between clients, CloudApp has made my life unbelievably easier. A picture is worth a thousand words… or something like that, right?
For Cart66 Support, we’ve been using Help Scout, which I like a lot. The mobile version has come a long way and is pretty functional.
Q - How much is your work focused on user experience and content?
Andrew - User experience and content are king in my eyes. Great branding is a huge plus. At the same time, you can have the prettiest website in the world but if users can’t figure out how to checkout or contact you, it's a total failure. Conversions and leads put money in my client’s pockets. None of that is possible without a good user experience and good content.
Q - Where do you look for inspiration in your day-to-day work?
Andrew - My kids are probably my biggest form of inspiration. Second to that, WordPress. I keep very up to date with what is going on with the latest features in the core, plugins and the rest of the community. There are so many themes in the WordPress world, you can really find a lot of inspiration just looking through the marketplace. I subscribe to a few industry publications as well, but there really is endless inspiration online. For example, for logo inspiration, https://logopond.com/ is my go to.
Q - What does the future of product look like?
Andrew - Digital and subscription based. (and delivered by a drone)
Q - What prompted the idea to start Oasis Creative? What excited you about it?
Andrew - I had a friend freelancing and living the dream at the beach, surfing whenever he wanted. I love advertising, I love web development and design, and I love to surf. Nothing I have found provides more freedom than working for yourself and making your own hours. My experience in Ad School really provided a solid foundation for understanding branding and the big picture of things. Because of that, I can do more than just offer simple freelance design or development. Every day is something new too, I can switch from print work to WordPress and back to something like logo design all day long. There is never a dull moment–that’s what keeps me excited about it.
Q - What’s your favorite book? And your favorite film?
Andrew - I’d say my favorite book was the Lord of the Ring series. As for film, that’s a tough one. I actually minored in Film so it would be a long list. The Lord of the Rings movies are good too. I’m really not that much of a nerd, I swear. (Removes Gandalf cloak. Totally kidding).
Q - As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Have you fulfilled your hopes?
Andrew - When I grew up I wanted to be happy. I wanted to be a musician or a pro surfer. I’ve done the whole tour with a band, record albums and play in front of 20K+ people thing. So I am good there. Having 3 homeschooled kids, a stay at home wife (running her own Doula Business) and a home office does not make it easy to be up until 4am every night. We opened for bands like The Wailer or the Jerry Garcia Band and Los Lobos. We recorded several albums and even had a tour bus. As far as the Pro surfer thing goes, I get to surf when there are waves and I am happy with that. So, yes, I have fulfilled my hopes :)