Since high school I have been interested in different ways of combining images, movement, narrative, and music. In spring 1994 I was introduced to what they called the World Wide Web via a text-based browser, but became truly intrigued the following year when I saw Netscape's graphical browser, Navigator. In 1998 I began teaching myself to code websites. At the time, I was a single mother of a toddler working as an adjunct writing instructor.
As I got deeper into the "how to" of website development, I found that many of the process-oriented writing techniques I learned in graduate school could be applied to the information architecture stage of web development: the beginning of the process where you work with a client to develop a plan for the site. It is one of the most important — and at the time was one of the most neglected — stages of website development.
In the late 1990s it was common for a single "Web Designer" to consult, plan, design, build, and maintain a site, beginning to end. So that is what I learned to do: information architecture, content development, graphic design, and web development. With my background in teaching and writing, I was able to offer particular strengths in training and content development. At times, I helped clients create content.
Because long-term maintenance has always been one of the biggest challenges for website owners, I became an early advocate for content management software. Over the years I gained experience with an array of different content management systems as I helped design and customize templates, aided with content development, and trained clients to use the software to manage their content. As a freelancer I moved from creating mostly static sites to using Wordpress as a content management engine. I feel a lot of satisfaction when a client learns to use a system like Wordpress to manage his or her website independently.
Before the social media era, I was active in various professional organizations with their own websites and discussion lists: Web Standards Project, POWW, alistapart.org, evolt.org. Beginning in 2005 I began to experiment with social media, both artistically and professionally. Beginning in 2007 I began to help clients integrate social media with their web presence.
Though most of my background is in digital media, I have some experience with print design as well. Over the years I have designed things like brochures; business cards, posters, postcards, CD, LP, and cassette covers.
Between 2008 and 2014, while my daughter was in middle and high school, I spent less time on web development and more on writing and music. Most of the writing I did during this time period focused on music; it is no longer online, but archived. I also wrote abstracts for research books. Between 2010 and 2011 I DJed an online radio show exclusively featuring northwest music.
Between 2014 and 2016, as my daughter transitioned into college, I decided to upgrade my technical skills by taking multimedia classes at Portland Community College. I've familiarized myself with some of the newer techniques in front-end development, taken classes in Adobe CS, finally learned Flash (just in time for its demise), dipped my toes into 3-D modeling with Maya, and studied movie editing with Adobe Premiere.
I have learned to do a lot of fun things with media over the years; my favorites are still writing, design, front-end web development, and music.