Hi, my name is Matthew Brown.

If you’re here, than chances are you’re interested in what you have seen elsewhere on this blog and would like to know a bit more about me and what I do.

Primarily, I am a website designer. I offer web design and development services through TerraMedia and as a free-lancer, I sub-contract my services through numerous other businesses and companies. I primarily work with open-source content management systems such as Drupal and WordPress, but I also have experience with custom solutions using technologies such as ASP.NET or PHP. I tend to work mostly with existing solutions though as these are the most cost-effective for small businesses and my main interest is in writing standards-compliant XHTML and CSS. Almost all of my websites will validate to the W3C XHTML 1.0 Strict standard, and those that don’t will validate to the transitional standard.

I can convert most graphic designs into valid XHTML 1.0 and CSS or for use with Drupal or WordPress in a matter of hours.

As a designer, I aim for a fairly midway approach to design complexity. I am not minimalist, but I am not a fan of useless clutter either. I aim to have a purpose for everything that is used in my designs, if it doesn’t have a purpose, it shouldn’t be there. For example, using a border around a website that gives it the appearance of sitting on a desktop is fine with me as it gives the user the impression that the website is sitting on a literal desktop and makes it more personal. However, if this makes it difficult to find content, navigation or even headings, then it shouldn’t be there. Everything has to be easy to find and easy to use. In other words, it must be an accessible, user-friendly design.

I am currently studying a Bachelor of Information Technology, majoring in Web Services and Applications, and a Bachelor of Creative Industries, majoring in Communication Design at the Queensland University of Technology. This gives me a background in both web development through the BIT and a background in web design, specifically at graphics and advertising through the BCI.

I first began learning HTML when 3.02 was the primary standard that was used (if a standard was used). Since then, I have updated my knowledge to be standards compliant and to use HTML 4.01 in tandem with CSS, and then again to XHTML 1.0.

My knowledge has also broadened into PHP and MySQL/PostgreSQL database development and more recently into .NET technologies, more specifically, ASP.NET.

This is my most recent field and as such it is my least understood, however I am well on my way.

I consider myself extremely capable in XHTML and CSS and I would consider myself somewhere up there in the expert area for these two intertwined markup languages.

In addition to my interest in the markup of a website, I also do graphic design and have worked on logo’s for various groups and websites as well as doing the graphical design for the majority of the websites that I have worked on.

I am not a Photoshop guru, but I do have in depth knowledge into the workings of Photoshop and Illustrator which is extremely useful when it comes to putting together a new website since I can create the majority of the graphics that I need for my website designs.

I also have basic knowledge in JavaScript and intermediate Flash skills.

Effectively, I can read JavaScript and understand it, however, I generally need a reference to write anything using it aside from the basics. This is an area I would very much like to increase my knowledge in. It is a much higher priority to me than most other areas at the moment as I can see immediate uses for it in my designs which I am currently unable to realise. I particularly would like to develop further into the area of AJAX as this is extremely useful for blurring the line between a website and a desktop based application since things can be loaded without reloading the entire website.

Flash, I can use and I can write basic ActionScript. Like JavaScript, to do any in depth ActionScript I need a reference.

I have an immense dislike for Flash because of the vast amount of poor implementations of it. I am capable of designing websites using Flash, however, I have to recommend to anyone considering Flash that they only do parts of the design using it, rather than the whole design. It is an accessibility and usability nightmare in most cases. In saying that, there are also many excellent uses of Flash for entire websites, but realistically, there are so many things that Flash is used for which can be done with CSS and JavaScript that they are just a much better option for it.

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