July 18, 2013

21st-Century Artistry at Angel MedFlight

By Angel MedFlight Contributor

He'll stare at his monitors intently, one headphone jack in, the other out as he listens to music that helps him visualize and create. Occasionally he thumps the desk to the beat of his tunes as he dreams up the newest animation to our web site or an effect that really pops in a video. Instead of creating with brushes or pens, this 21st-century artist animates with clicks of a mouse or code typed onto a keyboard. Meet Angel MedFlight Web Designer Peter Wagner.

Wagner is one of the newer employees at Angel MedFlight joining the company in May after nearly six years as a website administrator for a Tucson real estate company. Wagner helps bring the Angel MedFlight and Travel Assurance Promise websites to life, "by plotting out how the pages look and how the content sits on the page." Wagner also writes the coding, such as JavaScript, CSS and HTML. He helps make "it fancy and look nice."

JavaScript is what makes a static web page become dynamic. As one views the Angel MedFlight website, they'll see some of Wagner's work: photos slide in and out and clicks of a mouse unveil a banner revealing more text, photos and a video player.  "It's kind of slight-of-hand type stuff when you really look at the back-end code. It looks fancy but you're really just tricking the eye."

Wagner says, "Make it dynamic and interesting to look at for the consumer. Draw a person into the page and point them in the right direction. A lot of doing design and layout is where your eye lands when it first sees the page and then how it progresses through the different items on the page. "  He points out examples of his work showing the writer photos and text that change out with smooth fades. "It's a way to make the page look more interesting and engaging."

The Angel MedFlight website existed long before Wagner arrived and as he puts it, "I'm standing on the shoulder of giants." He realizes the engine was already humming when he got here and he's charged with maintaining and creating various add-ons and upgrades. "I'm taking elements that have already been built and tweaking and adjusting them," says Wagner.

He's also had a hand in Angel MedFlight's video production, adding 3D graphics to various titles. Some of his work can be seen in the patient series "My Real Life Moment, which debuted this month and documents the real stories of real Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance patients.

Wagner admits his mathematical mind helped him along the path to becoming a  web designer. A native of Tempe, Ariz., Wagner says he's always been fascinated with animation and will watch cartoons to this day. Of course, having a five-year-old daughter around the house makes that a daily experience.

Truly a Renaissance man, Wagner got into computers at a young age. Playing guitar and bass in bands led him to designing web sites for those bands. But  when it came to putting bread on the table, Wagner went to culinary school and worked in the restaurant business, opening two restaurants in Tucson.

But the 80-hour work weeks that come with managing restaurant kitchens didn't mesh too well with getting married and starting a family, so Wagner went back to his first love of web design. Angel  MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance
is glad that he did as his talents and creativity are a great addition to the company's business development team.

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