The History of DaniJones.com

Website8

I was going through my archive of old site designs the other day, and I was amused and appalled. I thought it would be fun and educational to share them here, even if there is a slight risk of embarrassment.

I have had a pretty brief illustration career – under 4 years – but in that time I’ve had eight website designs. Eight! That is not something I would recommend, and if I were to go back in time I would have exercised a little more restraint. However, I learned a lot about web design, which has been an invaluable skill for showcasing my portfolio, building blogs, and marketing myself on the internet.

So, here it is – the history of danijones.com. If you’ve been following my work for a while, you might even recognize some of these. I hope you are able to learn from my successes and failures.




Disclaimers

  • I’ve disabled some of the links, but you will still get a good idea of how each site looked and operated.

  • In order to accurately portray each site and the content that they held at the time they were launched, I am displaying a lot of my old artwork. PLEASE don’t judge! :)

November 2004 – The College Years

Website1

In my junior year, I was just starting to get serious about my illustration career. I knew I would need a website, but I had absolutely no clue how to make one. I slowly started to learn the basics of HTML and built my first web page.

Actually, the website shown here is not the first site I ever built. The first was actually painstakingly HAND-CODED, because I had no idea that programs such as GoLive or Dreamweaver even existed. I just thought all websites were built with text editors.

Well, I don’t have that first site anymore; it quickly got discarded once my professor showed me how to use GoLive. The look and layout really didn’t change all that much from my first concept, though. Very simple and plain.

April 2005 – Starting Out

Website2

This is the site I launched shortly after I graduated. I wanted to create something prettier and fancier for the launch of my illustration career. It’s funny how simple and sparse the site looks to me now.

August 2005 – The One That Never Happened

Website3

At this phase, I was just starting to really get the hang of HTML and GoLive, and I really wanted to create a website that pulled out all the stops. I used a lot of fancy tricks like animated GIF’s, image maps, rollovers, templates, CSS, and Javascript. Notice that I was going to create several “themes” so the user could change the look of the site. I spent hours and hours on this concept and obsessed over it for awhile, but it didn’t get very far. It was VERY VERY complicated and frustrating to make, and I didn’t really understand half the tools I was using.

My prototype was kinda cool, but ultimately too time-consuming, hard to to update, difficult to navigate, and annoying to use.

All I’ve got to say is… thank goodness I didn’t know Flash.

September 2005 – The Sensible Alternative

Website4

Instead of going with my EPIC website concept above, I decided on a simpler route. But notice I still used a lot of fancy tricks for my Fun section.

February 2006 – More, More, More

Website5

This site was an attempt to fit more stuff – more artwork, more pages, more features, etc. – yet still trying to keep it simple.

August 2006 – Facelift

Website6

Are you getting whiplash yet? I knew at this point that I was changing my website much too often, but I still wasn’t satisfied with the design, which wasn’t as refined as I wanted it to be.

So, I set out to create a simple, pretty site that I could hopefully live with for more than a few months. I think this site was the first one I was truly happy with. I actually kept this site for about a year, but I found it was too hard to modify and update.

July 2007 – Another Stepping Stone

Website7

This site was easy to update, simple to navigate, and looked okay, but ultimately I thought it was a little boring.

June 2008 – The Result

Website8

I am very happy with the design I have today. For the first time, I think I finally have a site that is attractive to look at, simple to navigate, and easy for me to update and customize. I will probably stick with this design for a long while.

But given my history, you never know. ;)