Somewhere in my pile of web junk, countless desktops, laptops, tablets and Kindles later, is a picture of me using my first PC in the kitchen of my old townhouse.
My parents and the guy who would later become my husband (for which I had NO idea at the time that was in my future!), were standing behind me. I must have been showing them how I would unplug the house landline, dial up AOL with the 9600 baud modem, screech and cringe at the noise until AOL connected me to the world and then I could email or work on my first website, called Dancing Thunder’s Playground.
It was 1995.
I was surrounded by books on HTML, PERL and hung on Danny Sullivan’s every word for search engine stuff. Every new hand-coded nested table cell I created was a technical achievement for me.
Today I finally upgraded this website to allow Gutenberg to live in it. I figure that my clients are going to need me to know how to use this new WordPress editor. And since WordPress is changing with the times, so should I.
I’m excited for my debut article coming out tomorrow at Search Engine Journal. I put many hours of research into studying accessibility law, and that is the topic of the piece. My hope is to help set the record straight, cut through the confusing myths, and help website owners who are panicked over being served with an ADA lawsuit.
For 2019 I decided it was time to return to website development and focus on enhancing my skills in some areas that I see companies needing help with, such as making WordPress websites meet accessibility standards. Getting into the source code of the pages that are core WordPress is where I need to be.
One way I’m teaching myself new tricks is by going backwards to the days when themes and plugins were not how we built websites and before content management systems and plug and play website building became standard practice.
The more advanced we got with design, the worse off overall site performance became. I don’t like backing practices that I don’t know how to do myself, especially when I am making recommendations in my usability and accessibility site audits and testing.
So this is where I’m at. The tech industry I work in has many fingers that get tangled in related areas like privacy, security, marketing, software development, human behavior, information architecture, performance engineering, QA testing, content writing, programming and graphics design.
For the past two years I was leisurely job hunting to see if there was a company somewhere on the planet that would be a good fit for me. Being a consultant and working from home or remotely is my choice, but I was hoping to find a company that could bring me in, but not take my soul in the process.
No opportunity came.
I’ve been here before. I started out with no skills other than data entry on ancient IBM’s. My 286 RAM PC was my ticket to a career I created for myself.
Armed with a barebones WordPress theme, server and mentors in site performance and accessibility, I’m teaching myself more advanced technical skills.
I have things I want to build.