I first went online in 1988. Granted, the Internet wasn’t then what we know it to be now. I used a dumb terminal and an acoustic modem (with a blazing speed of 1200 bps!) to call a friend’s machine which was hard-wired into his company’s mainframe computer. (Back then there were perks to having computer genius friends who worked for Bell Labs in New Jersey.) The web was a different place then; you could only navigate by text commands in a UNIX-controlled universe. Eventually you could find the bulletin boards and places you wanted to visit for information or communication; it just took a ton of patience to get there. (And had all your friends wondering why your phone was busy every time they called.)
In the early 90s, my wife and I began saving for a major purchase – our first PC. (I had owned a couple of Apple computers back in the mid-80s but they were essentially just glorified word processors.) It should be noted that PC’s WERE major expenses back then – the advertisement to the left is my exact model listed at the same price I paid this (now defunct) national brand computer store for the latest and greatest. It had one (1) whole megabyte of RAM, a “huge” 40Mb hard drive and a built-in 2400 baud modem!
In 1994 I began work on my first website design; the first ever for my church’s governing body. It was clumsy, clunky, hard-coded HTML cobbled together with nothing more than the extinct Netscape Navigator Gold and a text editor. Glacially slow by today’s standards, plain and boring compared to any current example, it worked and the Presbytery of St. Augustine went online in the winter of 1995.
I first used WordPress in the winter of 2004. (It had been released a little more than a year before.) Since then I’ve designed and developed over 90 websites for businesses, government agencies, non-profit organizations, churches or individuals. In 2008, to help further develop my abilities, I did online coursework for advanced instruction in HTML, CSS and PHP languages through the O’Reilly School of Technology; an online partner with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a top-tier computer science university and a pioneer in online learning. While I do not and never will claim credentials as a computer programmer (I am a designer), I have in-depth coding skills that equip me to customize everything you could possibly want or need in your website. Using every tool available to make your site look great and function well is my passion. Perhaps the best analogy is comparing an architect / engineer to an interior designer: One can design a home that will last – the other helps you make it functional and look great.
All of which simply sets the context for what I do now. I know the code needed to make your website function perfectly. But my passion is making it look and feel exactly how YOU want it! (To a code geek, what matters most is never seen. To a designer like me, the color scheme, use of images, fonts, lines or shadows are just as important as the code.)
I believe – and often state – that “simple yet elegant” is the ultimate goal in website design. And I never forget that I achieve my goal with your website when YOU say it’s been achieved!
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