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My first website…the final installment

Alex Christie

3 March 2009

My BA is in psychology, so it is not surprising that the job that I had at the time that I built my first website was in an unrelated industry. I was working for the W.I.N. foundation and the owner decided that she wanted a website, so we set about figuring out how to build one. I believe it was towards the end of 1995, so there were not many resources available. I remember viewing code on websites and using Netscape Navigator Gold as my first design tool. There was a lot of movement on the site, icons twinkling and spinning everywhere you looked. We were very proud.

That entire process was life changing for me. I had found a new direction in life with web design, and I soon left for a job designing and building websites full-time. I truthfully had to blag my way into that job as I had limited experience, but it was so much fun and I worked my tail off going home to study and figure out what I needed to do the next day on my projects. Everything was being built using notepad. The learning curve was massive, but I was like a child, absorbing everything I could.

I learned quickly and took on a lot of freelance work. So much work in fact that I became full-time freelance and even hired a few others I knew to help me with the workload. 

WebraveA lot of the work from this time period has been preserved in a digital
archive, the personal website that I built during the time, WebRave. I am so happy I have kept this live as it is absolutely hilarious. It chronicals the work (oldest at bottom of page to newest at top) and perfectly respresents that time in web history not only in brochureware sites but with the creation of Frontpage which was used to create the site as an experiment. Lesson learned – it was never used again and all future updates were made back in good old notepad. In retrospect, I was very old school about Notepad, I used it for several more years before adopting some of the modern html editors. The code needed to be pure and few editors gave you clean code. I did play with a lot of the digital imaging tools, but Photoshop and it's add-ons could never be outdone.

 I landed the pivotal job of my career with the largest digital agency at the time, USWeb (later USWeb/CKS and then marchFirst) in August 1998. The very first website I built there was for the Emmy Awards, the second was for Hard Rock Cafe International, which I remembered involved several layers of embedded frames. It took me a lot of testing to get those frames working consistently across the site! This was my pivotal job as I was working with the best in the industry on the most exciting brands. We worked insane hours, loved our jobs, and management brought in kegs on Fridays.

I have gone a bit off track from, "my first website", I admit. It was so long ago, that it actually makes sense to me to consider "my first website" as all of the sites that I built up until I started at USWeb.

The technology has evolved, and so has the web, but the differentiating factor has been the internet becoming an integral part of our every day lives, so websites have had to adapt and reflect that to stay viable and competitive. The most fabulous fact is that it is all just as interesting and exciting as it was when I first started. We have all (web included) matured a lot since 1995.

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