Say hello to the new

Web Design

The past week and a bit I’ve been a little bit busy. Well, not busy. But I’d given myself a task to do and get done in just over a week. Get my portfolio updated.

This is what it was. Which is fine. It was nothing special. Well, it was a bit special once upon a time ago. But no longer. I’d kept the information updated and added new work as and when I could. But the design? Just a bit eh really. From my POV.

Say hello to the redesigned Complete redesign. From scratch. Portfolio Redesign

It’s totally responsive, so it’ll work on mobile phones, tablets, laptops and desktops. I could have done more to make it retina friendly, but eh. I got lazy there. It’s still just a one page simple affair but I am much happier with this layout. Showcases my skills a lot more. And, getting rid of the black was a good idea.

Just in case anyone is interested, here’s a bunch of things that helped me get the site done:

(PS. If you spot anything slightly wonky with it, let me know! Please? If you say it looks weird in IE6 I may just have to… rudely ignore you.)

My first website

Web Design

Hey bloggers out there, you know when you get that email telling you about an exciting opportunity to join in on an amazing competition. All you have to do is write a blog post on something specific? Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.

I’ve been saying yes to a few too many of them recently, and after my last, I was adamant I wouldn’t say yes to another. But, the other day I got one of those emails and the subject matter spoke to me. So much, that I felt I could write something half decent out of it.

The subject?

My 1st Website

You can see how this would speak to me. I’ve previously blogged about my first website. And now I’m blogging about it again. WITH ADDED PICTURES. Shocking I know. (Though as they’re from an online archive, bits are missing from them. Wish I’d kept the site locally as an archive.)

Public Service Announcement – Please Say No to Sitebuilders

Web Design

Last night I was online looking for the websites of some local restaurants to try and find menus, prices, etc. The usual Thursday evening. There’s a very nice looking and probably fairly upmarket Indian restaurant near me that I was trying to find a website for. It didn’t take long to find the website. But when I got onto the website I was wondering whether I was at the right place.

But the address of the place checked out. My jaw hit the floor in disgust. I wasn’t going to post the website, but I think it’ll help illustrate matters if I do.

This is the culprit

From that website you’d never know that the restaurant is a very plus looking, smart and inviting Indian restaurant. What you will presume is that it’s highly likely to be one of those slightly skeezy and always empty restaurants.

Not only does it look horrendous, but there’s pretty much zero information on it! There’s not even a hint of a menu, there’s one proper image of the food and that lot of completely unnecessary ‘SEO text’ at the top and bottom of the page. (Seriously, who thinks this works anymore!?)

I dug a little further and looked at the source code. That’s where I found something very interesting in the meta tags for content:

BT Customerstreet Sitebuilder 3.6

It was made using a site builder! ARGHH! Ok, I get it. Not everyone’s a web designer. Thank god. Not everyone can put a website together. And yet people still think that a cheap and sometimes free site builder is the best way to go to have their business represented online. Why!?

If you really want a free website, or near as free, and don’t have any experience in the web world go to and get yourself a free site there! No it’s not just blogs. Yes, you can create full websites. For free. Really, I’d say get some help from someone who knows what they’re doing. But if you’re intent on doing it yourself with no experience, go to Sign up, read up and get some help in their forums if needs be. They’re really friendly people! Mostly.

But don’t, for the love of god, use a site builder. They will never do your business any justice. Or whatever you’re creating a website for.

I’ve just had a horrible thought – what if a so-called ‘web designer’ did design that site and used a site builder?

And no, I haven’t been sponsored by anyone to make this post. I just saw that website and was so shocked I felt the need to share. I love that more people are getting online and creating websites and the web is growing. But I’m not happy that it’s growing with so many half-arsed and ugly websites.

PSA done.

Getting my teach on – redesigning past sins with HTML5 and CSS3

Web Design

Casa de Rama

In the last week of 2011 I set about redesigning my parents’ website – Casa de Rama – advertising their rental property. The original version was really very simple. I mean really simple. It didn’t have much actual design to it. Or much thought. I threw it together really quickly so it could be used. Like a lot of websites are incorrectly made. It was also probably one of the first websites I developed using divs. I kid you not, the layout was that old.

The website had been crying out for a redesign for a long time. In fact, last year when I went back to Portugal to visit my parents for a couple of weeks over Christmas I took my laptop with me with me for the expressed reason to redesign and build them a new website. I was almost there with it. But like any holiday, I got back home and looked back at my holiday antics and was just a little disappointed.

Looking back at the start of things

Web Design

Dusk 'til Dawn

After just 11 years, my oldest and dearest domain name is going to be lost to me.

I purchased back in the year 2000 for my very first website – Dusk ’til Dawn. It was a Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel fansite. It had a black background, 5 frames, JavaScript rollovers made using Adobe GoLive and a rather fetching flash movie which had music and was created using SwiSh. Oh yes, it was that good. Did I mention that the font colour was a yellow-gold colour and I’m pretty sure I used Bradley Hand ITC Regular as the font for the main body text. I believe I built it using Microsoft Frontpage too. Oh yes.

Thankfully it didn’t look like that for long. I learnt quickly, taught myself what I needed to know and that was that. Though 11 years ago, I never for once thought I’d be heading for a career in web design.

Aside from leading me down the path I’m on now, creating that one little website brought me so much more I had ever expected. I got involved in the fandom – message boards, forums, you name it. It was fun. As the fandom grew and as I got further into it I made some friends. Some friends, I’m happy to say, I’m still very much friends with now.

In a few days, will be no more. I’m letting the domain name lapse. When I received the email telling me that the domain name will be lapsing into obscurity and away from my grasp I didn’t think much of it. After a few hours, it sunk in. The website’s been more or less dead, but still online, for over a year. But in just a few days it will most definitely be gone. I thought it deserved some sort of remembrance here.

So long DTD – you were good to me and I learnt a lot from you. Thank you.