When I started out with my first web design project, it was with a CMS (Content Management System) program with Yahoo!. When I started, the system provided a complete package that included domain name, hosting and also provided facilities to design your website. Within this system, you can choose from a wide variety of themes to suit the appearance of your website. You could also import images, videos and other multimedia stuffs you so desire. Yes, quite a fast and easy way to get your site up and running, but deep in me, I wasn’t satisfied.
As a designer that always loves to express himself from the very bottom of his heart, this design program was not quite cool for me because it constrained me to use only what the program had to offer. My motto has always been, creativity is not subjectivity. To me I felt I was being restrained from what I really wanted my website to look like. With the system, I did not have control of the elements within the system. Control, to me, was really very important.
Before I discovered this system, I already had my website designed with Coreldraw, Dreamweaver and Photoshop. I had a clear-cut picture of how I wanted it to look like. But unfortunately, this program was not giving me the freedom to achieve that. Though the system had facility for one to send your files, I had no experience yet with file transfer protocol (FTP). So I was a bit comfortable (though not satisfied) just to design my site with the system and have it up in no time.
My major motivation was just to have a website running for the very first time. I was extremely excited at the thought of having a website. My other inspiration was the fact that I could make money online. This idea actually came after reading up a book (an e-book I actually purchased online). From then on, I just wanted to put to practice what I learnt and also explore the world of online business. I was really excited at the thought of making virtual money.
So I started out my very first website with the Yahoo! System I earlier mentioned. The package I chose had a monthly fee which I was quite at ease with. Since this would afford me time to experiment and see how things worked. So wow! I had a site all the same and I was happy.
Even when deep inside me I knew this was not how I wanted my website to look, I was just mixed up with the feeling of having a website all the same. I asked a couple of friends how they felt about the site and quite a handful said it was great. But deep inside, I was not still satisfied. Not because I had a site but because it wasn’t looking the way I felt it should. From when the site was published, I kept thinking how I could really transform this site back to how I really wanted it to look. Because I had a picture, I kept on imagining the customized look my website would assume very soon. Though I got quite some comments from friends and colleagues that it was cool, I was still very much not satisfied with what I’ve got. I thought that even if this was cool with every other person out there, to me, it was not going to remain that way. I knew there was a better look or appearance it could take; a superior user interface (UI) it could attain and a friendlier experience (UX) it may possibly offer the user. But here I was virtually trapped in the Yahoo! environment that did not give me that freedom of expression I so much desired; control was not within my reach and satisfaction seemed alien.
All the same, I kept on exploring the Yahoo! web design program looking for means of achieving my aim all to no avail within the time frame. I kept on facing more restraints and constraints. I sought help through the help section but did not find what I really wanted. I wanted to talk or probably chat with some of the Yahoo! people but all correspondence seemed not to yield the desired result. I wanted a personal online chat. That I didn’t get.
In the pursuit of achieving a customized look for my website and after doing some researching about ftp, I tried uploading some of my already designed web pages through their ftp. That still did not work. Not because their ftp facility was not ok but because I had not really perfected the art of ftp with web design. I didn’t just get it right.
On the side I kept my design hoping and praying that someday somehow, I am going to get it right. As days went by, I kept on looking out for ways by researching on google and youtube. My head was deep in the trenches for a way out. Along the line of my research, I came across how I could incorporate a blog to my website. So I decided to experiment with including a WordPress blog to my existing yahoo-made website. And boom! That was it. My whole site was wiped off. I made a very unredeemable mistake of installing the blog on the same directory that had my website. So my blog was up but my website was gone, forever I guess. There was definitely a conflict that had all my web pages wiped out and replaced with WordPress’. So I had only a WordPress blog that I was not yet conversant with. I was not just used to the WordPress environment nor blogging at this time and this further complicated quite a lot for me. Here was I still struggling with the Yahoo web design system and then had to contend with this new system. It was really quite frustrating trying to get help from the guys in Yahoo as all my effort to get help to fix this error did not yield anything worthwhile. Summary, I didn’t get any help from Yahoo! I was really pissed by this and decided to stop my deal with them immediately.
I kept on looking out for a better way I could achieve my aim of getting my website to look exactly the same way I designed it to look. I kept exposing my mind to website designing and experienced website designers, user interface (UI) design, user experience (UX) design, web development and all that till I met Mike Locke. Mike had fifteen years long experience in the web design industry and I (after going through his website) needed nobody to tell me I had found a mentor. There was quite a lot to learn from this very experienced web pro and one of the things I learnt was the basic way a website home page should look like.
Before now, I had a complete site I had designed earlier, but now with what I learnt from Mike, I was ready to change the look and feel of my website. So I embarked on a new project. Redesign my website all over again. I was rather excited than discouraged (by my immediate past experience with Yahoo!) to get on with the project.
So I got my website redesigned and I was really proud of myself and decided that, this time, I was going to get control, freedom and a firm grip of the whole process. I really wanted to be in-charge and dictate the tune of all the workings of the elements within my new website. I wanted to be able to play around with whatever and however I wish I could.
Thereon I finished my new website redesign with Coreldraw and Photoshop for the design or mark-up; Dreamweaver was used for development – though later I integrated a seemless WordPress blog to the site. The next step for me was to look for a local host that would give me the customer care and relationship I did not get with my package with Yahoo. I did get one and that was it. Eureka! I had my site hosted and running live just the way I always wanted it to look.
And so why did I come up with this? The reason is just to encourage quite a lot of you out there that have a project you are working on or better still, you are a web designer trying to build your career and you are facing some form of constrain or challenges that seems to discourage you. I wish to encourage you to hold on and pursue that dream; that web design project to the very end. Till when you get satisfied with the way you want it to look, don’t throw in the towel. Keep the faith. Follow your passion. Believe in your convictions. Pursue that thing burning inside you and don’t quit until it is achieved. Yes, your environment or some other things may pose a strong challenge to you, which most times comes naturally, just keep holding on and believing that you can. So deep inside you, if you think you can, you very much can. Don’t allow anything bottle you up or box you in.
So that’s all I have for you for now. Feel very free to drop me an email to say hi or ask any question you wish.
Do have fun, bye.