My interview with Michael Nguyễn from Tiếng Magazine.
We are conducting a series of interviews with some of the Vietnamese Americans behind successful websites. First up is Donny Truong of Visualgui.com.
Donny Truong runs the popular Vietnamese American blog – Visualgui.com. We caught up with him to chat about running a website, the design business, and blogs.
TM: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us Donny. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What is your background?
I was born in My Tho, Vietnam and came to the US 12 years ago. I am currently a web designer at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. I am also running a personal website (visualgui.com) and a tribute site to a talented Vietnamese singer Ngoc Lan (iLoveNgocLan.com) with a couple of dedicated fans. I love design and it is probably the only thing I am good at.
TM: Your site Visualgui was rated best Vietnamese blog by a couple sites. What do you think goes into creating a successful blog?
Oh really? I am not even aware of it. From a designer perspective, a successful blog must be attractive, accessible, and easy to use. Obviously, content is still the heart and soul of the blog. I write regularly and I choose topics that interested me. For example, Vietnamese food, Vietnamese music, hip hop music, design books, and inspiration.
TM: Has your Vietnamese background influenced the way you design websites?
Good question. I don’t think my background influenced my design but Vietnamese music has inspired my work. For example, the motion piece I created called “Một Chút Quà Cho Quê Hương” was inspired by Việt Dũng’s emotional lyrics and Ngọc Lan’s remarkable performance.
TM: Could you describe the Vietnamese American community (if there is one) over on the east coast? Over here on the west coast the community is quite large – how does it compare over there?
From where I am living now (Poughkeepsie, NY), I can’t even find a Vietnamese person, except for the nails parlor at the mall. I wish there is a Vietnamese Community here.
TM: Did you immigrate here with your family?
Yes! I came here with my mom and older sister.
TM: Has the internet made it possible for you to find a Vietnamese community online?
Yes! The Internet rocks. It made it possible for me to get to know many Ngoc Lan’s fan around the world. Even though we have never met, they are like a big family to me. We even call iLoveNgocLan.com our home on the web.
On my own site, I have met quite a few fine Vietnamese folks who have great taste in music and I learn a lot from them.
TM: Last questions, where do you see the Vietnamese community online heading? Have you noticed a bigger presence online? Whats in the future for you?
Obviously there are tons of Vietnamese organizations on the web but I think we are still behind with technology. I haven’t seen too many sites that use Web Standards and CSS. Fortunately, I see that in Tiếng Magazine, good job! I am glad that you have started on online mag gearing toward young Vietnamese American. I don’t see anything in the future for me as far as the Vietnamese Community.
TM: Thanks for the interview, Donny.