As well as restoring slide decks for all my talks to my speaking page and adding audio and video recordings where I have them, I’ve recently spent a few evenings restoring my blog entries from 2004–2017.
Unless you were active in web design back then, you might wonder how I got to write books and speak at so many conferences. Part of that may be because in 2007 I deleted blog entries from my original MovableType CMS. It was a terrible decision that I’ve regretted ever since, and because of that those old posts have been pretty much invisible to anyone but Google.
Now they’re back and dressed in this new site’s design. I’ve added a new index of over 200 old posts, that range from the serious to the frankly silly. I’m not proud of everything that I wrote back then, but there are a few entries that I find interesting from a historical point of view, or I just like because they’re funny and remind me of a time when the web industry was so small that you knew almost everyone’s face and name.
I’ve picked out a few posts that sum up who I was and what I was interested in at the time:
I wrote a lot about accessibility and was very active on Accessify, the main accessibility forum, in the early naughties. It’s where I ‘met’ many people who became friends and well-known web professionals. In Wearing badges is not enough, I was thinking about the usefulness of compliance badges or icons, what purpose they served and how we could better use them to help promote awareness of standards and accessibility.
CSS Specificity Wars was published in October 2005 and, incredibly, is still one of the most visited pages on my website, so twelve years later I decided to update it with a new graphic to print and pin near your monitor.
In A tribute to selectors, I explained CSS Attribute Selectors in a non-technical way, something I went on to do in three books. I still refer to this entry whenever I get stuck with attribute selectors.
In a post that was typical of mine at the time, I shared The Web Standards Trifle, a way to describe the concept and importance of web standards to non-technical people.
In one of my earliest posts, I wrote about my trusty technique for Creating colour palettes. In 2004 I used Macromedia Fireworks as my main design tool, but this technique works just as well in Sketch in 2018.
Humour was a big part of me expressing myself online. I loved to play practical jokes on people and in 2006 I created Arno Zimmerman, a fictitious character who wrote to prominent web designers and asked to buy their domain names. Some of the replies I received were hilarious, my favourite being an encounter with Jeremy Keith in Adactio Pour Domme.
And finally there’s the work. During that period I designed and developed some of the very earliest accessible and standards-based ecommerce websites, including projects in 2004 for WWF UK and Disney Store UK. It was writing about these projects, sharing what I’d learned and the decisions I had made which lead to my first conference talk at @media 2005 in London and the rest—so they say— is a bloody long time ago.