To be honest, I can’t really remember my first website that well. It was over 15 years ago so specific facts feel a little fuzzy. Before I was a ’proper’ web designer (which is what I call myself now) I was a graphic designer for print and before I did that I was a photographer for a very short time and that’s what I was doing when I built my first website.
At the time I was at art college in Bournemouth and heavily involved in music. A good friend worked at the local independent record shop (back when record shops still sold records) and asked if I’d be interested in looking into a website design. As I mentioned before, exact memories are a little faded (I was at college!), but from what I can remember I knew a bit about the web but absolutely nothing about how to make a website. Still, like all good students I needed the money so agreed to look into building a website for the record shop.
Im not sure whether it was the lure of money or the access to free music and beer that drove me on, but armed with a copy of the latest web magazine and whatever other information I could get my hands on I set about learning how websites were made. My first real experience in front of a computer coding was very different to reading about it on paper. At the back of the shop was a set of stairs going down into a basement that was no bigger than a very small single bedroom. The room was full from floor to ceiling with records with a small space left for a PC. Windows 94 at its best! In this dark basement with the sound of dJ’s checking out the latest vibes (that’s it, that’s what e record shop was called – Vibe Records!) floating down from above I set about trying to construct a website.
All I really remember is battling with tables, endless nested tables just to get a logo in the right part of the screen. There was no CSS, or not that I knew off and html 1 was all I had to use. I remember swearing a lot trying to hand code complicated table layouts with rows and columns and spacer gifs. It took weeks of sweat and tears and checking in Netscape navigator (go and check it out kids, it’s the granddaddy of all modern browsers) to create a very basic website but I was very proud and the shop was very pleased. 12 months later the shop had gone and so had
my their website.
What would I do differently? Well, pretty much everything actually. The web is a totally different place these days and the web design industry has gone through many changes in the last 15 years. I saw the death and rebirth of the web design industry and how it’s come alive in the last few years with a fantastic community. It’s like no other industry I know. I’d do everything different today if I built that website again but then I’d probably do it different if I built it again in 12 months time. The web design industry moves that fast. That’s why working in this industry is so exciting and why you should always be learning and why you should treat every website like its your first.
This article is an entry about website design for the 123-reg My 1st Website competition . You can see more info here…http://www.123-reg.co.uk/first-website-competition.shtml