By the grand old age of 30 I had got very lazy in terms of challenging myself with new things. I have never been particularly gifted at any form of sport, gradually gave up playing musical instruments one by one and remain a distinctly average chef.
Roughly 12 months ago, I decided it was time to remedy my lacklustre attitude towards life and stop waiting for whatever mystical thing I was expecting to come about and make everything interesting again. One night whilst sat on the floor of my baby’s room, in the dark, desperately willing him to sleep I realised I had to take a step outside of my comfort zone, in fact I had to take a full on leap out of my comfy little zone and take it upon my self to start making things interesting again.
One thing that definitely was not familiar territory was creating a website from a completely blank canvas. Tim Sidwell of TDS Design bizarrely agreed to steer me though my new adventure. He spent many an hour showing me every detail of the software and then showing me again a week later after my sleep deprived sieve brain forgot everything important, only retaining vital knowledge nuggets like how to make letters jiggle slightly just before you click on them. After weeks of lessons to a soundtrack of cheesy 80’s rock,Tim’s impressively loud hungry stomach grumbles and the dulcet tones of a toddler who has recently discovered shrieking, I felt like we were getting somewhere. I knew the differences between a container and a div block. I knew margin was space on the outside and padding was space on the inside. I knew the pros and cons of using an image over a background image for search engine purposes. I also knew that no matter how much he tried Tim could no longer say‘opacity’ without yelling it in a comedy American accent (thanks Webflow tutorial video guy.)
I had blindly jumped out of my comfort zone and somehow landed firmly on both feet.
However, all of this led to the part that I had been eagerly awaiting and secretly dreading in equal measure, being let loose on my own site with complete creative freedom. I spent hours swimming through potential fonts,stock images, layout ideas and colour schemes. Then threw it all out and started again, more than once. Eventually after finally settling on a concept an actual website started to appear before my slightly screen-fried eyes. As with most creative subjects I had a sudden loss of confidence when the site was almost complete when I could not get two sections to overlap the way I had in my head. I had a complete meltdown, decided the site was appalling and that we should start from scratch. (Not that I’m prone to being a little dramatic or anything.) Tim arrived, emergency latte in hand and calmly reminded me that a matter of months ago I had never even heard of this software and there we were looking at an almost fully functioning website that I had created. He also mildly mocked my damsel in distress routine and told me to get a grip. Pretty much exactly what I needed.
Since then I have completed that site, helped with design decisions on several others and taken a lead role on our latest site for Jennings of Caversham, an ever-popular local butcher. This was an especially interesting challenge for me, being vegetarian. Nevertheless, it taught me early on that personal opinions on the subject matter are irrelevant and not key to my ability to make a solid website. The principle remains the same. Make it look good but fundamentally make it function sensibly and efficiently. The only drawback I have found from learning this new craft is that it has made me exceptionally critical of every website I visit. I am not the most patient of people but now, more than ever, inefficient websites infuriate me. Tim regularly receives a screenshot of links that aren’t actually links, poorly aligned images or headache inducing kerning. Poor thing.
2019 has been a year of firsts for me. Alongside my journey through the anatomy of a website with TDS Design, I have written blogs for local, national and international companies and probably most peculiarly modelled for a tights company. If you had told me last year that any of this would happen, I would have laughed directly in your face and then gone back to worrying about how dull a human being I’d become.
But here we are.
Bring on 2020.