About 11worth Design

11worth Design: The Beginning

Washington State Search and Rescue Conference

11worth Design began in 2003, when my employer decided to host the 2005 Washington State Search and Rescue Conference in my hometown of Leavenworth. I long had a goal to learn website design, so I “volunteered” for the job of creating and maintaining the conference website, since it would be good “on-the-job” training experience.

An Awakening

A view of the Icicle Canyon from East Leavenworth Road.

A view of the Icicle Canyon from East Leavenworth Road.

I started using Microsoft FrontPage as a website editor, but ultimately decided hand-coding was the answer. I began a steep climb up the proverbial learning curve to learn XHTML and CSS-based website design.

A superior, who had no experience with website design but “knew it all”, complained very early on that website development duties took up too much official work time. I was told to “keep it simple”, but there was very little communication regarding what “simple” was.

The website, in the meantime, started to expand as conference preparations developed. My duties were expanded to include conference scheduling and instructor outreach. Search and rescue professionals from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and New Zealand submitted website content in preparation for their upcoming seminars. The website grew to over 350 pages.

The massive amount of content quickly overwhelmed the initial request to “keep it simple”, as simplicity morphed into reality.

My superior resisted any further website discussion. So…I undertook the remaining 90% website development, maintenance, and completion entirely on my own time to get it done right. 11worth Design was born out of that experience.

Lessons Learned

  • An agreed-upon project outline must be in place before development begins.
  • A client needs to understand how their website works, and what it will involve to keep it functioning productively.
  • An informed client is a valuable partner when the goal is to produce the best website possible within reasonable time and cost parameters.

For some applications, simplicity is automatically achieved when a website may be only a Home page and a few other pages. With other websites, it’s challenging just to keep visitors from getting lost among the many pages, subpages, menus, and so forth.

Most websites lie somewhere in between. Frank, open-minded webmaster-client discussion is essential to the development process.

This doesn’t imply that a client must be web-savvy before commissioning a website (some clients prefer not to be!). However, I’m committed to best-educate a client based on the interest they have in their website.

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