The Digital Cusp

Early inspirations: One of my first web design books (1996!)

Generation Xers – those born between 1965 and 1980. How do we feel about technological progress? We grew up with the heady promise of those blocky beige computers, and started our working lives before the birth of the modern Messiah, the internet. We can compare how it felt before and how it feels now. Using digital communication technologies is changing the way human brains evolve – we are developing different skills and losing others entirely.

Buying Wired magazines (the USA edition full of exotic car adverts and hip labels) in the late 1990s fed my dreams of shiny technologically brilliant futures driven by creativity and experimentation. Buying .net Magazine in those early days supplied me with a free paperback on how to write HTML, from which I produced my very first web pages.

I was driven by the ease and personal freedom of niche publishing – getting the England Womens Lacrosse Association online, and winning a small Millennium Fund grant to launch a non-profit community website to publicise women’s sports. These initiatives led to my first online job as web content editor with the London Borough of Camden, where I was introduced to the wonders of user-led content, information architecture and metadata of content-rich websites.

The first internet book I bought – ‘Designing Large Scale Websites’ (Darrell Sand, Netscape Communication Corporation, 1996) fuelled my interest in the structure and navigation of big websites, something I’m still passionate about today – alongside many other digital fascinations.

I feel privileged to have experienced the advent of the web, it gives me a sense of perspective and lots of good memories.

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