Confessions of a web designer
As a web developer I have a confession to make. It was a few years after college life before I even hit the start button on a computer.
Only in the last year of school did I hear the rumble of the computer age. I heard this distant thunder from some of my fellow art students who had crossed over to the dark side and had taken graphic design satellite classes at a nearby technical college. You see, I attended a very traditional, almost fundamentalist, fine art school, and commercial art was, well, commercial, not from the heart.
I stayed true to my figurative drawings and paintings of fruit, and all from strict observation. And, too, at the time the bitmapped printouts of computer design projects from my fellow students from the computer graphics courses were not captivating.
But a few years later, certainly by the mid-nineties, the computer age brought about an impressive suite of desktop software and printing products. After graduation I found myself with few business skills, other than my painting and drawing skills (emphasizing this was done only from observation), and I didn’t have enough accomplished work, or desired work, of nude drawings or oil paintings of apples and bananas to pay the bills.
Getting into the game with any type of illustration or design job was going to take more work, and a different mindset to the working world.
Thankfully, I did realize the value of our commercial world, a little later than some I admit, and I wanted to explore it. I took those same graphic design classes as my fellow students had done at a technical community college with teachers who offered stories of real-world experience. (I loved the experience of the community college and recommend anyone to look into a good community/technical college to start out their career rather than find themselves saddled with a big university debt – but obviously another big topic…).
I landed a job in the marketing department of a regional newspaper. In another way I had crossed over to the dark side, the newspaper publishing side of graphic design — I didn’t work in a design house or for an ad agency. But I loved working for a publication. I enjoyed the quick work for the daily newspaper and collaborating with other departments to integrate the content and the images.
I took all the HTML classes offered by the publisher (they too saw the digital age on its way) and from continuing education classes. Later designing websites with tables was totally “O-U-T” and CSS was king.
Now with a few programming and networking skills gathered from workshops in Content Management Systems and courses in Web Marketing, I feel in the middle of the digital movement. At the same time, I didn’t grow up with these tools and I still find myself discovering new ways of creating short-cuts or using tools on mobile and tablet devices that seem simply innate and intuitive to the current generation.
But a lot of what I do have, while not as technically savvy, are skills developed over time – listening and discovering what is at the heart of a project. First a web developer should find out what the client needs and define what the client wants to see happen with their website projects. From that point, you use or find the technical skills needed to successfully complete the project.
With my experiences in hand I continue this discovery of the digital age. And with amazement I see glimpses of what will likely come in the future to advance our world, whether or not I will be in its midst by that time isn’t the issue.
Published by Cindy Barnard, web content strategist
Molding my "Approach to Art and the Written Word" by observing color and following light, form, and time. Always learning new ways of working and interacting within local and online communities. Taking in the sights and sounds and making notes.