Web design: the most important thing is simply to start

Many people ask me, “How can I get started in web design?” or, “What skills do I need to start making web applications?” While it would be easy to recommend stacks of books, and dozens of articles with 55 tips for being 115% better than the next guy, the truth is that you don’t need learn anything new in order to begin. The most important thing is simply to start.


My first gig was for a small charity that I was doing summer admin for and they didn’t have a site.. so I just went for it.

I take therefore I give

Image credit – myself

I consume a lot of other peoples stuff and happily feel that if I can in any way give back, I should. So the blog is creative common licensed to make other peoples lives easier should they choose to use any of my ramblings.

I went for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 as that seems pretty lenient and used by a number of people I respect and trust – if it’s good enough for them, then it’s good enough for me.

Unify – let the client have control

A group of ballons
Photo credit Thomas Hawk

When it comes to my web design clients, they all want control of the content and rightly so,  – plus there is NO money in offering to do it for them.

Typically my clients say that they want full control and dynamic this and dynamic that. In reality 90% never touch the site once it launches. However, about once every 1-4 years most of them will want to alter the copy (text and images) of the odd section of the site.

I used to tell them to use Contribute which is an affordable content management system (CMS) that works pretty much like Microsoft Word. The problem was that they didn’t use it enough to justify the money in their eyes or know enough about how to use it and thus would ever never go through with the purchase or contact me. A dilemma for both parties.

Luckily for me, I am not the only person to have come across this problem. Enter Unify, the  affordable and most crucially, simple content editor built by the talented Unit Interactive.

The feature set that made Unify stand out was:

  • Affordable ($25)
  • Less than 5mins to install and begin to use
  • Only requires PHP5 and NO mysql database
  • Browser-based editing environment (no software to install)
  • Allows cloning of content – Good for news/events type content

If you have a site that needs a simple to use tool then look no further than Unify. I have used it on Caroline Menzies and today www.adaokorliakpe.com whilst I typed this.

So while it is not all things to all people, it certainly makes the client happy and keeps you on budget.