I began designing websites when websites first came about, at least when Netscape Navigator 1.1 came out, and Detroit got its first commercial Internet service provider. I was one of the very first website designers in Detroit!
My first website was for my consulting business - CyberAlley-New Media. My first paid website was shortly after for Tamaroff, an automotive group of five dealerships: Buick, Dodge, Honda, Nissan, and Isuzu. This first website was pioneering all the way, with no precedence to reference. There was no schooling to attend. No software to use. GM didn't even have a website yet. Any of the few car dealers were all but a picture of the dealership and contact info. The Tamaroff site was a true virtual representation of an automotive dealership with over 200 pages, covering all the features and options of every model Tamaroff offered. It also had sections for other facets of a dealership: Showroom, Service, Fleet and more.
After the Tamaroff website I began getting requests, and pitched to a wide range of different kinds of companies from small accounting firms, to medium-sized manufacturers, to large corporate, divisional sites. The Holley website was one that grew expotentially and accounted for 80% of my time, my crew and resources. My team served Holley very well for eight years.
After Holley, there was a huge gap to fill. For a couple years I did a redesign and maintained The River Community Church's website, as well as numerous video projects. For three years I served on a team that crafted spectacular, weekly, multimedia church experiencesa mix of contemporary music, videos, dramas, audience participation (think Fear Factor, golf cart races, and such), "my stories" and worship musicall thread with a single theme each week. This allowed me to develop interactive, user experiences in a wholly different sphere, and ultimately serving as a base for the interactive, live Web TV shows in the near future.
I also hooked up with a couple small firms in Brighton, MI who were partnering togetherone, 4words systems, a Web development shop; the other, Jay Bale Associates, specializing in search engine optimization. I provided the website design and user experience. My first task, to put some skin to a website in which one could buy automobilesdrop-shipped to your home or office. Then a redesign for Brighton Ford. With the dealer website I started fashioning the UX design for most the remainder of the dozens of websites I collaborated with these two firms. Most often I worked directly with their clients to gather requirements, pitch solutions and drive development.
These clients included, first, Brighton Ford, as well as, Brighton Ford Diesel Truck Parts, Suarez Corporation Industries, FUJI, Mahindra of Michigan, MobiLife, Lane Costumes, PAUL Music, Jay Fishman & Associates, Independent Glass Association, Mobile Air, Turning Point, iPixXL, Michigan Homes Foreclosures, Greyhound Technologies, BioTech Medical, AbGONE, NutraCal, and more. All SEO-designed! I learned a lot of white hat SEO techniques working with Jay Bale and 4word systems. Many of these projects included more than just website UX, including full branding campaigns such as for FUJI EnviroMAX. This working relationship was a perfect example of UX working in tandem with business and development.
Simultaneously, I was also serving various other clients as well. Softech, a software development company in Farmington Hills, MI: a website design for them, as well as websites and branding for a couple of their products- InTouch Intra-Office Paging System, and DenChart. TJM Laser. Mary O'Blenes Consulting. Big Block Sound. Resource Mortgages. Carriergistics. The Detroit Panthers. The Save Africa Project. Danny D & The Vagabonds.
This was a time when atmospheric and flash-driven websites were the rave, and I've been a big fan for animation and virtual, atmospheric environments since the Tamaroff site. But trends change, technologies get introduced, users needs and desires change, and design decisions are made accordingly. Hail to new technologies and user experiences.
It's only the beginning. Watch to see interactive movie websites, 360° virtual reality websites, augmented reality websites, blockchain-technology websites, big data/predictive analysis websites, 4D websites, mobile and...