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Date 2 January 2014
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Dribbble, Jan Martin attracts many followers with his visual design skills. Unlike many designers, Jan is incredibly humble about what he has achieved. “Stop following what the visionary designers think,” he says. “There is no wrong or right way. We need to create our own things and always design with our heart.”

Jan grew up in the small city of Brandenburg, about 70 kilometers south of Berlin. After graduating from the Berlin Design Academy with a degree in Communication Design, he cofounded 6Wunderkinder (literally, “6 wonder kids”) back in 2010. Since then, he has been the company’s lead designer, responsible for the visual design of the popular Wunderlist and the company’s website, blog, social-network sites and branding.

6Wunderkinder’s current headquarters are located on the top floor of a “Berliner Hinterhof” (a Berlin courtyard), with extensive views of the city. The building is one of many coworking spaces that host an array of up-and-coming startups in the “Mitte.” Despite its German roots, 6Wunderkinder has a diverse team of employees coming from over 15 countries.

The original three founders — Christian, Robert and I — have been good friends since we were in school. Prior to starting 6Wunderkinder, we founded a Web design agency called Innovatics. This is how we met the other founders, Charlette, Daniel and Sebastian. Christian is the CEO who runs the company. Charlette is our finance lady who takes care of all our salaries and operations. Robert was the marketing and PR guy. And Sebastian is the designer behind the entire first version of Wunderlist and Wunderkit.

When working with full-stack JavaScript, you’ll often focus on creating single-page applications (SPAs). Most Web developers are tempted more than once to try their hand at SPAs. I’ve built several (mostly proprietary), and I believe that they are simply the future of Web applications. Have you ever compared an SPA to a regular Web app on a mobile connection? The difference in responsiveness is in the order of tens of seconds.

(Note: Others might disagree with me. Twitter, for example, rolled back its SPA approach. Meanwhile, large websites such as Zendesk are moving towards it. I’ve seen enough evidence of the benefits of SPAs to believe in them, but experiences vary.)

If SPAs are so great, why build your product in a legacy form? A common argument I hear is that people are worried about SEO. But if you handle things correctly, this shouldn’t be an issue: You can take different approaches, from using a headless browser (such as PhantomJS) to render the HTML when a Web crawler is detected to performing server-side rendering with the help of existing frameworks.

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