I hail from the Pacific Northwest and grew up in a family of artists and scientists. Web design offers a nice balance of left- and right-brain-work I find very stimulating. I studied anthropology in college and, perhaps surprisingly, I consider my web design career to be a natural extension of the study of human culture. For example, I try to immerse myself in the culture and atmosphere of a business or organization in order to reflect that back through their online presence.
I began my design career in 1995 with an Art Director Internship at an ad agency called Herring/Newman. I designed a poster for the Herring/Newman internship program that was nominated for a Cleo award. The agency needed a website so I taught myself HTML and helped to design and build a site for them. Things were pretty primitive on the web back then and there was only one browser to worry about: Netscape 1.0. As the web has evolved to become a more sophisticated media platform, I’ve kept current with the latest HTML and CSS, refined my design skills and learned a lot about usability and SEO along the way.
From 1997 to 2009 I worked in the high tech world at RealNetworks. I had the chance while there to work on one of the top 10 most highly trafficked web sites in the world (Real.com in 1997 – 1999). I often worked on homepage designs that were A/B tested for effectiveness. This gave me amazing, firsthand experience with usability. You could see, for example, from the click-through stats that two columns worked better than three; people responded differently to hypertext links than they did to button links that went to the same place. You could also see that simplicity and white space won out over cramming every available nook and cranny with product promotions and calls to action.
From 2000 through 2003, I worked for a division of RealNetworks called RealImpact that created websites for nonprofits. During my time with RealImpact, I had the honor of designing sites for The Jane Goodall Institute, Earthjustice, The Museum of Flight and many other wonderful organizations. My later years at RealNetworks were spent in the content side of the business, especially in music and on Rhapsody.
In 2005, I created a textile design company and started designing rugs. I find that there is a nice affinity between web and rug design — both involve working on a grid, one using pixels as the basic design unit, the other individual knots of wool.
More recently, I’ve been designing websites for small businesses on a freelance basis. I’ve become increasingly interested in WordPress and my latest sites are all done in WordPress. My use of WordPress runs the gamut from restyling existing themes to creating child themes to creating unique, custom themes. I’ve been a part of the Seattle WordPress community since 2011.