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- behind the screen with independent designers, developers and others.


LMichelle is an Independent designer who shares her life almost every day and has been publishing on the web for 6 years.

About you

What did you do before the Web?

Occupationally speaking, before the Web I was everything from a pool-playing beer waitress to the now defunct job title of computer operator. To feed my soul, I wrote fiction and poetry, painted, collaged, and took lots of photos.

How did you find the web?

In May 95, I found the Web through my AOL account, which up until that time had mainly been used to post to the "All My Children" newsgroup through rec.arts.tv.soaps.

By November, I had my own ISP. I had learned just enough Photoshop to turn out a really nice bevel-edged button complete with drop shadow, and just enough HTML through surfing and viewing the source code of sites like Yahoo, The Electric Postcard, and Cool Spot of the Day to cover my images and incredibly witty remarks that served as content. I assumed no one would come by, especially my family. And so began my incredibly freeing journey on the Web.

Why are you here?

I'm here because I'm in love. I love making my webpages. I love the freedom to express myself. I love the menage a trois between images, words, and HTML. I love the opportunity to meet others as they pass by. And I love visiting and re-visiting really good personal websites.

The image on the right shows you on a street corner. Why were you there?

After seeing the then employed Web Designer, Cameron Thomas, "A Day in My Life", I decided to show the flip side with "A Day in the Life of an Unemployed Web Designer".

I felt the page needed a picture to show the panic that I was trying to offset with a little humor after being laid-off and finding few opportunities. Basically, I'm a shy girl in public, but the things you'll do for a webpage. The picture was taken during 5 o'clock rush-hour traffic in the heart of Ciscoland. I got a few smiles, but, unfortunately, no job offers.

Methods of production

What do you use to create your sites?

My imagination and heart. But my Mac, Photoshop, and BBedit help with the implementation.

About the Web

What do you see as the greatest strengths of the web?

The sharing of ideas, code, strength, and real life experiences with people you might never meet.

Individual freedom of expression. When governments run roughshod over individual rights in the name of national security and Big Business's only concerns are the profit margins, the individual's voice in the scheme of things is reduced to a faint whisper. A website doesn't level the playing field, but it gives that individual a good place to make their stand.

What do you see as the greatest dangers?

The U.S. Government. Included in that the big ball of wax is the DOJ handing over the Web to Microsoft, and Washington lobbyists and lawyers having their way with copyright laws in the interests of big media companies. If these people have their way, innovation could be crushed and we will all lose.

What would you say to folks who want to work the web?

Follow your heart. If you want to 'work the web', go for it, but be prepared for a lot of work. Also be prepared for an endless struggle to keep up with the constantly changing technology (and you're always a couple of steps behind). And then there's the problem of never enough time, and the making of tough decisions on what to cut out in your life in order to have time to devote to the Web. Oh, yes, and don't forget your constant battle with your webpages to balance design, usability, and accessibilty.

But once you've made it over those particular hurdles, then be prepared for the wonderful people you're going to meet, the thrill of a website that works across platforms and browser versions, the satisfaction of learning something new, and a deeper understanding of how we as human beings connect on the Web.

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One of the true independent people on the web. She is an adult and her sites reflect this.

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