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About This Site (and Me)

As I mentioned in the Home Page, I developed this site as a bit of a showcase for my Web design talents. I'm an exceptionally good Web designer, but I don't pursue it as a living. I actually make my living managing professional software development for an internationally-renowned camera manufacturer. I do this stuff because I don't feel that my creative muscles get enough exercise in my day job.

Some guys play music.

Some guys do artwork.

I do Web sites.

Since I come from a professional engineering, as well as from a creative background, I'm really good at getting the job done right. A Web site is an engineering effort, every bit as much as it is a creative effort. Web sites are expensive and time-consuming. There is a heck of a lot more to Web design than slapping a few HTML pages onto a server.

There is also a heck of a lot less to 90% of sites than those super-massive systems that Fortune 500 corporations need to run their intranets and CRM systems. Those are multimillion-dollar projects that require armies of consultants, dedicated servers and a dozen interacting technologies. If that's what you need, then I'm probably not your man.

However, as I have done a bunch of non-profit sites, I've gotten very good at doing a lot with a little. I don't do sites that have GPRs much over 3 or 4, so the servers are cheap and teeny. I use open source and free technologies where possible, and I don't need to subcontract stuff.

I also don't need to do this for a living, which is both good and bad. Since I'm not having to battle for every site, I can choose only the ones that interest me, but it also means that I may not be as "bleeding edge " as many Web designers. This is not a bad thing, as you should be conservative when producing a production site. "Bleeding edge" is for people who want to show off, and I believe that production sites should be solid and usable, as well as arresting and attractive. You don't get solid and usable from the very latest. You need to let things mature a bit.

I can write heavy-duty active sites in PHP and Perl, I can write good relational MySQL, I know how to manage projects and I'm a pretty good graphic designer. I also know XHTML, CSS and JavaScript (You know, DOM, AJAX and all that.)

Now, why is this site special?

For one thing, every single page validates XHTML 1.1 and WAI-AAA (Priority 3).

Also, many people base their site on a single CMS (Content Management System). With some plugins and whatnot, most CMS systems give you 95% of what you need to run your own site. Since most sites seem to be blogs these days, blog engines, like WordPress seem to take the lion's share of the site CMS business.

I want TWO CMS systems. I use WordPress for my blog, and Gallery 2 for my image gallery. Notice how seamlessly they fit into the theme of this site? This is because I made a custom theme for each that goes right into this site. Most Webmasters use either unmodified, or very slightly modified versions of the "canned" themes. Gallery 2, in particular, is a real bear to theme. It has a geek factor of 11, and is the most complex CMS project I have ever seen. It was quite a job to write the themes. However, they seem to work rather well, don't you think? Notice also, that every one of THEIR pages validates properly.

Another feature of this site is that all the navigation, all those fancy rollovers and whatnot, are done with no JavaScript at all. They are done with XHTML and CSS 2. That may not mean much to many people, but it basically means that the site is very simple and very robust. I have tested it on a number of different browsers, and solved several rendering problems without having to resort to special CSS hacks or JavaScript tricks.

I know how to do neat Macromedia Flash tricks, but that is a technique that is best used sparingly. Notice that I chose not to hit you with my Site Intro Page. It is just too much for most users.

And finally, I take a GREAT DEAL of care in all my sites. I'm a big usability fan, and I try to exercise it in all of my designs. Notice things like the links to pages being turned off when that page is selected (look at the "About This Site" link, directly below this page.) These little details mean a LOT. My Web sites are designed to be practical, tough, robust and useful. Information is presented well, I don't use excessive navigation (for example, this site is too small to necessitate breadcrumbs, so I won't use them, although they do appear in the two CMS systems.)

In summary, I'm pretty good at this stuff. If I choose to do your site, it will rock like a big-time site on a shoestring budget. There are a lot of good designers out there, and every one of them is striving to outdo each other. That seems like a waste of energy, so I strive to outdo myself. That seems to work for me.

If you are interested, contact me.

Housekeeping: Every image and every word on this site is/are protected by copyright, with the exception of quotes and whatnot. In those cases, I provide attributions.

If this site is so kewl, why'd it take ten seconds to render the first page?

That's because I have chosen to use no JavaScript in my page rendering or navigation, and I am relying on only CSS. This means all those images and rollovers you see are being drawn as background images underneath the important stuff, which is the page content. After the main page has rendered, all the subsequent pages will go just fine.

If you will notice, all the text and navigation links on the page appeared immediately in their correct positions. There was none of that annoying "reflow" you get with so many "Web 2.0" pages, where you head for a navigation link to click on it, but, by the time you get there, it moved out of the way for an ad for incontinence control products, so your click winds up showing you adult diapers instead of information about AJAX.

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