Why I love my job

(And why I make each website the best that it can be.)

WebWeaver responsive screens

I have a perfectionist's eye for detail and strive for excellence in everything I do. I also love to learn.

Web development is a wonderful combination of creativity and logic, and I see the development of every website as a puzzle to complete - how can I replicate this mockup pixel-perfectly and make it work as a functioning website with the tidiest possible code. I love that - I love working on a beautifully-designed website, turning that design into reality, and exceeding the expectations of the client.

Good web design and development requires both creative and logical thought-processes, as well as a good deal of common sense. Having years of experience helps too. Your website acts as an important part of your marketing strategy, and needs to be designed as an integral part of that, as well as being accessible and easy to use.

I specialise in building CSS-based and responsive websites, in HTML5 or XHTML, using JavaScript libraries such as jQuery to create dynamic visual effects and user interface elements when required, and I love the challenge that goes with that. "Good enough" isn't good enough for me. It has to be perfect. I expect my sites to be consistent across at least 8 browsers on Mac and PC, plus a wide range of mobile devices for responsive sites, with no bugs or errors, and to meet (and exceed) New Zealand e-government accessibility guidelines. That they validate to W3C standards goes without saying.

I have worked on over 250 websites during the past 19 years - covering all aspects of the web design process, including scoping, IA and UX, design, front-end development, responsive design/dev, image creation and manipulation, client liaison and project management. So when I'm designing and developing websites I understand the process from start to finish, and am aware of the range of technical implementation issues, and can plan for them effectively.

I have also written and taught HTML courses and seminars on the web design management process, and was technical editor for the Open Polytechnic's web design course in 2004.

In 2007 I was selected for the New Zealand team at the inagural international website building competition, FullCodePress. Our team, the Code Blacks, competed against a team from Australia, creating a fully-functioning website for a non-profit organisation in only 24 hours. In a close-fought race, the Code Blacks emerged triumphant, with our website for Grampians disAbility Advocates Association.

As a contractor I am expected to hit the ground running, and to provide excellent service with the minimum of supervision, and I love the discipline that goes with it - including meeting deadlines, and staying within budget. As an employee I have the same attitude - I see my job as one of making everything as easy as possible for the rest of the team, of going the extra mile to produce a great product and being an integral part of that team. I really value being able to work with other creative people, bouncing ideas around, learning from and teaching each other, and working together to create the best possible product.

InterLink screenshot

When I did the InterLink project way back in 1996/97, I clearly saw the communicative value of the internet. Linking groups of 13 year-olds across the globe was an amazing experience, and one which taught me as much as it taught them. My favourite quote has to be from St Peter's - an all-boys Catholic school in Derry, Northen Ireland, who wrote:

"New Zealand has a famous rugby team, who are all black, we think...."

The British kids initially believed that New Zealand is a big desert full of kangaroos, poisonous creatures and native people who run around wearing grass skirts, and the Kiwi kids assumed that everyone in the UK either lives on cobbled streets and talks like characters from Coro Street - or else they're really posh.

By the end of the 6 months, all the kids knew a hell of a lot more about each other - and could see both the differences and the similarities - and I realised that this is something I love about the internet - the opportunity it gives us to communicate, to understand, to empathise and to accept each other - wherever we live, whatever our race, colour, creed or gender.

When I started designing websites in 1996 it was all so new we pretty much taught ourselves as we went along; and we developed our skills and expanded the capabilities of the internet by trial and error, through experimentation and learning from each other.

I still love that about the web. The technology moves so fast we're all running to keep up, and that's brilliant - I'll never stop wanting to learn new stuff, teach myself new skills and set myself new challenges.

That's why I can be relied upon to build not only the best possible website, on time and within budget, but to be constantly striving for perfection, using all the tools available to create the perfect communication tool for each client.

If you'd like to get in touch to discuss any of the work I've done, please feel free to email me or contact me on the phone numbers below.