It’s been about ten years since I designed my first web page and here I am, back where it all started. After building websites professionally for nine years, I feel like I’ve come full circle in some ways. I’ve gone from being an enthusiastic amateur designer to a cynical project manager at a web design firm. But all of that is behind me now. It’s time to go back to my creative roots. As I enter the blogosphere, it’s time to have fun again.
In late ’96, I became the first employee at WebMedia Services, a small design firm in Williamsville, NY. It was a dream come true! I was building web pages for a living, and it was great. The adventure continued, and I learned so much more. Years passed, the company grew, and the projects became more sophisticated. Instead of building five-page static websites, we were building database-driven applications, shopping carts, and administrative systems. In 2001 it became evident that we needed a dedicated project manager to coordinate all of the various aspects of production–client contact, content gathering, design, programming, etc. I volunteered for the position.
Thus began the downward slide. Things were actually pretty great for the first year or two. Managing projects was yet another adventure, and I threw myself into the job. But being the interface between clients and the developers took its toll. As a designer I had been fairly righteous–always arguing in favor of doing the “right” thing in defiance of silly client requests. But it’s a whole different story when you have to deal with the clients yourself. I began to acquiesce to any ridiculous client demands just to shut them up. Then I would often face tough resistance from the developers, who were just doing their jobs by advocating the proper way of doing things. After awhile web design was no longer fun. In fact, it sucked.
And so, after nearly nine years, I have parted ways with WebMedia. It’s time to go back to my creative roots. It’s time to have fun again.