Designed

Reading time: 3 mins

I’ve recently rebuilt my PC, whilst doing so I took some extra time to clear out duplicate and old files and I came across the archives for this site, well what passes for archives at any rate as I’m not the most forward thinking or organised person.

Looking at those early attempts at HTML (via an angelfire home page.. then Xoom.. before my first ‘own’ page via LineOne) and how much I’ve learned since, made me realise that my ‘web tinkerings’ are actually a very good indication of my growth as a person.

I created my first website in late 1995 (I still have the certificate from the course I went on) for the company I was working for, it was cutting edge. It had frames, javascript mouseovers and coloured text; it was designed on a PC running Windows 95 BETA. It was a hodge-podge of borrowed ideas and hacked code but it did the job. At the same time I started creating my own pages, mainly just links of sites I admired, with a little blurb about me included. The design changed frequently as I used the site both as a resource for myself, and as an area to discover and tinker with the ever expanding HTML specification.

This version of my ‘site’ kept that format until 1998, then everything changed. Whilst surfing I started to notice more than just the design of a site, the clever use of tables and images or a nice colour scheme, I started to notice the content far more than I had previously. I had long since passed the point that I needed to think about how a nice design was done (ohhh 7 levels of nested tables with colspan=2, that’s clever) and found it cleared my mind to focus on the content. Move on another year or so and I started to notice how the design and the content were inseparable, Ask Tog, Use It and A List Apart became regular haunts, and CSS crept into view.

Zoom up to 2004 and look back. So much has changed, and in such a short space of time.

I can still remember my first day of my first job, meeting all those new people, being given a seat by the door in a small room at the back of a cottage outhouse. I can remember learning about my job, what a technical author does, what he needs to know, who he needs to know and how vital documentation is to a product. I can dream back to the good days at Dr.Solomon’s and Sage Tetra, and then amaze myself when I figure out I’ve been with my current company for almost 4 and a half years (and 4 changes of company name).

I can remember that first day, nervous, unsure and eager, then becoming comfortable and settled, learning but coping with each new challenge. The shock of being made redundant and job hunting, talking about moving down to the South of England, journeys on the sleeper to attend interviews, and finally starting a new job, a new home, a new chapter in my/our life. I remember the next chapter all too well, redundant again, sliding down into depression, then onto the new job, restarting everything in my life. Then the decision to move back to Scotland, for better or worse? Still to find that one out.

I grown and aged, matured slightly. Superficially nothing much has changed, when I started my first job I had a mortgage and was planning to get married. Almost 10 years later and I still have mortgage and I’m very happily married. But that’s a mis-representation of how I’ve grown. I’ve been through a lot of good and bad, learnt a lot (still learning!) and changed myself. I don’t think that process will ever stop, in fact I know it won’t ever stop as it’s my nature to challenge things, to question ideas, even if I don’t have the knowledge with which to challenge them properly.

Today things are much more confusing. We have CSS layouts, XML feeds, PHP, SQL databases and more to deal with, to learn about. We have their inadequacies and faults, quirks and mistakes to become accustomed to and I’m loving every second of it.

Today things are much more confusing. We have changing principles, challenges to our ethics, work and money worries and more to deal with, to learn about. We have our own inadequacies and faults, quirks and mistakes to become accustomed to and I’m loving every second of it.

I’m re-designing myself.