Hey, I got a website…again

Obviously I do have a website, you’re reading it right now. I haven’t had one in a long time, twenty years in fact. I decided it was time to have a place to house my ideas and artwork again.

I started in web design in about 1996. I was really into the whole idea of the internet, you could see it building itself from scratch. I designed my first pages using something called Adobe GoLive as it was one of the first WSYWYG editors, and it was Adobe, so I was familiar with it. Being a visual person it was easier for me to start with this, I could create something and simultaneously see the code being built.

It took me a while to get the code part down, but I started to understand it. It was my first real programming language. I loved the fact, that if you wanted to see how something was built you could just look into the code. It was fascinating for me to see different techniques and styles being used. Funny enough, I recall the early porn sites were the ones who broke through with interesting designs and were leading the space in a lot of ways.

Then Flash arrived, that was a game changer, it has since passed on. I had to learn it, and I did, building full sites with it, accessibility be damned. It allowed a good deal of animation and sound effects, and I remember that movie promo sites, and music sites really started to exploit the capabilities. Flash also had ActionScript which would allow you to take it to another level.

I had moved into web design from graphic design, which a lot of people did. It also attracted engineers, programmers and you started to see the evolution of a skillset that was both creative and technical at the same time. It was weird to me because it was like both sides of the brain are working in concert more than ever. I started to see these people form right before my eyes. I loved it.

In the early web days, having a site was like having a small store on a little strip mall in the middle of no where. You had your own little space, you could do whatever you want, and let anyone in the world come and check it out. It was cool.

My first portfolio site built in Flash/HTML in 1999.

My first site was a place to put all the various web work I had been doing. Once I started to learn it there was no shortage of people who wanted websites. Small businesses, professionals, everyone wanted their own little corner, so I had started to collect some items. I decided to use Flash for the nav, so its hard to show now, but I did make a non-flash version (which you had to do back then). You can see it here. It’s crude, but it worked for what I needed.

I started to get more and more freelance, and I switched gears full time. in 1999 I even had an idea for a parody website, that made fun of stuff and just a place to flex some comedic muscles. I got a couple of my friends to help with content. It was called Skewed.com, and you can check out an old version here. It’s a little broken in places, but you can get the gist from the good amount of content that made it. It’s a bit out there.

It was really fun, and we even made a second version, really just and update. You can see that here as well. I have to admit it still makes me laugh.

The thing I realized, as with a blog which I tried a couple of times. is that you need to maintain it. It’s a real job updating a personal site, I found out quickly that I did not have the bandwidth for that at that time. So like a bunch of other personal sites, the cobwebs started to grow.

Once I got full-time work creating websites, I was happy to build websites for other people. I repulsed at building my own. For the last twenty years my homepage has been a holding page, just so someone wouldn’t think I was out of business.

We’ve gone through a cycle of different backends, and platforms for building a site, and a great deal has changed. I’m not looking for a job as a site designer but I keep up with front-end development to keep my skills sharp. My job has me spending more time in After Effects creating videos than doing development work.

I went through a bunch of frameworks and tried to learn a lot of new things but I started to get overwhelmed. I realized that my skills were creative, visual more than coding. I saw that learning code for my visual brain was hard, and even though I learned a lot, I never felt as if I owned it. So I’m trying to focus my efforts on what I do best, which is on the creative side, but like many, I straddle the code/design tightrope well. I’ve learned to communicate better with developers and designers having worked through both practices.

I can’t guarantee this site will be updated any better, but I have a lot to say so the blog section should be pretty active.