A conversation with Stephanie Troeth

I discovered a very interesting woman in the course of getting ready for SXSW. My co-presenter for a SXSW Interactive panel, Stephanie Troeth, is that woman. Luckily, she agreed to an interview of sorts, since I thought you would like to know more about her, too.

Steph is a member of the Web Standards Project (WaSP), a grassroots organization working for the adoption of web standards. She’s a co-lead of the International Liason Group and serves on the Education Task Force at WaSP. Steph said she became interested in web standards because of an excellent mentor she had while in college. To Steph, web standards and usability just made sense. She calls them elegant. They save time, work, and create beautiful results.

Her involvement with WaSP began in 2003 when she was recruited to work by Molly Holzschlag after Molly saw some work she did for an outfit called MACCAWS. Steph’s personal website is unadorned.org, where she laments that everything is out of date. You can see a few examples of her poetry and other writing there, even though she is too busy working and traveling to promote web standards to keep it updated often.

Steph has a computer science degree. Her minor is in musical composition, and she performed on the keyboards from the age of 7 all the way through college. Although she is not composing music right now, she retains a strong interest in the arts, music and–get this–modern street art. As we strolled around the streets of downtown Austin today, she kept remarking on how square everything was. I must get her away from downtown so she can sample some of Austin’s very unsquare and famously weird ambience.

She was born in Borneo, is of mostly Chinese extraction, went to college in Australia, and now works in Montreal. You can see where her interest in using standards for the internationalization of web sites came from! Her day job at a Montreal company bills her as Director of Technology and Web Development. Part of that job is to hire people in the web development area, a job made more difficult because the college graduates she has to choose from are not often taught to use web standards as a best practice.

If you are at SXSW, come by on Sunday at 4:00 to see our talk on Best Practices in Teaching Web Design. Steph will also be participating in the WaSP panel on Monday at 5:00. Catch her in both places.

This is cross-posted at BlogHer.

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