My Journey So Far

Ning logo As of this week I am no longer an employee of Orange Vision Ltd, but working for Ning, Inc. where I am now a Senior Designer (currently as a full-time consultant). Yeah that’s right - Ning, Inc. of Palo Alto, California. It doesn’t take a genius to realise what a fantastic opportunity this is, and one I don’t think I have fully come to terms with, and perhaps never will!

This is just the latest and greatest episode of an online journey that I have been on since 1999. Given my amazing new position, I thought I would try and summarise the road travelled so far. A big part of this journey has involved developing a passion and interest in web standards, but more recently I have been thinking more about how we can use the web in more positive ways rather than as just another marketing tool.

First Steps

My first ever experience of the web came in 1999, during my time at WALCAT. After the long mind-numbing days at college, I would spend a couple of hours in the ‘European Design Centre’ (or library to you and me), where I would log on and surf this interweb thingy everyone was raving about. Before long, I had signed up for free web space with Tripod and begun building my first site in Microsoft Word (yes, I know that now!)

I found the web to be a free and easy way for me to get creative, and the instant satisfaction of online publishing and design caught my imagination and has never let go!

Over the following years, my Tripod webspace was replaced with a proper hosting account and later a domain name. I experimented with web editors such as Frontpage and Dreamweaver and in the process learnt about ‘great’ HTML features like framesets, tables and used hacks such as spacer images that allowed me to create the layouts I wanted - but didn’t we all!


My growth as a professional web developer however, only begun once I started to learn and implement web standards. What started out initially as finding out how the links on BBC News Online changed colour on mouse over, turned into a new path of learning.

During the summer of 2001, I decided to read up and learn about CSS (which was how the fancy links on BBC News were created), and stumbled across web-standards via the NYPL Style Guide. Now I’m a stickler for doing things properly, so reading about clean, meaningful and structured code, and the separation of presentation from content, seemed not only to make sense, but simply best practice. From that point on, I spent endless nights reading sites such as A List Apart, glish, MeyerWeb etc, and before long I started redeveloping this site (and others) using these new methods.


In July 2004, with this new bag of tricks, a newly gained Graphic Design degree, and the eventual realisation that McDonald’s wasn’t really a great career choice, I gained employment with Orange Vision. Orange Vision was a company that had a growing reputation, especially in the property industry, but built sites that swam in the deepest of tag soup, and as a result were slow, inaccessible and hard to manage.

However the first opportunity I got to design a site from scratch, I found myself up against an argument I hadn’t foreseen. Having spent a Thursday and Friday building a property site laid out entirely using CSS and XHTML, I returned to work Monday to find that the site had been re-coded using tables for layout. Why would someone do such I thing? Speaking to my Managing Director, Melvin, it became clear that there was a massive knowledge gap between what was being taught in the emerging web standards community and what was being practised on the front line.

A continued resistance to using web standards, spurred me on to learn more so that I could argue my case in the daily discussions and heated debates that were very much a part of my early employment at Orange Vision. Finally, in February 2005, I was given the opportunity to propose a move towards using web standards, and I produced the following document:

Web Standards with Vision (PDF, 126Kb)

This proposal was agreed upon, and as a result the studio team also attended the @media 2005 conference in London. Here I got to listen, meet and talk to many of my peers (and heroes), and was probably the highlight of last year.

The Future

However, during 2005, events like Live8 and MakePovertyHistory also made me think about my place on this earth and the responsibilities it brings with it. Working 9 til 5 designing web sites for estate agents seemed the most useless thing I could be contributing to this world. I wanted to do something much more positive with all I had learnt over the past 6 years.

Fate came a knocking, and in November I was given the chance to do some freelance work with Ning - a web 2.0 start-up that ‘enables anyone to match, transact, and communicate with other people’. It may not be a solution for world poverty, but it certainly ain’t about selling houses, and the opportunities it presents both for me personally and for the web as a whole are compelling.

That brings me to today, where I am now a full-time contractor for Ning, and where a lot of exciting stuff is set to happen for all involved. I get the feeling my next steps on this journey will no longer be as focused as much on web-standards and other technologies that underlay the web, but something far more exciting. And I can’t wait!


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference My Journey So Far:

» That was 2006 from LloydyBlog, on January 1, 2007 1:07 AM...

Unsurprisingly, I feel compelled to write a review of this last year, which I think I can say with some confidence has been very different from previous years. Having said that it seems like I've spent the last five or... [Read More]


5 responses so far. Go on, add yours!

 Gravatar#1 On January 22, 2006 10:43 PM, Si said...

Well, congratulations to you! I heard thru the grapevine that you had been head-hunted out in the great US of A but didn't want to say anything until you had announced it. Knowing that you will be working on such 'interesting' projects is just a kick in the teeth for those of us stuck in normal jobs !

It's interesting to see how much you've progressed too (as well as the route you've taken). It's funny hearing you say about your first Standards project at work getting wrecked by someone who doesn't know it. It seems all so familiar (without naming names) but I'm glad I'm not alone on the quest to bring Standards to the forefront of web development.

Just make sure that you keep posting on your blog (as much as you're allowed obviously) about what you're getting up to in America and what we should be keeping our eyes out for. Maybe you could come give a talk on Web 2.0 at a Multipack meeting some time in the future? (You'll have to get in the queue behind Jeffrey Zeldman and Simon Collison though!) :P

 Gravatar#2 On January 23, 2006 10:36 AM, Jon Roobottom said...

yeahhhhhh.... onwards and upwards mate! Know I've said it before, but well done. Now, you just need to find time to review 2005 before I do!

 Gravatar#3 On January 24, 2006 12:10 AM, Rob Eardley said...

Bloody hell mate!!!
The US of A eh? well done for landing a job over there... maybe you can clean the place up just like your web code ;D

I look forward to reading your blog.

All the best.


 Gravatar#4 On January 26, 2006 2:03 PM, Matt Vale said...

A massive well-done Lloydy. Get you working in California and probably eating at the same fast food joints as Britney...? Huge congrats mate.

 Gravatar#5 On January 27, 2006 4:39 AM, Jonathan Aquino said...

Rock on Paul! I didn't know you'd made the leap to join us full-time! Love your work thus far, sir!


About the Author

HeadshotLloydyWeb is the home of Paul Robert Lloyd, a British graphic designer with a passion for web standards and attractive design.

Blogs that link here

Subscribe to this blog!

Contact Info

About this entry

This entry was written on 21 Jan 2006, 3:50 PM and is filled under , .