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I got started in web design in 1996 when a creative friend of mine had an idea to create a website about Homeopathy, and needed someone to do the backend Perl coding for it. She asked me to join in, and since I had just quit a very unsatisfying job in Tech Support, I said sure!
I didn't know anything about Perl or developing for the web, but I had a background in programming, and had recently learned the fundamentals of C and Window programming, so how hard could it be?
We went on to create a (sadly now defunct) website called Homeopathy Online, which was quite innovative for its day. It actually won a few web awards for its design and effects.
From that one website, I would up getting a Web Designer position at Microsoft, where I worked for 3 years on their IT intranet site.
My daughter was born in 1999, so I took a few years off, and did a few other kinds of jobs. I finally came back to web design in 2008 when I started Sparrow Web Design with another designer friend. She left to run her own design company a couple years later (we still collaborate on projects), so I am now the sole owner of Sparrow Web Design.
My friend and I started Sparrow Web Design in 2008.
A little of both. I started off teaching myself Perl and HTML, then learned on the job at Microsoft. When I started with web design again in 2008, I took a couple quarters of web design & development classes at Seattle Central College to get myself up to speed. Since then, I've been continuing to learn every day.
I usually use Firefox, but I also use Chrome, Internet Explorer and Opera.
I spend way too much time on Facebook.
So many things! I really love giving voice to small business people, and opening their businesses up to a wider customer base. I love the creation and construction of their websites, and figuring out how to make it all work.
Attend conferences and meetups. You'll learn more and find both mentors and new clients.
My typical client is a small business person who either does not have a website yet, or has one that isn't reflective of them or their business. I do most of my work in WordPress right now. It's a great platform for a small business person to be able to easily add content and interact with their customers.
Think about what it is you want your website to do for you. What is the goal? Also, look around at websites from both your competitors and completely different businesses to get an idea of what you like and don't like. Communicate this to your designer along with links to sites. This can be really helpful in the design and development process.
Clients not providing content (images, text) in a timely manner. Also clients wanting to do the designing for me and/or changing/adding requests as the project progresses.
Not at the moment, but I'm looking into it.
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