It's a treat to get paid to do what you enjoy doing most. It's what
everyone wants out of their job. I'm lucky enough to have found such
a job; in my case, it's web design. I have some sort of strange fetish
with sitting down in front of a monitor and creating elaborate designs
I am a child of the Internet. While I'm not one of the first to have
used it, I did first log on in 1994. I'm part of the oldest generation
of people to have started using the 'Net as a teenager. This stuff's
hard-wired into me now.
The Internet provides a medium which to this day remains lightly
appreciated and utilized. Unlike other mediums, the Internet provides
feedback between the sender and the receiver, and in the world of
web design, few have taken the opportunity to exploit this.
I began working on web sites primarily from a personal site author's
point of view. Personal sites are, on the whole, more expressive
and creative than commercial sites, since the expression comes from
the heart, and not from the wallet. It is not in the best interest
of a commercial designer to experiment with designs for sites, because
there may be some unwanted side-effect. It would be breaking from
the tried and true formulae of how to build successful web sites.
Unfortunately, such formulae do not create successful
web sites. Intelligent, balanced, experienced web designers who know
how to mix experimental design with accessibility and intuitive interface
create successful web sites.
That's where I come in. I seek to create a look and feel for a web
site -- something which brands it, makes it unique and stunning to look
at. It clearly has its own style, and separates itself from the pack.
Yet, at the same time, it should be highly functional and actually help,
not hurt business. What makes the style of a web site work is someone
who knows where the balance is. You can't find that in web designers
who don't have their own personal web sites. They're in it for the
money. Do they have a personal interest in creating unique, jaw-dropping
sites? Not really. As long as they get the check.
I've been on the Web since about 1995, and have
been on the 'Net since '94. I've worked with HTML and graphics since
Netscape Navigator v.1.1 was king, spent time in the Usenet and mailing
list trenches, gathering and comparing tips and hints about web design.
I've seen many iterations of even large corporate sites, and I've had
my hand in developing both personal and commercial sites.
Experience with all the Web tools is important for today's Web designers.
What I use primarily are Adobe Photoshop with Kai's Power Tools and Alien Skin
Black Box plugins, along with HomeSite, for HTML markup and file management.
ULead SmartSaver is excellent for image compression. (making a site faster
to download for impatient customers) I am also familiar with other graphics
programs such as Fractal Design Painter and Paint Shop Pro.
Experience with Web technology is vital as well. HTML, DHTML, Java,
Flash scripting? I work with it everyday, since I scatter such
features all over my site. None of these
technologies work particularly well on their own -- it requires tasteful
integration of them to truly take advantage of them. That is, tools are
not to be used just for the sake of using them. They must complement the
content and message. This sounds easy to say, but it's rarely followed
by web designers.
High quality graphics and layout are not all I do well -- my markup is
clear and concise, done by hand. It is typed such that it will work
on most all competent browsers (and not just Microsoft Internet Explorer
and Netscape Navigator) so you do not lose any possible business or
pleasure. If you view the source of this document, you will see that
it is easy to read with its indenting and spacing. I will leave in
comments for you so that you know where to add info or HTML tags, as
well. Some people gloat about how they only use Notepad or some simple
text editor to create web sites. While one may type in all the HTML,
it is infeasible to not use an HTML management program (like HomeSite),
particularly for larger projects. Do you really want someone who refuses
to use programs which can make site-wide changes to over 300 documents
in two minutes? Do you want someone who doesn't see the importance of
HTML validating programs (to ensure more compatibility) or link checkers?
Usually I design projects which load fast over the Internet. This
specific design advertisement, however, is loaded with graphics, but
of course, my intention is to sell my skills and a little extra
showboating is necessary.
I've worked on numerous projects. The first professional job I did
was for the Interweb Business Development
Group in 1996, but I've come a long way since then, from
experience and keeping up with the HTML and design newsgroups and sites.
The latest project I did was for Fred Turner, an esteemed poet, writer,
professor, and just about everything. His site,
getting quite a lot of activity from people who have long wished he
had a site online. Those were early projects. Since then, I have worked
on dozens of banner projects, site concepts and designs, and so on. I've
worked on collaborative, FrontPage, and independent projects -- it's
enriching to work on sites in different environments.
For a more complete listing of projects I've worked on, such as
Webmasters, Inc. and
Flash Flood, Inc., read my
resume. I'm currently available for freelance
remote work, since I'm at the University of Texas at Austin right
now and I can't relocate. But since most all work I do is for
remote servers, such as benturner.com,
I can handle not being present with ease.
In short, I'm engrossed in this stuff, the Web. Unlike most of my
peers, I actually use the Web for something other than work. Why is
that important? Because I have an interest in making sites that
live up to the Web's potential, that I can be proud of, that I can
say make the Web more aesthetically pleasing. This is supposed to
be fun, dammit.
me and we'll get started.